Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saint November 21 : The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast: November 21
Information:
Feast Day:
November 21

Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to the divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some amongst the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the temple, to be lodged in apartments belonging to the temple, and brought up in attending the priests and Levites in the sacred ministry. It is an ancient tradition, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was thus solemnly offered to God in the temple in her infancy. This festival of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, or, as it is often called by the Greeks, the entrance of the Blessed Virgin into the Temple, is mentioned in the most ancient Greek Menologies extant.
By the consecration which the Blessed Virgin made of herself to God in the first use which she made of her reason, we are admonished of the most important and strict obligation which all persons lie under, of an early dedication of themselves to the divine love and service. It is agreed amongst all masters of Christian morality, that everyone is bound in the first moral instant of the use of reason to convert his heart to God by love; and if divine faith be then duly proposed to him (which is the case of Christian children) by a supernatural assent to it, he is bound then to make an act of faith; also an act of hope in God as a supernatural rewarder and helper, and an act of divine charity. Who can be secure that in the very moment in which he entered into his moral life and was capable of living to God, did not stain his innocence by a capital omission of this duty? How diligent and solicitous are parents bound to be in instructing their children in the first fundamental mysteries of faith, and in the duty of prayer, and in impressing upon their tender minds a sense of spiritual things in a manner in which their age may be capable of receiving it. These first fruits of the heart are a sacrifice of which God is infinitely jealous, an emblem of which were all the sacrifices of first fruits prescribed in the old law, in token that he is our beginning and last end. Such a heart, adorned with the baptismal grace of innocence, has particular charms. Grace recovered by penance is not like that of innocence which has never been defiled; nor is it the same happiness for a soul to return to God from the slavery of sin, as for one to give him her first affections, and to open her understanding and will to his love before the world has found any entrance there. The tender soul of Mary was then adorned with the most precious graces, an object of astonishment and praise to the angels, and of the highest complacence to the adorable Trinity, the Father looking upon her as his beloved daughter, the Son, as one chosen and prepared to become his mother, and the Holy Ghost as his darling spouse.
Her first presentation to God, made by the hands of her parents and by her own devotion, was then an offering most acceptable in his sight. Let our consecration of ourselves to God be made under her patronage, and assisted by her powerful intercession and the union of her merits. If we have reason to fear that we criminally neglected this duty at the first dawning of our reason, or, if we have since been unfaithful to our sacred baptismal engagements, such is the mercy and goodness of our gracious God, that he disdains not our late offerings. But that these may be accepted by him, we must first prepare the present he requires of us, that is, our hearts. They must be washed and cleansed in the sacred laver of Christ's adorable blood, by means of sincere compunction and penance; and all inordinate affections must be pared away by our perfectly renouncing in spirit, honours, riches, and pleasures, and being perfectly disengaged from creatures, and ready to do and suffer all for God, that we may be entirely his, and that neither the world nor pride, nor any irregular passion may have any place in us. What secret affections to this or that creature lurk in our souls, which hinder us from being altogether his, unless they are perfectly cut off or reformed! This Mary did by spending her youth in holy retirement, at a distance from the commerce and corruption of the world, and by the most assiduous application to all the duties and exercises of a religious and interior life. Mary was the first who set up the standard of virginity; and, by consecrating it by a perpetual vow to our Lord, she opened the way to all virgins who have since followed her example. They, in particular, ought to take her for their special patroness, and, as her life was the most perfect model of their state, they ought always to have her example before their eyes, and imitate her in prayer, humility, modesty, silence, and retirement.
Mary lived retired until she was introduced into the world and espoused to St. Joseph. Some think her espousals were at first only a promise or betrothing: but the ends assigned by the fathers, seem rather to show them to have been a marriage. These are summed up by St. Jerome as follows: that by the pedigree of Joseph, the descent of Mary from the tribe of Juda, might be demonstrated; that she might not be stoned by the Jews as an adulteress; that, fleeing into Egypt, she might have the comfort and protection of a spouse. A fourth reason, says St. Jerome, is added by the martyr Ignatius: that the birth of the Son of God might be concealed from the devil. The words of that apostolic father are: "Three mysteries wrought by God in silence were concealed from the prince of this world. the virginity of Mary, the bringing forth of her Son, and the death of the Lord." Not that God could fear any impediment to his designs from the devil; but he was pleased to effect these mysteries in silence and without worldly show and noise, that pride and hell might, by his all-wise and sweet providence, be more meetly triumphed over, whilst the devil himself hastened his own overthrow by concurring to the mystery of the cross. From the marriage of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, St. Austin shows that marriage requires no more than the mutual consent of the will between parties who lie under no impediment or inability to an indissoluble individual society of life. In this holy marriage we admire the incomparable chastity of Mary and Joseph; and the sanctity and honour, as well as the patronage and example, which that holy state receives from this mystery. In certain particular churches the espousals of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are honoured with an office on the 23rd of January.

