Monday, November 10, 2014

Saint November 11 : St. Martin of Tours : Patron of Poor, Alcoholics, Beggars and Wine makers


BISHOP, CONFESSOR
Feast: November 11
Information:
Feast Day:
November 11
Born:
316, Savaria, Hungary
Died:
November 8, 397, Candes, France
Patron of:
gainst poverty; against alcoholism; beggars; Beli Manastir; Buenos Aires; Burgenland; cavalry; Dieburg; Edingen equestrians; Foiano della Chiana; France; geese; horses; hotel-keepers; innkeepers; Kortrijk; diocese of Mainz; Olpe; Pietrasanta; Pontifical Swiss Guards; quartermasters; reformed alcoholics; riders; diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart; soldiers; tailors; Utrecht; vintners; Virje; wine growers; wine makers; Wissmannsdorf

St. Martin, called "the glory of Gaul," was born about the year 316 of pagan parents in Sabaria, Upper Pannonia, a province comprising northern Yugoslavia and western Hungary. His father was an officer in the Roman army who had risen from the ranks. While Martin was still a child, his father was transferred to a new station in Pavia, north Italy. Here the boy learned of Christianity, felt drawn to it, and became a catechumen. As the son of a veteran, at the age of fifteen he was required to begin service in the army. Though never shirking his military duty, he is said to have lived more like a monk than a soldier.
Young Martin was stationed at Amiens, in Gaul, when the incident occurred which tradition and art have rendered so famous. As he rode towards the town one winter day, he noticed near the gates a poor man, thinly clad, shivering with cold, and begging alms. Martin saw that none who passed stopped to help the miserable fellow. He had nothing with him but the clothes he wore, but, drawing his sword from its scabbard, he cut his great woolen cloak in two pieces, gave one half to the beggar, and wrapped himself in the other. The following night, the story continues, Martin in his sleep saw Jesus Christ, surrounded by angels, and dressed in the half of the cloak he had given away. A voice bade him look at it well and say whether he knew it. He then heard Jesus say to the angels, "Martin, as yet only a catechumen, has covered me with his cloak." Sulpicius Severus, the saint's friend and biographer, says that as a consequence of this vision Martin "flew to be baptized."
When Martin was about twenty, some Teutonic tribes invaded Gaul, and with his comrades he went before the Emperor Julian to receive a war-bounty. Suddenly he was moved to refuse it. "Up to now," he said to Julian, "I have served you as a soldier; allow me henceforth to serve Christ. Give the bounty to these others who are going out to battle. I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight." Julian, angered, accused Martin of cowardice; the young man replied that he was ready to go into battle the next day unarmed, and advance alone against the enemy in the name of Christ. He was taken off to prison, but discharged as soon as a truce had been made. He then went down to Poitiers, where the renowned Hilary had been bishop for many years. Hilary gladly received this early "conscientious objector" and ordained him deacon.
Having heard in a dream a summons to revisit his home, Martin crossed the Alps, and from Milan went over to Pannonia. There he converted his mother and some other persons; his father he could not win. While in Illyricum he took sides against the Arians with so much zeal that he was publicly scourged and forced to leave. Back in Italy once more, on his way to Gaul, he learned that the Gallic Church was also under attack by the Arians, and that his good friend Hilary had been banished. He remained at Milan, but soon the Arian bishop, Auxentius, drove him away. Martin took refuge with a priest on the island of Gallinaria, in the gulf of Genoa, and stayed there until Hilary returned to Poitiers in 360. It had become Martin's desire to pursue his religious calling in solitude, and Hilary gave him a small piece of land in central France, now called Liguge. He was joined by other hermits and holy men, and the community grew into a monastery, the first, it is said, to be founded in Gaul. It survived until 1607; in 1852 it was rebuilt by the Benedictines of Solesmes.
For ten years Martin lived there, directing the life of his disciples and preaching in outlying places. Many miracles were attributed to him. About the year 371, Lidorius, bishop of Tours, died, and the people demanded Martin in his place. Martin was so reluctant to accept the office that they resorted to stratagem and called him to the city to give his blessing to a sick person, then forcibly conveyed him to the church. When neighboring bishops were summoned to confirm this choice, they thought the monk's poor and unkempt appearance proved him unfit for the office, but they were overruled by the acclamations of the local clergy and the people. Even as a bishop, Martin lived an austere life. Unable to endure the constant interruptions, he retired from Tours to a retreat that was later to become the famous abbey of Marmoutier. The site was enclosed by a steep cliff on one side and by a tributary of the Loire River on the other. Here Martin and some of the monks who followed him built cells of wood; others lived in caves dug out of the rock. In a short time their number grew, with many men of high rank among them. From this time on bishops were frequently chosen from Marmoutier, for the holy Martin took the greatest pains in the training of priests.
