Friday, June 27, 2014

Today's Mass and Readings Online : Sat. June 27, 2014 - Immaculate Heart

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 376/573

VIDEO ADDED LATER

Reading 1LAM 2:2, 10-14, 18-19

The Lord has consumed without pity
all the dwellings of Jacob;
He has torn down in his anger
the fortresses of daughter Judah;
He has brought to the ground in dishonor
her king and her princes.

On the ground in silence sit
the old men of daughter Zion;
They strew dust on their heads
and gird themselves with sackcloth;
The maidens of Jerusalem
bow their heads to the ground.

Worn out from weeping are my eyes,
within me all is in ferment;
My gall is poured out on the ground
because of the downfall of the daughter of my people,
As child and infant faint away
in the open spaces of the town.

In vain they ask their mothers,
“Where is the grain?”
As they faint away like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
And breathe their last
in their mothers’ arms.

To what can I liken or compare you,
O daughter Jerusalem?
What example can I show you for your comfort,
virgin daughter Zion?
For great as the sea is your downfall;
who can heal you?

Your prophets had for you
false and specious visions;
They did not lay bare your guilt,
to avert your fate;
They beheld for you in vision
false and misleading portents.

Cry out to the Lord;
moan, O daughter Zion!
Let your tears flow like a torrent
day and night;
Let there be no respite for you,
no repose for your eyes.

Rise up, shrill in the night,
at the beginning of every watch;
Pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your little ones
Who faint from hunger
at the corner of every street.

Responsorial Psalm PS 74:1B-2, 3-5, 6-7, 20-21

R. (19b) Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.
Why, O God, have you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your flock which you built up of old,
the tribe you redeemed as your inheritance,
Mount Zion, where you took up your abode.
R. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.
Turn your steps toward the utter ruins;
toward all the damage the enemy has done in the sanctuary.
Your foes roar triumphantly in your shrine;
they have set up their tokens of victory.
They are like men coming up with axes to a clump of trees.
R. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.
With chisel and hammer they hack at all the paneling of the sanctuary.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
the place where your name abides they have razed and profaned.
R. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.
Look to your covenant,
for the hiding places in the land and the plains are full of violence.
May the humble not retire in confusion;
may the afflicted and the poor praise your name.
R. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.

Gospel LK 2:41-51

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 

Saint June 28 : St. Irenaeus of Lyons : Father of the Church

St. Irenaeus of Lyons
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: June 28


Information:
Feast Day:June 28
Born:130 in Asia Minor
Died:203 in Lyons, France
The writings of Irenaeus give him an honored place among the Fathers of the Church for they laid the foundations of Christian theology and, by refuting the errors of the Gnostics, kept the youthful Catholic faith from the danger of corruption by the subtle, pessimistic doctrines of these philosophers. Irenaeus was born, probably about the year 125, in one of the maritime provinces of Asia Minor, where the memory of the Apostles was still cherished and where Christians were already numerous. His education was exceptionally liberal, for, besides a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, he had an acquaintance with Greek philosophy and literature. Irenaeus had also the privilege of sitting at the feet of men who had known the Apostles. Of these the one who made the deepest impression on him was St. Polycarp, the venerable bishop of Smyrna. All through his life, he told a friend, he could recall every detail of Polycarp's appearance, his voice, and the very words he used when telling what he had heard from John the Evangelist and others who had seen Jesus.

From early times commerce had been brisk between the ports of Asia Minor and the city of Marseilles, at the mouth of the Rhone River. In the second century of the Christian era Levantine traders were conveying their wares up the river as far as Lyons, the most populous city of Gaul and an important mart for all Western Europe. In the train of these Asiatic merchants, many of whom settled in Lyons, came Christian missionaries, who brought the Gospel to the pagan Gauls and founded a vigorous church. Here Irenaeus was sent to serve as priest under the bishop, Pothinus.

