Friday, November 25, 2016

Saint November 26 : St. John Berchmans : Patron of #Altar Servers and Young People

Canonized: 1888 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine: Sant'Ignazio
Patron of: altar boys, Oblate novices, young people
Born at Diest in Brabant, 13 March, 1599; died at Rome, 13 August, 1621. His parents watched with the greatest solicitude over the formation of his character. He was naturally kind, gentle, and affectionate towards them, a favourite with his playmates, brave and open, attractive in manner, and with a bright, joyful disposition. Yet he was also, by natural disposition, impetuous and fickle. Still, when John was but seven years of age, M. Emmerick, his parish priest, already remarked with pleasure that the Lord would work wonders in the soul of the child. Many are the details that reveal him to us as he was in the Society of Jesus. He was but nine years of old when his mother was stricken with a long and serious illness. John would pass several hours each day by her bedside, and console her with his affectionate though serious, words. Later, when he lived with some other boys at M. Emmerick's house, he would undertake more than his share of the domestic work, selecting by preference the more difficult occupations. If he was loved by his comrades, he repaid their affection by his kindness, without, however, deviating from the dictates of his conscience. It was noticed even that he availed himself discreetly of his influence over them to correct their negligences and to restrain their frivolous conversation. Eager to learn, and naturally endowed with a bright intellect and a retentive memory, he enhanced the effect of these gifts by devoting to study whatever time he could legitimately take from his ordinary recreation. What, however, distinguished him most from his companions was his piety. When he was hardly seven years old, he was accustomed to rise early and serve two or three Masses with the greatest fervour. He attended religious instructions and listened to Sunday sermons with the deepest recollection, and made pilgrimages to the sanctuary of Montaigu, a few miles from Diest, reciting the rosary as he went, or absorbed in meditation. As soon as he entered the Jesuit college at Mechlin, he was enrolled in the Society of the Blessed Virgin, and made a resolution to recite her Office daily. He would, moreover, ask the director of the sodality every month to prescribe for him some special acts of devotion to Mary. On Fridays, at nightfall, he would go out barefooted and make the Stations of the Cross in the town. Such fervent, filial piety won for him the grace of a religious vocation. Towards the end of his rhetoric course, he felt a distinct call to the Society of Jesus. His family was decidedly opposed to this, and on 24 September, 1616, he was received into the novitiate at Mechlin. After two years passed in Mechlin he made his simple vows, and was sent to Antwerp to begin the study of philosophy. Remaining there only a few weeks, he set out for Rome, where he was to continue the same study. After the journeying three hundred leagues on foot, carrying a wallet on his back, he arrived at the Roman College, he studied for two years and passed on to the third year class in philosophy in the year 1621. One day early in August of that same year he was selected by the prefect of studies to take part in a philosophical disputation at the Greek College, at that time under the charge of the Dominicans. He opened the discussion with great perspicuity and erudition, but, on returning to his own college, he was seized with a violent fever of which he died, on 13 August, at the age of twenty-two years and five months.
During the second part of his life, John offered the type of the saint who performs ordinary actions with extraordinary perfection. In his purity, obedience, and admirable charity he resembled many religious, but he surpassed them all by his intense love for the rules of his order. The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus lead those who observe them exactly to the highest degree of sanctity, as has been declared by Pope Julius III and his successors. The attainment of that ideal was what John proposed to himself. "If I do not become a saint when I am young", he used to say "I shall never become one". That is why he displayed such wisdom in conforming his will to that of his superiors and to the rules. He would have preferred death to the violation of the least of the rules of his order. "My penance", he would say, "is to live the common life... I will pay the greatest attention to the least inspiration of God." He observed this fidelity in the performance of all his duties till the last day of his life, as is attested by Fathers Bauters, Cepari, Ceccoti, Massucci, and Piccolomini, his spiritual directors. When he died, a large multitude crowded for several days to see him and to invoke his intercession. The same year, Phillip, Duke of Aerschot, had a petition presented to Pope Gregory XV for the taking of information with a view to his beatification. John Berchmans was declared Blessed in 1865, and was canonized in 1888. His statues represent him with hands clasped, holding his crucifix, his book of rules, and his rosary.
Text from the Catholic Encyclopedia

#BreakingNews Attack at Catholic Mission house in France leaves 1 Dead - Please Pray