Martin's piety and preaching resulted in the decline of paganism in that part of Gaul. He destroyed temples and felled trees which the heathen held sacred. Once when he had demolished a certain temple, he proceeded to the cutting down of a pine tree that stood near. The chief priest and other pagans there offered to cut it down themselves, on condition that he who trusted so strongly in his God would stand under it wherever they would place him. The bishop agreed and allowed himself to be tied and placed on the side towards which the tree was leaning. Just as it seemed about to fall on him, he made the sign of the cross, at which the tree fell in the other direction. Another time, as he was pulling down a temple in the vicinity of Autun, a crowd of pagans fell on him in fury, one brandishing a sword. Martin stood and bared his breast, at sight of which the armed man fell backwards, and in terror begged forgiveness. These marvels are narrated by Sulpicius Severus, who also describes various revelations and visions with which Martin was favored.
Once a year the bishop visited each of his parishes, traveling on foot, or by donkey or boat. He continued to set up monastic communities, and extended the bounds of his episcopate from Touraine to such distant points as Chartres, Paris, Autun, and Vienne. At Vienne, according to his biographer, he cured Paulinus of Nola of a disease of the eyes. When a brutal imperial officer, Avitianus, arrived at Tours with a band of prisoners he planned to torture to death on the following day, Martin, on being informed of this, hurried in from Marmoutier to intercede for them. Reaching the city near midnight, he went straight to the quarters of Avitianus and did not leave until the officer promised mercy to his captives.
The churches of other parts of Gaul and in Spain were being disturbed by the Priscillianists, an ascetic sect, named for its leader, Priscillian, bishop of Avila. A synod held at Bordeaux in 384 had condemned his doctrines, but he had appealed to Emperor Maximus. Meanwhile, Ithacius, the orthodox bishop of Ossanova, had attacked him and urged the emperor to have him put to death. Neither Ambrose at Milan, however, nor Martin at Tours would hold communion with Ithacius or his supporters, because they had appealed to the emperor in a dispute over doctrine, and now were trying to punish a heretic with death. Martin wrote to reprove Ithacius severely. It was sufficient, he said, that Priscillian should be branded as a heretic and excommunicated by the bishops. Maximus, yielding to Martin's remonstrances, ordered the trial deferred and even promised that there should be no bloodshed, but afterwards he was persuaded to turn the case over to his prefect Evodius. He found Priscillian and some others guilty on several charges and had them beheaded. At this news, Martin went to Treves to intercede for the lives of all the Spanish Priscillianists who were threatened with a bloody persecution, and also for two men under suspicion as adherents of the late Emperor Gratian. As a condition before granting this request, Maximus stipulated that Martin should resume communion with the intolerant Ithacius and his party. Since they were not excommunicated, this was no violation of any canon, and he accordingly promised the emperor that he would do so, provided the emperor would pardon the two partisans of Gratian and recall the military tribunes he had sent to Spain. The next day Martin received the Sacrament with the Ithacians in order to save so many people from slaughter; yet he was afterwards troubled in conscience as to whether he had been too yielding. For their part in the affair both the emperor and Ithacius were censured by Pope Siricius. It was the first judicial death sentence for heresy, and it had the effect of spreading Priscillianism in Spain.
Martin had premonitions of his approaching death and predicted it to his disciples, who besought him not to leave them. "Lord," he prayed, "if Thy people still need me, I will not draw back from the work. Thy will be done." When his final sickness came upon him, he was at Candes, in a remote part of his diocese. The monks entreated him to allow them at least to put a sheet under him and make his last hours comfortable. "It becomes not a Christian," said Martin, "to die otherwise than upon ashes. I shall have sinned if I leave you any other example." He lay with eyes and hands raised to Heaven, until the brothers begged him to turn on one side to rest his body a little. "Allow me, my brethren," he answered, "to look towards Heaven rather than to earth, that my soul may be ready to take its flight to the Lord."
On November 8 he died, and three days later was buried at Tours. Two thousand monks and nuns gathered for his funeral. His successor built a chapel over his grave, which was replaced by a fine basilica. A still later church on this site was destroyed during the French Revolution, but a modern one has since been built there. Throughout the Middle Ages, the knightly Martin, who shared his cloak with a beggar, was the subject of innumerable anecdotes, which expressed the love and veneration of the people. His tomb became a national shrine in France, of which country he is patron saint, and one of the most popular pilgrimage places of Europe. St. Martin is patron of the cities of Wurtburg and Buenos Aires. Many churches in France and elsewhere have been dedicated to him. His emblems are a tree, armor, a cloak, and a beggar.


