Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pope Francis explains that at Mass "...when you receive the Eucharist you become the body of Christ." FULL TEXT + Video



St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Holy Mass - 14. Eucharistic liturgy. IV. Communion

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

And today is the first day of spring: good spring! But what happens in spring? Trees bloom, trees bloom. I will ask you some questions. A sick tree or plant, they bloom well, if they are sick ?. No! A tree, a plant that is not watered by rain or artificially, can bloom well? No. And a tree and a plant that has taken away roots or has no roots, can it bloom? No. But without roots can you bloom? No! And this is a message: Christian life must be a life that must flourish in works of charity, in doing good. But if you do not have roots, you will not be able to bloom, and the root is who? Jesus! If you are not with Jesus, there, at the root, you will not flower. If you do not water your life with prayer and the sacraments, will you have Christian flowers? No! Because prayer and the sacraments water the roots and our life flourishes. I wish you this spring to be a flowery spring for you, as will be the flowery Easter. Flower of good works, of virtue, of doing good to others Remember this, this is a very beautiful verse of my country: "What the tree has of flower, comes from what it has buried". Never cut the roots with Jesus.

And let us continue now with the catechesis on Holy Mass. The celebration of the Mass, of which we are going through the various moments, is ordered to communion, that is, to unite with Jesus. The sacramental communion: not spiritual communion, which you can do at your house saying: "Jesus, I would like to receive you spiritually" . No, sacramental communion, with the body and blood of Christ. Let us celebrate the Eucharist in order to nourish ourselves of Christ, who gives us himself both in the Word and in the Sacrament of the altar, to conform ourselves to him. The Lord himself says: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him "(Jn 6:56). In fact, the gesture of Jesus who gave his disciples his Body and Blood in the Last Supper, continues today through the ministry of the priest and deacon, ordinary ministers of distribution to the brothers of the Bread of life and the Cup of salvation.

In the Mass, after having broken the consecrated Bread, that is the body of Jesus, the priest shows it to the faithful, inviting them to participate in the Eucharistic banquet. We know the words that resonate from the holy altar: "Blessed are the guests at the Lord's Supper: here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world". Inspired by a passage from the Apocalypse - "blessed are the guests at the wedding feast of the Lamb" (Rev 19,9): he says "marriage" because Jesus is the spouse of the Church - this invitation calls us to experience the intimate union with Christ, source of joy and holiness. It is an invitation that rejoices and at the same time leads to an examination of conscience illuminated by faith. If on the one hand, in fact, we see the distance that separates us from the holiness of Christ, on the other we believe that his Blood is "shed for the remission of sins". All of us have been forgiven in baptism, and we are all forgiven or forgiven each time we approach the sacrament of penance. And do not forget: Jesus always forgives. Jesus does not get tired of forgiving. We are tired of asking for forgiveness. Precisely thinking of the salvific value of this Blood, St. Ambrose exclaims: "I who always sin, I must always dispose of medicine" (De sacramentis, 4, 28: PL 16, 446A). In this faith, we too turn our gaze to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and invoke him: "O Lord, I am not worthy to attend your table: but only say one word and I will be saved." We say this in every Mass.