#ViralVideo of "Mary, Did You Know?” by #Pentatonix Beautiful Christmas Music - over 6 million views

Pentatonix released its latest music video last week. “Mary, Did You Know?”  Mark Lowry wrote the words in 1984 when his pastor asked him to write the program for the living Christmas tree choir presentation. The music was written by Buddy Greene. YouTube users have approvad of the video, with  “This gave me goosebumps! Absolutely beautiful rendition of this classic song,” Erin Lee wrote. “ Even those who wouldn’t normally listen to spiritual songs confessed to feeling the power of the performance. “I’m not one to normally be drawn to religious-based things, but, wow, this song had a certain magnanimity to it,” Austin Minx posted. It has gone viral with over 6 million views...

Free Catholic Movie : "Joseph of Nazareth" about #StJoseph stars Tobias Moretti

Joseph of Nazareth (2000) "Gli amici di Gesù - Giuseppe di Nazareth" (original title) TV Movie - 90 min - Drama - 29 April 2001 (USA) The people of Jerusalem are suffering under the reign of HEROD, and are hoping to be delivered from the Roman occupiers by the Messiah whose arrival, it is rumored, is to take place very soon. The 35-year-old widower is not interested in participating in any fighting against the Romans. Joseph gets a visit from JOACHIM and ANNA, asking him to marry their unprotected 14-year-old daughter MARY. Joseph agrees, but promises to preserve her chastity. Nevertheless, one day Mary tells him, in Anna's presence, that she is pregnant. Believing in this immaculate conception is very difficult for Joseph, as is the message that her son JESUS will end the reign of Herod, which is announced to him in a vision. Their son is born in a Bethlehem cattle shed and heralded as the new Messiah by the Three Magi. King Herod also finds out about the rumor, and decides to kill all of Bethlehem's firstborn. Joseph and Mary escape to Egypt.
Directors: Raffaele Mertes, Elisabetta Marchetti Writers: Gareth Jones, Gianmario Pagano (story) Stars: Tobias Moretti, Stefania Rivi, Massimo Reale |

Pope Francis "Jesus weeps” - “weeps over His Church, over us today” #Vatican

(Vatican Radio) Jesus weeps today when the doors of our hearts, those of the pastors of the Church, are closed to His surprises not recognizing the One who brings peace said Pope Francis at Mass Thursday morning in Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the Gospel of the Day, Pope Francis said Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because its people did not recognize the One who brings peace. He said the Lord weeps because of the “closure of heart" of His "chosen city, His chosen people. They had no time to open the door. They were too busy, too self-satisfied. And He continues to knock on doors as he knocked on the door of the heart of Jerusalem, at the gates of His brothers, His sisters; on our doors, the doors of our hearts, the doors of the Church.
 The people of Jerusalem were content with their way of life and did not need the Lord: they failed to realize that they needed salvation. This is why they had closed their heart before the Lord". "Jesus weeps” over Jerusalem - said the Pope – the same as He “weeps over His Church, over us today” "Why did Jerusalem not welcome the Lord? Because [the people] were content with what they had, and did not want any problems. But - as the Lord says in the Gospel - 'if you only knew, on this day, what brings you peace. You did not recognize the time of your visitation '. The city was afraid to be visited by the Lord; afraid of the gratuity of the Lord’s visit. The city felt safe in the knowledge of what it could handle. We all feel safe in the things that we can handle ... But the visit of the Lord, its surprises, those we cannot handle". And Pope Francis added: "Jerusalem was afraid of this: of being saved by the surprises of the Lord. The [people] were afraid of the Lord, their Bridegroom, their Beloved. And so Jesus wept. When God visits His people, He brings joy, He leads us to conversion. We all fear happiness – that joy that the Lord brings, because we cannot control it. We are afraid of conversion because conversion means allowing the Lord to lead us". "Jerusalem was content, happy - the Pope said - its temple worked.
The priests made sacrifices, people came on pilgrimage, the teachers of the law had arranged everything, everything! Everything was clear! All the commandments were clear ... And with all of this Jerusalem had closed the door". The Cross, which was the "price of that refusal" - the Pope noted -, shows us the love of Jesus and what leads Him to "weep today - often - for His Church”. "I ask myself: today we Christians who know the faith, the catechism, who go to Mass every Sunday, we Christians, we pastors are we content with ourselves? Because we have organized everything and do not need new visits from the Lord ... And the Lord continues to knock on the door of each one of us and of His Church, the pastors of the Church. Yes, the door of our hearts, of the heart of the Church, of her pastors will not open: and the Lord weeps, even today". The Pope also urged people to examine their conscience, "Let us reflect on ourselves, as we are right now before God". (Emer McCarthy)