The high regard which Irenaeus earned for himself at Lyons was shown in the year 177, when he was chosen to go on a serious mission to Rome. He was the bearer of a letter to Pope Eleutherius, urging him to deal firmly with the Montanist faction in faraway Phrygia, for heresy was now rampant in the East. This mission explains how it was that Irenaeus did not share in the martyrdom of his fellow Christians. A persecution broke out, and some of the leaders of the Lyons church were imprisoned; a few suffered martyrdom. This was in the reign of the philosophical pagan emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Since Lyons was a vital outpost of imperial power, adorned with temples and fine public buildings, the Roman officials perhaps thought it necessary to keep the new religion in check here. When Irenaeus returned from Rome it was to fill the now vacant bishopric. The brief period of persecution was over, and the twenty or more years of his episcopate were fairly peaceful. In addition to his pastoral duties at Lyons, Irenaeus is said to have extended the sphere of Christian influence by sending missionaries to other towns of Gaul-SS. Felix, Fortunatus, and Achilleus to Valence, and SS. Ferrutius and Ferreolus to Besancon. The bishop identified himself with his flock so completely as to speak habitually the native tongue instead of Latin or Greek, and to encourage all priests to do likewise.

The spread of Gnosticism in Gaul led Irenaeus to make a careful study of its tenets, not an easy matter since each Gnostic teacher was inclined to introduce subtleties of his own. He was, Tertullian tells us, "a curious explorer of all kinds of learning," and the task interested him. His treatise <Against the Heresies>, in five books, sets forth fully the doctrines of the main dissident sects of the day and then contrasts them with the words of Scripture and the teachings of the Apostles, as preserved not only in sacred writings but by oral tradition in the churches which the Apostles founded. Above all, he cites the authoritative tradition of the Church of Rome, handed down from Peter and Paul through an unbroken succession of bishops. In his theological works Irenaeus especially shows the influence of St. Paul and St. John. An humble, patient man, he writes of controversial matters with a moderation and courtesy unusual in this age of perfervid conviction.

An example of his method is his discussion of one type of Gnostic doctrine, that the visible world was created and is sustained and governed by angelic beings, but not by God, who remains unconnected with it, aloof and unmoved in his own inaccessible sphere. Irenaeus states the theory, develops it to a logical conclusion, and then by an effective <reductio ad absurdum> demonstrates its fallacy. The Christian doctrine of a close continuing relationship between the Triune God and the world He created Irenaeus describes thus: "The Father is above all, and He is the Head of Christ; the Word (Logos) is through all things and is Himself the Head of the Church, while the Spirit is in us all, and His is the living water which the Lord gave to those who believe in Him and love Him, and who know that there is one Father above all things and through all things." Irenaeus was convinced that the veil of mystery which enveloped Gnosticism was part of its attraction, and he was determined to "strip the fox," as he expressed it. His book, written in Greek and quickly translated into Latin, was widely circulated, and from this time on Gnosticism presented no serious threat.

Thirteen or fourteen years after his mission to Rome, Irenaeus attempted mediation between another Pope and a body of Christians in Asia Minor called the Quartodecimans, who refused to fix the day of Easter by the method commonly used by Christians. Pope Victor had excommunicated them, and Irenaeus pleaded with him in a beautiful letter to raise the ban, pointing out that these Asiatics were only following their Apostolic tradition, and that the difference of opinion on this minor point had not prevented St. Polycarp and many others from staying in communion. At the end of the fourth century Jerome wrote that many Eastern bishops still adhered to the ancient Jewish calendar.