If we move in procession to make Communion, we go to the altar in procession to make communion, in reality it is Christ who comes to meet us to assimilate to himself. There is an encounter with Jesus! To feed oneself on the Eucharist means to let oneself be changed as we receive. Saint Augustine helps us to understand it, when he tells us about the light received in being told by Christ: "I am the food of the great. Grow up, and you shall feed on me. And it will not be you to transform me into you, like the food of your flesh; but you will be transformed into me "(Confessions VII, 10, 16: PL 32, 742). Every time we commune, we look more like Jesus, we let ourselves be transformed into Jesus. As bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of the Lord, so those who receive them with faith are transformed into a living Eucharist. To the priest who, by distributing the Eucharist, tells you: "The Body of Christ", you answer: "Amen", that is to say, recognize the grace and commitment that entails becoming the Body of Christ. Because when you receive the Eucharist you become the body of Christ. It is beautiful, this; it's very beautiful. While it unites us to Christ, tearing us from our selfishness, Comunion and opens and unites us to all those who are one in him. Here is the prodigy of Communion: we become what we receive! The Church strongly desires that the faithful also receive the Body of the Lord with consecrated hosts in the same Mass; and the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is expressed with greater fullness if Holy Communion is made under the two species, even though the Catholic doctrine teaches that one whole Christ is received under one species (cf. General Order of the Roman Missal, 85; 281-282). According to ecclesial practice, the faithful usually approaches the Eucharist in a processional form, as we have said, and communicates himself standing with devotion or kneeling, as established by the Episcopal Conference, receiving the sacrament in the mouth or, where it is permitted, on the hand, as he prefers (see OGMR, 160-161). After the Communion, to keep in heart the gift received helps us the silence, the silent prayer. Stretch out a little that moment of silence, talking to Jesus in the heart helps us so much, as well as singing a psalm or a hymn of praise (cf. OGMR, 88) that helps us to be with the Lord. The Eucharistic Liturgy is concluded by the oration after Communion. In it, on behalf of everyone, the priest turns to God to thank him for making us his guests and to ask that what has been received transforms our life. The Eucharist makes us strong to bear fruits of good works to live as Christians. Today's prayer is significant, in which we ask the Lord that "participation in his sacrament should be for us salvation medicine, heal us from evil and confirm us in his friendship" (Roman Missal, Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent) . Let us draw closer to the Eucharist: to receive Jesus who transforms us into him, makes us stronger. The Lord is so good and so great!
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française en particulier les jeunes venus de Suisse et de France. Alors que la fête de Pâques se fait plus proche, je vous invite à redoubler de ferveur, notamment par une participation active à la messe et par les œuvres de charité, afin que la grâce de la résurrection transforme vraiment toute notre vie. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini francofoni, in particolare i giovani provenienti dalla Svizzera e dalla Francia. Mentre la Pasqua si avvicina, vi invito a rafforzare il vostro fervore, inclusa la partecipazione attiva alla Messa e alla carità fraterna, in modo che la grazia della risurrezione trasformi davvero le vostre vite. Dio vi benedica!]
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Wales, Ireland, Norway, Japan and the United States of America. I offer a special greeting to the Irish pilgrims accompanying the icon of the Ninth World Meeting of Families, to be celebrated in Dublin in August. With prayerful good wishes that this Lenten season will be a time of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!