Today's Mass Readings : Thursday November 20, 2014

Thursday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 500


Reading 1RV 5:1-10

I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne.
It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals.
Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice,
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth
was able to open the scroll or to examine it.
I shed many tears because no one was found worthy
to open the scroll or to examine it.
One of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.
The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed,
enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.”

Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne
and the four living creatures and the elders
a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.
He had seven horns and seven eyes;
these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world.
He came and received the scroll from the right hand
of the one who sat on the throne.
When he took it,
the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders
fell down before the Lamb.
Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense,
which are the prayers of the holy ones.
They sang a new hymn:

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll
and break open its seals,
for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God
those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation.
You made them a kingdom and priests for our God,
and they will reign on earth.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B

R. (Rev. 5:10) The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel LK 19:41-44

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your children within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

Pope Francis “while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner..." Text/Video

Pope Francis speaks at nutrition conference at FAO Hq - AFP
20/11/2014 01:
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis travelled to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation Headquarters in Rome on Thursday, to give an address to the Second International Conference on Nutrition taking place there this week. In his speech the Pope said, that while people speak about new rights, those who are hungry ask to be recognized as citizens with dignity.In 1992 St Pope John Paul II came to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation Headquarters in Rome for the First Conference on Nutrition. Twenty two years later Pope Francis was in the same hall addressing participants who included the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, and the Director General of the (FAO), Professor José Graziano da Silva on the occasion of the Second International Conference.
The Holy Father recalled Pope John Paul II’s words back then when he warned the international community against the risk of the “paradox of plenty”, in which there is food for everyone, but not everyone can eat, while waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes is visible before our very eyes. Unfortunately, said Pope Francis to those gathered, “this “paradox” remains relevant.”
Speaking in Spanish, the Pope praised the work of this second conference which aims to study the forms of intervention necessary in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, as well as the changes that must be made to existing strategies. The Holy Father also noted the work the Church is doing on behalf of the poor and needy.
In the four point address Pope Francis made particular reference to what he called ““market priorities”, the “primacy of profit”, which he said were a hindrance to the struggle against hunger and malnutrition.
He also spoke about the issue of rights saying that “while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, and ask to be recognised as citizens, to receive a healthy diet. We ask for dignity, not for charity, he said.
He continued on this theme stressing that “development plans and the work of international organisations must take into consideration the wish, so frequent among ordinary people, for respect for fundamental human rights and, in this case, the rights of the hungry.”
The Holy Father called on states and international institutions to refer to the language of the human heart, and nurture the values of, justice, peace, solidarity and love, in a spirit of dialogue and mutual listening.
Before departing from the “Caribbean” Hall to greet FAO staff members and express his gratitude for their work, the Pope left those listening to his address with this phrase from I old man he met many years ago who said to him "God always forgives, insults, and abuses; God always forgives. The earth will never forgive. Protect the Mother earth said Pope Francis, so that it does not meet with destruction.