The date of the death of Irenaeus is usually given as about the year 203. According to a late and dubious tradition he suffered martyrdom under Septimius Severus. His book <Against the Heresies> has come down to us entire in its Latin version; and an Armenian translation of his <Exposition of Apostolic Preaching> has lately been discovered. Though the rest of his writings have perished, in these two works may be found the elements of a complete system of Catholic theology.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/I/stirenaeus.asp#ixzz1z5JFLt9T

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Sacred Heart Solemnity : Fri. June 27, 2014

Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lectionary: 170


Reading 1DT 7:6-11

Moses said to the people:
"You are a people sacred to the LORD, your God;
he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth
to be a people peculiarly his own.
It was not because you are the largest of all nations
that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you,
for you are really the smallest of all nations.
It was because the LORD loved you
and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn your fathers,
that he brought you out with his strong hand
from the place of slavery,
and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
Understand, then, that the LORD, your God, is God indeed,
the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant
down to the thousandth generation
toward those who love him and keep his commandments,
but who repays with destruction a person who hates him;
he does not dally with such a one,
but makes them personally pay for it.
You shall therefore carefully observe the commandments,
the statutes and the decrees that I enjoin on you today."

Responsorial Psalm PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 10

R/ (cf. 17) The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and forget not all his benefits.
R/ The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R/ The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R/ The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

Reading 21 JN 4:7-16

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.

Gospel MT 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

RIP Therese Vanier Co-Founder of L'Arche UK

Therese Vanier

L'Arche UK Release: We are deeply saddened to announce that Thérèse Vanier has passed away on Monday 16th June 2014.
Thérèse was an inspiration, a courageous and visionary woman. The sister of Jean Vanier, Thérèse co-founded L'Arche in the UK.

"She died very peacefully at home at St Peter's in Lambeth. Do pray for Jean, Michel and all their family, for all Therese's friends, and for the Community of L'Arche in London. We give thanks for her life, her love and her faithfulness," writes John Sargent, L'Arche in the UK country leader.
Thérèse was the eldest child and only daughter of Georges and Pauline Vanier. 
During the War, she joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, and the Free French organization, as a result of which she was awarded the Croix de Guerre from the French government.
She went on to study medicine at Cambridge. Her outstanding scholarship helped her secure a place at St. Thomas’ Hospital where she was a contemporary of Cicely Saunders, who founded St. Christopher’s, the first hospice in the world for terminally ill patients, where Therese later worked. Her successful medical career saw her appointed the first female consultant hematologist at St. Thomas’, London.
Thérèse was an early and frequent visitor to the first L'Arche community, founded by her brother Jean in France in 1964. And it was Thérèse, practical, capable and quietly determined, who finally brought L’Arche over the Channel to the UK.
A woman of faith and discreet determination, she had no firm idea how to achieve her aim, but soon found herself surrounded by a small group, including Ann and Geoffrey Morgan, who shared her passion. Within a couple of years the first L’Arche Community of people with and without a disability, started sharing life together, in a former Anglican vicarage, near Canterbury. Therese has always insisted that it was this group and not her alone who founded L’Arche in the UK.
From our present-day perspective, it is hard to grasp just how revolutionary this community must have seemed in January 1974, when for many people with a learning disability, home was likely to be a vast institution. Under Thérèse’s guidance, the community began to discover and promote the hitherto unsuspected talents of people still viewed as passive receivers, rather than active and distinct contributors to society’s progress.
For several years she managed to combine leadership of the fledgling L'Arche in the UK with a part-time medical career as a consultant physician at St. Christopher’s hospice in London. Her clarity of thought and fluency in French and English made her a valued lecturer on palliative care across the world, notably in her native Canada. At the same time and with astonishing energy, she oversaw the development of four further L'Arche communities in the UK, including one in Lambeth, south London, where she remained a member until her death.
Thérèse fostered similar work in Ireland and Denmark in her role as a L’Arche regional co-ordinator in Northern Europe. Under her leadership, L’Arche became a founder member of the Association of Residential Care (ARC), and she also served ten years as a committee member and trustee of NACCAN (National Association of Christian Communities & Networks.)
A deeply committed Roman Catholic, Thérèse Vanier’s involvement with L'Arche, which welcomes people of all faiths and none to share community life, led her into the ecumenical movement in the UK. She wrote several booklets on this theme, including, Nick, man of the heart, a short spiritual biography of her friend Nick Elleker, a disabled Anglican member of L'Arche Lambeth, who was himself a committed ecumenist.
Thérèse Vanier lived near the L’Arche Community in Lambeth, London. She died at 91.