[Saluto i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’Udienza odierna, specialmente quelli provenienti da Galles, Irlanda, Norvegia, Giappone e Stati Uniti d’America. Saluto in particolare i pellegrini irlandesi che accompagnano l’icona del Nono Incontro Mondiale delle Famiglie, che avrà luogo a Dublino nel prossimo mese di agosto. Con fervidi auguri che questa Quaresima sia per voi e per le vostre famiglie un tempo di grazia e di rinnovamento spirituale, invoco su voi tutti la gioia e la pace del Signore Gesù. Dio vi benedica!]
Herzlich heiße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache willkommen. Unter ihnen grüße ich die vielen Schülerinnen und Schüler, die in dieser Audienz anwesend sind, besonders die Schüler des Gymnasiums Haus Overbach aus Jülich, die ihr 100-jähriges Gründungsjubiläum feiern. Vergesst nie: Der Herr ist in der heiligen Eucharistie gegenwärtig – für euch. Gott segne euch alle.
[Un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua tedesca. Fra voi saluto i tanti studenti presenti a quest’Udienza, in particolare gli studenti del Gymnasium Haus Overbach di Jülich che celebrano il centenario di fondazione. Non dimenticate mai: nella Santa Eucaristia, il Signore è presente – per voi! Dio vi benedica tutti.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en modo particular a los grupos provenientes de España y América Latina. Exhorto a la comunión frecuente, haciendo presente el misterio de amor que se encierra en el Sacramento, para que la unidad con Cristo y con su Iglesia se manifieste en nuestro actuar cotidiano y testimonie nuestra vida nueva en Cristo. Gracias.
Queridos amigos de língua portuguesa, que hoje tomais parte neste Encontro, obrigado pela vossa presença e sobretudo pelas vossas orações! A todos vos saúdo, especialmente aos alunos, professores e familiares dos Colégios Pedro Arrupe e Senhora da Boa Nova, desejando-vos que a peregrinação ao túmulo dos Santos Apóstolos Pedro e Paulo fortaleça, nos vossos corações, o sentir e o viver em Igreja, sob o terno olhar da Virgem Mãe. Sobre vós e vossas famílias, desça a Bênção do Senhor!
[Cari amici di lingua portoghese, che oggi prendete parte a quest’Incontro, grazie per la vostra presenza e soprattutto per le vostre preghiere! Saluto tutti voi, in particolare gli alunni, i professori e i familiari dei Collegi Pedro Arrupe e Senhora da Boa Nova,augurandovi che il pellegrinaggio alla tomba dei Santi Apostoli Pietro e Paolo rafforzi, nei vostri cuori, il sentire e il vivere nella Chiesa, sotto il tenero sguardo della Vergine Madre. Su di voi e sulle vostre famiglie, scenda la Benedizione del Signore.]
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصّةً بالقادمينَ من الشّرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، في الإفخارستيا يأتي يسوع للقائنا ليجعلنا شبيهين به؛ لنسمح للرب أن يحوِّلنا إلى إفخارستيا حيّة ولنُدرك النعمة والإلتزام اللذين يتضمّنهما تحوُّلنا إلى جسد المسيح. ليُباركْكُم الربّ!
[Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua araba, in particolare a quelli provenienti dal Medio Oriente! Cari fratelli e sorelle, nell’Eucaristia Gesù ci viene incontro per assimilarci; lasciamoci trasformare dal Signore in Eucaristia vivente e riconosciamo la grazia e l’impegno che comporta diventare Corpo di Cristo. Il Signore vi benedica!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, nasze uczestnictwo we Mszy św. jest pełne, gdy przyjmujemy Ciało i Krew Pana w Komunii eucharystycznej. Jest to najgłębsze zjednoczenie z Chrystusem. On daje się nam grzesznikom jako pokarm, który nas uzdrawia, napełnia świętością i pozwala żyć życiem samego Boga. Przyjmujcie ten pokarm, aby napełniał was świętością! Z serca wam błogosławię.
[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini polacchi. Cari fratelli e sorelle, la nostra partecipazione alla Santa Messa è piena quando riceviamo il Corpo e il Sangue del Signore nella Comunione eucaristica. Questa è la più profonda unione con Cristo. Egli si dona a noi peccatori come cibo che guarisce, riempie di santità e permette di vivere la vita di Dio stesso. Prendete questo cibo, perché vi colmi di santità! Vi benedico di cuore.]
 AFTER the Angelus
On the occasion of the next world meeting of families, I intend to go to Dublin on August 25th and 26th of this year. I thank the civil authorities, the Bishops, the Bishop of Dublin, and all those who work together to prepare this trip. Thank you!