Breaking News Extremists kill 48 Youth at High School in Nigeria - Suicide Bomb Attack - Please PRAY

Photo: M. Hofer/UNESCO
file photo:

Death toll from the blast at Government Science Secondary School, Potiskum in Yobe State this morning has risen to 48, witnesses and hospital sources said.
A teacher from the school had earlier told Daily Trust he counted 30 dead bodies. Seventy-nine were injured in the attack which targeted students of the school when they gathered for the morning assembly.
"About 15 students, whose bodies were disfigured but still bleeding at the scene of the explosion died on the way to the General Hospital, Potiskum, ," Ahmed Yunus, a volunteer from Potiskum, who rushed to the scene of the explosion said.
"Some died shortly on arriving at the hospital," he said.
Kulu Mustapha, a woman that lives not far from the school said she saw some vehicles heading towards Federal Medical Centre in Azare, Bauchi State with some of the victims that sustained severe injuries.
"The suicide bomber disguised as a student because he wore the same uniform being used by students of the school. This gave him the ease to get much closer to the assembly ground where he carried out the nefarious act," she said.
"It was a gory scene because some of the innocent students have been decapitated by the explosion, what you only see is body parts and tattered uniforms," she said.
The Yobe state commissioner of Police Markus Danladi confirmed the incident to Daily Trust in a telephone chat. He said he was on his way to the scene of the blast. He could not confirm the number of casualties.
A medical personnel at the Potiskum General Hospital said there was shortage of blood at the hospital which is needed to save the lives of the injured.
"We hope well-meaning people would come to assist with blood. Some of the victims lost a lot of blood and may die if nothing urgent is done," he said.
Meanwhile, angry youth in Potiskum have reportedly denied soldiers and other security operatives from getting access to the school where the bomb occurred.
"We chased them (security operatives) away because the worst has happened and we feel they would not do anything to reverse the sad incident. The students have died and therefore we don't want them at the scene," one of the protesters said.
Sources said the angry mob pelted the security operatives with stones, chanting, "Bama so, Bama so" meaning "We don't want you."
Only last week, a suicide bomber killed more than 20 members of the Shiite sect in Potiskum during their religious procession, injuring many more.
Shared from All Africa

Pope Francis "We have to forgive, because we have been forgiven."


Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
10/11/


(Vatican Radio) Every Christian, whatever his or her vocation, must be able to always forgive and never cause scandal, because "scandal destroys the faith", said Pope Francis at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta.
The Pope was commenting on the Gospel of the Day in which Christ says to the Apostles “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin”.  Pope Francis said that Jesus chose to be blunt rather than polite to get the message through to the Apostles.
The Pope then divided his homily into three key words: scandal, forgiveness, faith. "Woe to those who scandalize," says Christ, while in the passage from his letter to Titus, St. Paul gives precise directions on how a priest should conduct his life – he should not be violent, but sober - in a word "irreprehensible", the antithesis of the scandal.
Pope Francis continued that this is also the case for every Christian. Scandal, he adds, "is to proclaim and profess a way of life - 'I am a Christian' - and then live like a pagan, who does not believe in anything". This gives scandal "because there is no witness," while "the faith is professed - Pope Francis reiterated – by the way you live your life”.
"When a Christian man or a Christian woman, who goes to church, is part of the parish, does not live in this way, they cause scandal. How often have we heard men and women say: ' I do not go to church because it is better to be honest at home and not go to church like that man or woman who then do this, this, this ...'. Scandal destroys, it destroys the faith! And that is why Jesus is so strong: 'Beware! Watch out! '. It would do us good to repeat this today: ‘Be on your guard!'. All of us are capable of causing scandal".
Instead, said Pope Francis, we should all know how to forgive, and forgive “forever” as Jesus invites us to do "seven times in a day" if those who have wronged us ask for it and have repented. Jesus, says Pope Francis, "exaggerates to make us understand the importance of forgiveness" because "a Christian who is not able to forgive causes scandal: he is not a Christian".
"We have to forgive, because we have been forgiven. This is in the Lord's Prayer, Jesus taught us about it there. Human logic is incapable of fathoming this. Human logic leads us not to forgive, to seek revenge; it leads to hate, division. How many families have broken up because unable to forgive, how many families! Children separated from their parents, husbands and wives who have grown distant form each other ... It is so important to think about this: If I do not forgive I don't, it appears, have the right to be forgiven and I do not understand what it means that God has forgiven me. This is the second word, forgiveness".
So we understand, said Pope Francis, "why when the disciples heard this, they said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith'".
"Without faith you cannot live without scandal and always forgiving. Only the light of faith, the faith that we have received: the faith of a merciful Father, a Son who gave His life for us, a Spirit that is within us and helps us grow, faith in the Church, faith in the people of God, baptized and holy. And this is a gift, faith is a gift. No one with books, going to conferences, can have faith. Faith is a gift of God that comes to you and this why the Apostles asked Jesus, 'Increase our faith!' ".