Biography provided by L'Arche in the UK.
Shared from L'Arche UK

Pope Francis "This is the tenderness of our Lord and of His love....

Pope Francis celebrating Mass at Santa Marta residence
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis said God is like a gentle father who holds us by the hand and we need to become like a small child to have a dialogue with Him.  This was the focus of his homily during the Mass he celebrated on Friday in the Santa Marta residence.
June 27th is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Pope’s  homily was a reflection on the nature of the love between God and his people.  He described this feast as a celebration of God’s love in Jesus Christ. 
“There are two aspects to this love.  First, love is more about giving than receiving.  Second, love is more about actions than words.  When we say it’s more about giving than receiving, that’s because love communicates, it always communicates.  And it’s received by the one who is loved.  And when we say that it’s more about actions than words, that’s because love always generates life and makes us grow.”
Pope Francis said that in order to understand  God’s love we need to become small like a child and what God seeks from us is a relationship  like that between a father and child. God gives us a caress and tells us: I’m by your side.
“This is the tenderness of our Lord and of His love; this is what He tells us and this gives us the strength to be tender.  But if we feel we’re strong, we’ll never experience those caresses from the Lord, those caresses from Him that are so wonderful.   ‘Don’t be afraid, for I am with you and I’ll hold your hand’… These are all words spoken  by the Lord that help us to understand that mysterious love He has for us.  And when Jesus speaks about Himself, he says: ‘ I am meek and humble of heart.’ Even He, the Son of God, lowers himself to receive his Father’s love.”
Pope Francis concluded by homily by noting that God is always there in front of us, waiting for us and urges God to give us the grace to enter into the mysterious world of his love.
“When we arrive, He’s there.  When we look for Him, He has already been looking for us.   He is always in front of us, waiting to receive us in His heart, in His love.  And these two things can help us to understand the mystery of God’s love for us.  In order to communicate  this, He needs us to be like small children, to lower ourselves.  And at the same time, He needs our astonishment when we look for Him and find Him there, waiting for us."  
Shared from Radio Vatican
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What is the Sacred Heart of Jesus - Solemnity - Novena - Litany - Prayers - June 27

TODAY, June 27, 2014, is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been evident for many centuries under different forms. However, Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation Nun of the monastery of Paray-le-Monial, France received visions of the Sacred Heart and spread its devotion with this feast. Jesus appeared asking for a devotion of expiatory  love and frequent Communion, Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour.

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In 1856, Pope Pius IX extended the feast of the Sacred Heart to the universal Church. On 11 June, 1899, by order of Pope Leo XIII, all peoples were solemnly consecrated to the Sacred Heart. It is annually celebrated on the Friday 19 days after Pentecost.
12 Promises of Jesus given in the Vision

1. I will give them graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
12. I promise thee in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that its all-powerful Love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of Nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

CONSECRATION TO THE SACRED HEART
FOR INDIVIDUAL FAMILIES



Lord Jesus Christ, we consecrate ourselves to You today, each one of us, and all of us together as a family. Your Sacred Heart, the heart of your crucified and risen Body, is the ever living source of mercy and grace, hope and love for all of us. We desire to pledge ourselves and our lives to You in return.

Teach us to be always united with You, through Your Holy Spirit in mind and heart, in all our thoughts, words, deeds, joy and sufferings. Grant that we may ever know You more clearly, love You more dearly, and follow You more nearly.

We wish to share in Your redeeming work in our world: that your Father's will may truly be done on earth as it is in heaven, that the civilization of justice and love may thus be built up in our land.

Heart of Jesus, help us to keep sin away from our lives. Help us to keep loving, serving and forgiving each other. Live in our hearts and in our homes always, Make us wholly Yours.

With Your Mother's Immaculate Heart, we renew our consecration to Your Sacred Heart, for the ever greater glory of the Father in Heaven, Amen.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, be with us and bless us now and at the hour of our death, Amen.