I extend a cordial welcome to the faithful of the Italian language.

I am pleased to welcome the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Ploermel, on the occasion of their General Chapter; the Religious who attend the USMI Training Course; the members of the Focolare Movement and parish groups, especially those of Viterbo and Sant'Andrea del Pizzone. The pilgrimage to the See of Peter helps you to cultivate the wisdom that only God can give.

I greet the participants in the Conference for the Families of the "Fallen in the operating theater in the Peace Support Missions" - these are heroes: heroes of the Fatherland and heroes of humanity! Thank you -, accompanied by the Military Ordinary for Italy, Monsignor Santo Marcianò; the National Federation of Montano Basin Consortia Consortia; the National Cooper Federation and the student groups, especially those of Rome, Solofra and Prato. I wish to carry out a joyful and generous service to the common good.

A special thought for the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. We are concluding the grace time of Lent. Do not get tired of asking God's forgiveness in Confession and in your sufferings unite even more to those of the cross of Christ, competing in forgiveness and mutual help.

#BreakingNews US Bishops Release #ProLife Statement on Pregnancy Centers - FULL TEXT

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee Issues Statement Supporting Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers as Important Free Speech Case Begins

March 20, 2018
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement praising the work of pro-life pregnancy centers on the occasion of oral arguments being heard today by the U.S. Supreme Court in NIFLA v. Becerra.
Cardinal Dolan's full statement follows:  
"Pro-life pregnancy care centers embody everything that is right and good in our nation: generosity, compassion and love that is offered to support both mother and child. But rather than applauding and encouraging the selfless and life-affirming work of these centers, some governments want to force them to provide free advertising for the violent act of abortion in direct violation of their pro-life convictions and the First Amendment. The United States Supreme Court cannot let this happen. We pray that the Court will do the right thing and uphold our fundamental right to free speech when it decides this case."
The USCCB and several other groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court supporting the pro-life pregnancy centers in this important free speech case. The other groups are the California Catholic Conference, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Christian Legal Society and Agudath Israel of America. The full text of the brief is available online:

Pope Francis at Pre-Synod meeting with Youth answers Questions on Faith...and Tattoos - FULL Video

Pope responds to young people’s questions at Pre-Synodal meeting
5 questions from young people from different experiences and parts of the world. And 5 answers from Pope Francis ranging from the dignity of women to spiritual formation. At a pre-Synodal meeting on Monday, Pope Francis responded to 5 questions about issues faced by young people from around the world.
How can young people help victims of human trafficking?
Pope Francis was clearly moved by the first question which addressed the reality of sex trafficking. He referred to the stories he has heard from trafficked women about the dangers they face trying to escape their captors. The Pope described this abuse, and even torture, as the “slavery of today”. The Pope went on to denounce the evil of exploiting women. He had especially strong words for baptized Catholics who pay for prostitutes. This is a “crime against humanity”, he said. Pope Francis called on young people to fight for the dignity of women, and concluded by asking forgiveness for all the Catholics who take part in these “criminal acts”.
Where should a young person look for guidance in making life choices?
Pope Francis responded to a young French student seeking direction in his life, by suggesting we confide in those who possess wisdom, regardless of whether they are young or old. “The wise person”, he said, “is the one who is not scared of anything, but who knows how to listen and has the God-given gift of saying the right thing at the right time”. The Pope warned that when young people fail to find their “path of discernment”, they risk shutting themselves off. This can become like carrying a “cancer” inside, he said. And this risks weighing them down and taking away their freedom.
How can we teach young people to be open to their neighbor and to the transcendent?
Pope Francis said education should teach three basic languages: those of the head, the heart, and the hands. The language of the head, he said, means thinking well and learning concrete things. That of the heart means understanding feelings and sentiments. The language of the hands is making use of the gifts God has given us to create new things. The key, he said, is to use all three together. Pope Francis went on to criticize what he called the “isolating nature” of today’s digital, virtual world. Rather than demonize technology, the Pope called it a richness that must be used well with a “concreteness that brings freedom”.
How is a young person preparing for the priesthood to respond to the complexities of present-day culture – like tattoos, for instance?
Pope Francis used this question from a young Ukrainian seminarian to reflect on the priest as a “witness to Christ”. Clericalism, on the contrary, said the Pope, is “one of the worst illnesses of the Church”, because it confuses the “paternal role of the priest” with the “managerial role of the boss”. He also spoke about the relationship between the priest and the community and how this relationship is compromised, and can be destroyed, by “gossip”. Responding specifically to the question of tattoos, Pope Francis recalled how different cultures have used them to distinguish and identify themselves, so “don’t be afraid of tattoos”, he said – but don’t exaggerate either. If anything, use the tattoo as a talking-point to begin a dialogue about what it signifies.
How can young women religious balance the dominant culture in society and the spiritual life in accomplishing their mission?
The Pope responded to this final question saying that an adequate formation throughout religious life needs to be built on four pillars: formation for an intellectual, communitarian, apostolic, and spiritual life. Having only a spiritual formation leads to psychological immaturity, he said. Even though this is often done to protect young religious from the world, Pope Francis said it is not protection, it is “deformation”. Those who have not received affective formation are the ones who have ended up doing evil. Allowing people to mature affectively is the only way to protect them.
Text Source: Vatican