(Emer McCarthy)

Pope Francis the Church must engage in constructive dialogue with Moslems...

Pope Francis, this morning, received in audience the Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, on the occasion of their "ad limina" visit - AFP
10/11/
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis, this morning, received in audience the Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, on the occasion of their "ad limina" visit. The Holy Father pointed out that in these African countries often Christians are a minority and yet offer a generous and courageous witness to the Gospel. He urged the Bishops to work for a constructive dialogue with Moslems
When Pope Francis met the Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, he said the visit was an opportunity for him and for the Bishops to strengthen the bonds of love between the particular Churches and the Church of Rome. This is contained in a speech that the Pope handed out to the Bishops at the end of the visit.
In the speech, Pope Francis quotes from his Apostolic Exhortation known as “Evangelii Gaudium” (Number 259) and encourages the Bishops to continue to support each other in ministry as Spirit-filled evangelizers because the  Holy Spirit would also continue to unite and grant them the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness in every time and place. Pope Francis, however, told the Bishops that he understood the complexities of their regional conference in terms of language, geography, culture and history.
The Holy Father also spoke of the need for the laity, in the dioceses, to receive a solid doctrinal and spiritual formation if they are to bear witness to Christ in the environment of their communities. The Gospel must imbue society with the principles of the Gospel. Faith should not be marginalized in public life.
Pope Francis  also turns to the issue of the Family ministry - as highlighted in the recent Synod of Bishops. He advised the Bishops to continue paying attention to Family ministry because the family is the basic cell of society and the Church. It is in the family that the basics of the faith are taught.
With regard to priestly formation, Pope Francis told the Bishops, “Priestly formation is decisive for the future. Your countries experience very different situations, but the primacy of quality above quantity should always be important. I invite you to be close to your priests, especially those who are young, to ensure that after their ordination they continue with their formation, persevere in their life of prayer and are able to count on a spiritual guide. The Holy Father said.
Lastly, the Holy Father, told the Bishops that while the Moslems are a strong majority, the Church must engage in constructive dialogue with Moslems.  “More generally, it seems to me that it is important not to hesitate to occupy space that is essentially yours in civil society. I know that you work tirelessly for peace and reconciliation, especially in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. I am happy about this. Maintain good relations with the political authorities in order to promote the official acknowledgement of Church structures. This will be useful in facilitating the work of evangelisation. Some of you, such as the Bishops of Cape Verde, already benefit from the existence of a framework agreement between the state of Cape Verde and the Holy See. Even where the Church is in a minority or is completely at the margins of civil life, she is appreciated and recognised for her important contribution in the fields of human development, healthcare and education. Shared from Radio Vaticana

Today's Mass Readings : Monday November 9, 2014


Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 491

Reading 1TI 1:1-9

Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God’s chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you,
on condition that a man be blameless,
married only once, with believing children
who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious.
For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless, not arrogant,
not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive,
not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness,
temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled,
holding fast to the true message as taught
so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine
and to refute opponents.

Responsorial Psalm PS 24:1B-2, 3-4AB, 5-6

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Gospel LK 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’
you should forgive him.”

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”