In 1899 Pope Leo XIII approved this Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for public use. 
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God, the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, One God,
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty,
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven,
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased,
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful,
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium,
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses,
Heart of Jesus, obedient to death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
Heart of Jesus, our peace and our reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints,

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,

V. Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

spare us, O Lord.

graciously hear us, O Lord.

have mercy on us, O Lord.


R. Make our hearts like to Thine.
Let us pray;

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.
Padre Pio's Sacred Heart Novena


This powerful prayer was recited every day by Padre Pio for all those who recommended themselves to his prayers:

I. O my Jesus, You said "verily I say to You, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you", behold I knock, I seek and I ask for the grace of...

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

II. O my Jesus, You said, "verily I say to You, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you", behold in your name I ask the Father for the grace of...

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

III. O my Jesus, You said, "verily I say to You, heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away", behold I encouraged by your infallible words, now ask for the grace of...

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

O sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom one thing alone is impossible, namely, not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of Thee through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your and our tender Mother.


Say the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) and add, St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us

Saint June 27 : St. Cyril of Alexandria : Doctor of the Church

St. Cyril of Alexandria
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: June 27


Information:
Feast Day:June 27
Born:376 at Alexandria, Egypt 
Died:444 at Alexandria, Egypt
Patron of:Alexandria, Egypt
Doctor of the Church. St. Cyril has his feast in the Western Church on the 28th of January; in the Greek Menaea it is found on the 9th of June, and (together with St. Athanasius) on the 18th of January.
He seems to have been of an Alexandrian family and was the son of the brother of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria; if he is the Cyril addressed by Isidore of Pelusium in Ep. xxv of Bk. I, he was for a time a monk. He accompanied Theophilus to Constantinople when that bishop held the "Synod of the Oak" in 402 and deposed St. John Chrysostom. Theophilus died 15 Oct., 412, and on the 18th Cyril was consecrated his uncle's successor, but only after a riot between his supporters and those of his rival Timotheus. Socrates complains bitterly that one of his first acts was to plunder and shut the churches of the Novatians. He also drove out of Alexandria the Jews, who had formed a flourishing community there since Alexander the Great. But they had caused tumults and had massacred the Christians, to defend whom Cyril himself assembled a mob. This may have been the only possible defence, since the Prefect of Egypt, Orestes, who was very angry at the expulsion of the Jews was also jealous of the power of Cyril, which certainly rivaled his own. Five hundred monks came down from Nitria to defend the patriarch. In a disturbance which arose, Orestes was wounded in the head by a stone thrown by a monk named Ammonius. The prefect had Ammonius tortured to death, and the young and fiery patriarch honoured his remains for a time as those of a martyr. The Alexandians were always riotous as we learn from Socrates  (VII, vii) and from St. Cyril himself (Hom. for Easter, 419). In one of these riots, in 422, the prefect Callistus was killed, and in another was committed the murder of a female philosopher Hypatia, a highly-respected teacher of neo-Platoism, of advanced age and (it is said) many virtues. She was a friend of Orestes, and many believed that she prevented a reconciliation between the prefect and patriarch. A mob led by a lector, named Peter, dragged her to a church and tore her flesh with potsherds till she died. This brought great disgrace, says Socrates, on the Church of Alexandria and on its bishop; but a lector at Alexandria was not a cleric (Scr., V, xxii), and Socrates does not suggest that Cyril himself was to blame. Damascius, indeed, accuses him, but he is a late authority and a hater of Christians.

Theophilus, the persecutor of Chrysostom, had not the privilege of communion with Rome from that saint's death, in 406, until his own. For some years Cyril also refused to insert the name of St. Chrysostom in the diptychs of his Church, in spite of the requests of Chrysostom's supplanter, Atticus. Later he seems to  have yielded to the representations of his spiritual father, Isisdore of Pelusium (Isid., Ep. I, 370). Yet even after the Council of Ephesus that saint still found something to rebuke in him on this matter (Ep. I, 310). But at last Cyril seems to have long since been trusted by Rome.