#BreakingNews Attack on Market in Damascus - 37 Killed and many wounded - Please Pray

Damascus, Ghouta East rebels hit central market: 37 dead and 35 wounded

ASIA NEWS IT report: Attacks by anti-government militias intensify. Rockets and missiles mostly affect civilians, even children. Yesterday a market capital, crowded with people busy shopping for Mother's Day was hit. Witness: "terrifying" explosion. The evacuation of civilians from Ghouta east continues.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 37 people are dead and 35 injured following an attack carried out yesterday by rebel and pro-jihadist groups fighting the Syrian government; the rockets, launched from Ghouta East under government army siege, hit a market in the Jaramana neighborhood, in the center of Damascus.
In the last period, rebel groups fighting against the government have stepped up artillery and rocket attacks on central districts of the capital. The daily violence is perpetrated by militia in the silence of the media and Western governments, as pointed out in a stark letter of accusation by the Trappist nuns and confirmed by the apostolic nuncio Card. Mario Zenari.
"The militia launched a rocket attack on the Kashkoum market in the Jaramana district of Damascus at 6.15 pm local time" yesterday, according to a spokesman for the Russian army, an ally of the Syrian government. "The toll [...] is at least 37 dead and 35 wounded".
Yesterday’s was one of the most bloody attacks launched by rebel and jihadist groups from the Ghouta east region, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, towards the capital. Rockets and missiles which, in the great majority of cases, hit homes, hospitals, schools and cause civilian casualties, even among children.
The market targeted in yesterday's attack was packed with people, many of whom were busy shopping for Mother's Day. A taxi driver, speaking on condition of anonymity, reports that the area is famous among the inhabitants of the capital for cheap clothes and groceries. A 30-year-old nurse adds that a rocket hit a commercial area that is "next to a security checkpoint". The intensity of the explosion, the nurse added, "was terrifying".
Meanwhile, the government army and its allies have reconquered over 80 of the territories that make up Ghouta East; the area still in the hands of the rebels is divided into three pockets, each of them under the control of a different faction. The UN agencies operating in the area are sounding an alarm for the "massive movement of civilians" under way. Tens of thousands have left the area in recent weeks following the opening, albeit partial, of humanitarian corridors; many of these people are in poor health, malnourished children, those suffering from scabies, dysentery and respiratory infections.
Text Source: ASIA NEWS IT

Wow Lower Budget Faith-Based Film "I Can Only Imagine" beats Hollywood Features

The $7 million indie movie dramatically overperformed in its U.S. debut,  beating 'A Wrinkle in Time' and 'Love, Simon' . It tells the story behind the best-selling Christian song of all time . I Can Only Imagine dramatically overperformed in opening to $17.1 million from 1,629 theaters. On Monday, I Can Only Imagine earned an estimated $1.7 million, almost as much as Tomb Raider ($1.8 million), and not that far behind Black Panther ($2.2 million). On Friday, the movie will be playing in a total of 2,230 theaters. The film stars J. Michael Finley as the real-life Bart Millard, the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe who wrote "I Can Only Imagine." The song recounts Millard's relationship with his once-abusive father, played in the film by by Dennis Quaid, and imagines what it would be like to be in heaven standing before God. "I Can Only Imagine" was first issued as a track on MercyMe's 1999 album, The Worship Project, then recorded for the 2001 album, Almost There. Audiences gave I Can Only Imagine with an A+ CinemaScore. 80 percent of the audience was over the age of 35. I Can Only Imagine scored the fourth-biggest domestic opening for a faith-based film behind Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ ($83.8 million), Son of God ($25.6 million) and Heaven is for Real ($22.5 million). It was directed by faith-based filmmakers and brothers Andrew and Joe Erwin. Andrew Erwin explained, “God’s hand has been on this song and on this story from the beginning. We are delighted to see a story about forgiveness and redemption connect with so many people. We are humbled for the privilege of telling Bart's story.” Stats from Hollywood Reporter

Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò has Resigned - former Prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication

Vatican’s Prefect for Communication resigns
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, Prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication.
Pope Francis on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Mons. Dario E. Viganò, the man he had chosen to spearhead the Vatican media reform.
In a letter published by the Holy See Press Office, the Pope said that after having reflected carefully on Monsignor’s Viganò’s request to step down from his position as Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, he accepts his resignation “not without some effort”.
In the letter the Pope nominates Viganò "Assessor" for the Dicastery of Communication asking him to stay on within the Secretariat so as to be able to continue to give his “human and professional contribution” to the new Prefect and to the media reform.
In his letter addressed to Pope Francis, and dated 19 March, Viganò refers to recent controversy concerning his work and thanks the Pope for the “paternal and solid” support manifested throughout his mandate.
However, he explains he has decided to step down out of respect for the people who have worked alongside him during these years, and to avoid that the “Motu Proproi,” on the Vatican media reform, can in any way be “delayed, damaged or even blocked”.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. March 21, 2018 - #Eucharist

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 253

Reading 1DN 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar said:
"Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
that you will not serve my god,
or worship the golden statue that I set up?
Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made,
whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet,
flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe,
and all the other musical instruments;
otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace;
and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?"
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar,
"There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you
in this matter.
If our God, whom we serve,
can save us from the white-hot furnace
and from your hands, O king, may he save us!
But even if he will not, know, O king,
that we will not serve your god
or worship the golden statue that you set up."

King Nebuchadnezzar's face became livid with utter rage
against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual
and had some of the strongest men in his army
bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles,
"Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?"
"Assuredly, O king," they answered.
"But," he replied, "I see four men unfettered and unhurt,
walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God."
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed,
"Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him;
they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies
rather than serve or worship any god
except their own God."

Responsorial PsalmDN 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R. (52b) Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim;
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!

Verse Before The GospelSEE LK 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

GospelJN 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
"If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, 'You will become free'?"
Jesus answered them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father's presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father."

They answered and said to him, "Our father is Abraham."
Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!"
So they said to him, "We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God."
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Saint March 21 : St. Nicholas of Flue : Patron of Difficult #Marriages, Large families, #Swiss Guards, Switzerland

St. Nicholas of Flue
Feast: March 21
March 21

21 March 1417 at Sachseln, Canton Obwalden, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
21 March 1487
15 May 1947 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:
Sachseln, Switzerland
Patron of:
councilmen, difficult marriages, large families, magistrates, parents of large families, Pontifical Swiss Guards, separated spouses, Switzerland