It was in the winter of 427-28 that the Antiochene Nestorius became Patriarch of Constantinople. His heretical teaching soon became known to Cyril. Against him Cyril taught the use of the term Theotokus in his Paschal letter for 429 and in a letter to the monks of Egypt. A correspondence with Nestorius followed, in a more moderate tone than might have been expected. Nestorius sent his sermons to Pope Celestine, but he received no reply, for the latter wrote to St. Cyril for further information. Rome had taken the side of St. John Chrysostom against Theophilus, but had neither censured the orthodoxy of the latter, nor consented to the patriarchal powers exercised by the bishops of Constantinople. To St. Celestine Cyril was not only the first prelate of the East, he was also the inheritor of the traditions of Athanasius and Peter. The pope's confidence was not misplaced. Cyril had learnt prudence. Peter had attempted unsuccessfully to appoint a Bishop of Constantinople; Theophilus had deposed another. Cyril, though in this case Alexandria was in the right, does not act in his own name, but denounces Nestorius to St. Celestine, since ancient custom, he says, persuaded him to bring the matter before the pope. He relates all that had occurred, and begs Celestine to decree what he sees fit (typosai to dokoun--a phrase which Dr. Bright chooses to weaken into "formulate his opinion"), and communicate it also to the Bishops of Macedonia and of the East (i.e. the Antiochene Patriarchate).

The pope's reply was of astonishing severity. He had already commissioned Cassian to write his well known treatise on the Incarnation. He now summoned a council (such Roman councils had somewhat the office of the modern Roman Congregations), and dispatched a letter to Alexandria with enclosures to Constantinople, Philippi, Jerusalem, and Antioch. Cyril is to take to himself the authority of the Roman See and to admonish Nestorius that unless he recants within ten days from the receipt of this ultimatum, he is separated from "our body" (the popes of the day had the habit of speaking of the other churches as the members, of which they are the head; the body is, of course the Catholic Church). If Nestorius does not submit, Cyril is to "provide for" the Church of Constantinople. Such a sentence of excommunication and deposition is not to be confounded with the mere withdrawal of actual communion by the popes from Cyril himself at an earlier date, from Theophilus, or, in Antioch, from Flavian or Meletius. It was the decree Cyril has asked for. As Cyril had twice written to Nestorius, his citation in the name of the pope is to be counted as a third warning, after which no grace is to be given.