Born 21 March, 1417, on the Flüeli, a fertile plateau near Sachseln, Canton Obwalden, Switzerland; died 21 March, 1487, as a recluse in a neighboring ravine, called Ranft. He was the oldest son of pious, well-to-do peasants and from his earliest youth was fond of prayer, practiced mortification, and conscientiously performed the labor of a peasant boy.
At the age of 21 he entered the army and took part in the battle of Ragaz in 1446. Probably he fought in the battles near the Etzel in 1439, near Baar in the Canton of Zug in 1443, and assisted in the capture of Zürich in 1444. He took up arms again in the so-called Thurgau war against Archduke Sigismund of Austria in 1460. It was due to his influence that the Dominican Convent St. Katharinental, whither many Austrians had fled after the capture of Diessenhofen, was not destroyed by the Swiss confederates. Heeding the advice of his parents he married, about the age of twenty-five, a pious girl from Sachseln, named Dorothy Wyssling, who bore him five sons and five daughters. His youngest son, Nicholas, born in 1467, became a priest and a doctor of theology.
Though averse to worldly dignities, he was elected cantonal councillor and judge. The fact that in 1462 he was one of five arbiters appointed to settle a dispute between the parish of Stans and the monastery of Engelberg, shows the esteem in which he was held. After living about twenty-five years in wedlock he listened to an inspiration of God and with the consent of his wife left his family on 16 October, 1467, to live as a hermit. At first he intended to go to a foreign country, but when he came into the neighborhood of Basle, a divine inspiration ordered him to take up his abode in the Ranft, a valley along the Melcha, about an hour's walk from Sachseln.
Here, known as "Brother Klaus", he abode over twenty years, without taking any bodily food or drink, as was established through a careful investigation, made by the civil as well as the ecclesiastical authorities of his times. He wore neither shoes nor cap, and even in winter was clad merely in a hermit's gown. In 1468 he saved the town of Sarnen from a conflagration by his prayers and the sign of the cross. God also favored him with numerous visions and the gift of prophecy. Distinguished persons from nearly every country of Europe came to him for counsel in matters of the utmost importance. At first he lived in a narrow hut, which he himself had built with branches and leaves, and came daily to Mass either at Sachseln or at Kerns. Early in 1469 the civil authorities built a cell and a chapel for him, and on 29 April of the same year the chapel was dedicated by the vicar-general of Constance, Thomas, Bishop of Ascalon. In 1479 a chaplain was put in charge of the chapel, and thenceforth Nicholas always remained in the Ranft. When in 1480 delegates of the Swiss confederates assembled at Stans to settle their differences, and civil war seemed inevitable, Henry Imgrund, the pastor of Stans, hastened to Nicholas, begging him to prevent the shedding of blood. The priest returned to the delegates with the hermit's counsels and propositions, and civil war was averted. Nicholas was beatified by Pope Clement IX in 1669. Numerous pilgrims visit the chapel near the church of Sachseln, where his relics are preserved. His feast is celebrated on 21 March.
Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia
My Lord and my God, take everything from me that keeps me from You. My Lord and my God, give everything to me that brings me near to You. My Lord and my God, take me away from myself and give me completely to You. Amen.

Pope Francis: “Looking at the Crucifix heals our poisoned hearts”

Pope Francis: “Looking at the Crucifix heals our poisoned hearts”
During his homily on Tuesday at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis invites us to look at a Crucifix when we are depressed and tired out with life’s journey.
Vatican News: By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis’ reflection was inspired by the first reading from the book of Numbers 21,4-9. The people were exasperated because of the long journey and were tired of eating the same food. They complained about the food saying they would die in the desert because of God and Moses.
We forget the Lord’s strength As they drew closer to the promised land, some of the Israelites became skeptical because the scouts sent by Moses reported a land rich in produce but inhabited by a people who would be impossible to defeat. “By looking only at their own strength, they forgot the Lord’s strength which had liberated them from 400 years of slavery,” Pope Francis notes.
A sick memory
Pope Francis then compares these Israelites who complain about the journey with those people who begin to follow the Lord but then abandon the journey when it gets too tough. It is at these moments that one says, “I’ve had enough! I quit. I’m going back.” Then one begins to reminisce about the past—about the meat, the onions, and other wonderful things…. Such are the illusions the devil proposes. Once we begin to feel the heat of the day on the journey of conversion, the devil makes us see everything we left behind in a beautiful light. The Pope invites us to understand how partial such a “sick memory” is. It is a distorted nostalgia because the Israelites had been eating from the table of slavery because they had been slaves in Egypt. Poisoned hearts
The serpents who bit the people and poisoned them are an external symbol of poisoned hearts. And so the Lord tells Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole. This serpent healed anyone who looked at it. “It was prophetic: it was the figure of Christ on the cross,” Pope Francis says.
By his wounds our wounds are healed
Pope Francis continues, “And here is the key to our salvation, the key for having patience on the journey of life, the key to overcome our deserts: looking at the Crucifix.” All we need to do is look at Jesus and his wounds, “for by those wounds we have been healed.” Many crucifixes are beautiful because they also want to express the glory of the cross and the glory of the resurrection Pope Francis explains
Pope Francis concluded his homily with a memory of his own childhood. One Good Friday he was with his grandmother at a candlelight procession in the parish. When the life-size marble statue of the dead Christ came by, his grandmother made him kneel down. “Look at that,” she said, “but tomorrow he will rise!” And so, “my grandmother, when she heard the church bells pealing announcing the Resurrection, had tears in her eyes because she was then beholding Christ’s glory.”
Source: VaticanNews