St. Cyril summoned a council of his suffragans, and composed a letter which were appended twelve propositions for Nestorius to anathematize. The epistle was not conciliatory, and Nestorius may well have been taken aback. The twelve propositions did not emanate from Rome, and were not equally clear; one or two  of them were later among the authorities invoked by the Monophysite heretics in their own favour. Cyril was the head of the rival theological school to that of Antioch, where Nestorius had studied, and was the hereditary rival of the Constantinopolitan would-be patriarch. Cyril wrote also to John, Patriarch of Antioch, informing him of the facts, and insinuating that if John should support his old friend Nestorius, he would find himself isolated over against Rome, Macedonia, and Egypt. John took the hint and urged Nestorius to yield. Meanwhile, in Constantinople itself large numbers of the people held aloof from Nestorius, and the Emperor Theodosius II had been persuaded to summon a general council to meet at Ephesus. The imperial letters were dispatched 19 November, whereas the bishops sent by Cyril arrived at Constantinople only on 7 December. Nestorius, somewhat naturally, refused to accept the message sent by his rival, and on the 13th and 14th of December preached publicly against Cyril as a calumniator, and as having used bribes (which was probably as true as it was  usual); but he declared himself willing to use the word Theotokos. These sermons he sent to John of Antioch, who preferred them to the anathematizations of Cyril. Nestorius, however, issued twelve propositions with appended anathemas. If Cyril's propositions might be might be taken to deny the two natures in Christ, those of Nestorius hardly veiled his belief in two distinct persons. Theodoret urged John yet further, and wrote a treatise against Cyril, to which the latter replied with some warmth. He also wrote an "Answer" in five books to the sermons of Nestorius.
As the fifteenth-century idea of an oecumenical council superior to the pope had yet to be invented, and there was but one precedent for such an assembly, we need not be surprised that St. Celestine welcomed the initiative of the emperor, and hoped for peace through the assembly. (See EPHESUS, COUNCIL OF.) Nestorius found the churches of Ephesus closed to him, when he arrived with the imperial commissioner, Count Candidian, and his own friend, Count Irenaeus. Cyril came with fifty of his bishops. Palestine, Crete, Asia Minor, and Greece added their quotient. But John of Antioch and his suffragans were delayed. Cyril may have believed, rightly or wrongly, that John did not wish to be present at the trial of his friend Nestorius, or that he wished to gain time for him, and he opened  the council without John, on 22 June, in spite of the request of sixty-eight bishops for a delay. This was an initial error, which had disastrous results.
The legates from Rome had not arrived, so that Cyril had no answer to the letter he had written to Celestine asking "whether the holy synod should receive a man who condemned what it preached, or, because the time of delay had elapsed, whether the sentence was still in force". Cyril might have presumed that the pope, in agreeing to send legates to the council, intended Nestorius to have a complete trial, but it was more convenient to assume that the Roman ultimatum had not been suspended, and that the council was bound by it. He therefore took the place of president, not only as the highest of rank, but also as still holding the place of Celestine, though he cannot have received any fresh commission from the pope. Nestorius was summoned, in order that he might explain his neglect of Cyril's former monition in the name of the pope. He refused to receive the four bishops whom the council sent to him. Consequently nothing remained but formal procedure. For the council was bound by the canons to depose Nestorius for contumacy, as he would not appear, and by the letter of Celestine to condemn him for heresy, as he had not recanted. The correspondence between Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople was read, some testimonies where read from earlier writers show the errors of Nestorius. The second letter of Cyril to Nestorius was approved by all the bishops. The reply of Nestorius was condemned. No discussion took place. The letter of Cyril and the ten anathemaizations raised no comment. All was concluded at one sitting. The council declared that it was "of necessity impelled" by the canons and by the letter of Celestine to declare Nestorius deposed and excommunicated. The papal legates, who had been detained by bad weather, arrived on the 10th of July, and they solemnly confirmed the sentence by the authority of St. Peter, for the refusal of Nestorius to appear had made useless the permission which they brought from the pope to grant him forgiveness if he should repent. But meanwhile John of Antioch and his party had arrived on the 26th and 27th of June. They formed themselves into a rival council of forty-three bishops, and deposed Memnon, Bishop of Ephesus, and St. Cyril, accusing the latter of Apollinarianism and even of Eunomianism. Both parties now appealed to the emperor, who took the amazing decision of sending a count to treat Nestorius, Cyril, and Memnon as being all three lawfully deposed. They were kept in close custody; but eventually the emperor took the orthodox view, though he dissolved the council; Cyril was allowed to return to his diocese, and Nestorius went into retirement at Antioch. Later he was banished to the Great Oasis of Egypt.

Meanwhile Pope Celestine was dead. His successor, St. Sixtus III, confirmed the council and attempted to get John of Antioch to anathematize Nestorius. For some time the strongest opponent of Cyril was Theodoret, but eventually he approved a letter of Cyril to Acacius of Berhoea. John sent Paul, Bishop of Emesa, as his plenipotentiary to Alexandria, and he patched up reconciliation with Cyril. Though Theodoret still refused to denounce the defence of Nestorius, John did so, and Cyril declared his joy in a letter to John. Isidore of Pelusium was now afraid that the impulsive Cyril might have yielded too much (Ep. i, 334). The great patriarch composed many further treatises, dogmatic letters, and sermons. He died on the 9th or the 27th of June, 444, after an episcopate of nearly thirty-two years.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/stcyrilofalexandria.asp#ixzz1yzx1rxRu