An attack on a retirement home for missionaries that left one woman dead in southern France is not linked to terrorism, French public prosecutor Christophe Barret said on Friday. The suspect has been identified but remains at large. A hooded man wielding a knife murdered a woman at a retirement home for missionaries in southern France on Thursday triggering a manhunt, with the country still on edge following a string of jihadist attacks. The man, brandishing a sawn-off shotgun and a knife, tied up and killed the woman who worked at the home in the village of Montferrier-sur-Lez near the city of Montpellier, a prosecutor said. Armed police searched the building but believe the man fled, sources close to the police operation said, and a large-scale police operation was under way to find the unidentified attacker. "For the time being, there is only one victim," Montpellier prosecutor Christophe Barret told AFP. "For the moment there is no particular evidence about the motive for this crime." "Nothing is pointing towards the motive" of the killer, he added. The man was not known to authorities. The secretary general of the French Bishops' Conference, Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, said in a Twitter message: "Our prayers tonight go to the woman who lost her life in this attack on a retirement home." France is under a state of emergency that gives security forces enhanced powers of surveillance and arrest. Earlier this year two jihadists in their 20s claiming to be IS followers slit the throat of 84-year-old priest Jacques Hamel at a church near the northern city of Rouen.
(Edited from France 24)

#Novena to St. Catherine of Alexandria - SHARE #Prayer to #Patron of #Philosophers, Nurses, Librarians

Recite for 9 Days:
Say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be, each day of the Novena
(1 of the 14 Holy Helpers)
Patron of:
Aalsum, apologists, craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters, spinners, etc.), archivists, dying people, educators, girls, jurists, knife sharpeners, lawyers, librarians, libraries, maidens, mechanics, millers, nurses, philosophers, preachers, scholars, schoolchildren, scribes, secretaries, spinsters, stenographers, students, tanners, teachers, theologians, University of Paris, unmarried girls, haberdashers, wheelwrights
Preparatory Prayer

ALMIGHTY and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy Heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy Divine Son.
Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.
Prayer in Honor of St. Catherine
O GOD, Who didst distinguish Thy holy Virgin and Martyr Catherine by the gift of great wisdom and virtue, and a victorious combat with the enemies of the Faith; grant us, we beseech Thee, through her intercession, constancy in the Faith and the wisdom of the Saints, that we may devote all the powers of our mind and heart to Thy service. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Invocation of St. Catherine
ST. CATHERINE, glorious Virgin and Martyr, resplendent in the luster of wisdom and purity; thy wisdom refuted the adversaries of Divine truth and covered them with confusion; thy immaculate purity made thee a spouse of Christ, so that after thy glorious Martyrdom Angels carried thy body to Mount Sinai. Implore for me progress in the science of the Saints and the virtue of holy purity, that vanquishing the enemies of my soul, I may be victorious in my last combat and after death be conducted by the angels into the eternal beatitude of Heaven. Amen.
Prayer
My Lord and God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena. Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen. SOURCE:
THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS, Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, O.F.M. TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, 1995; with Imprimatur, Imprimi Potest and Nihil Obstat.

#PopeFrancis "Eternal damnation is continually distancing oneself from God." #Homily

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said eternal damnation is not a torture chamber but distance from God and warned Christians never to converse with the devil, calling him a seducer who ruins lives. His words came during his Mass celebrated on Friday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.
Continuing his reflections on the end of the world, the Pope’s homily focused on the day’s reading from the Book of Revelation that describes how the angel seizes the serpent, chains it up and throws it into the abyss which is then locked and sealed. He said the serpent or devil is thrown into the abyss “so that it would no longer lead the nations astray” because it is the seducer.
“He is a liar and what’s more is the father of lies, he generates lies and is a trickster. He makes you believe that if you eat this apple you will be like a God. He sells it to you like this and you buy it and in the end he tricks you, deceives you and ruins your life. ‘But father, what can we do to avoid being deceived by the devil?’ Jesus teaches us: never converse with the devil. One does not converse with him. What did Jesus do with the devil?  He chased him away, he asked his name but did not hold a dialogue with him.”
Pope Francis went on to explain how when Jesus was in the wilderness he defended himself when replying to the devil by using the Word of God and the Word of the Bible. Therefore, he said, we must never converse with this liar and trickster who seeks our ruin and who for this reason will be thrown into the abyss.
The Pope noted that the reading from Revelation describes how the Lord will judge the great and the lowly “according to their deeds” with the damned being thrown into the pool of fire and he said this is the “second death.”
“Eternal damnation is not a torture chamber. That’s a description of this second death: it is a death. And those who will not be received in the Kingdom of God, it's because they have not drawn close to the Lord. These are the people who journeyed along their own path, distancing themselves from the Lord and passing in front of the Lord but then choosing to walk away from Him. Eternal damnation is continually distancing oneself from God. It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God.”
Pope Francis said distancing oneself from God who gives happiness and who loves us so much is the “fire” and the road to eternal damnation. Noting how the final image in the reading from Revelation ends with a vision of hope the Pope concluded his homily by saying if we open up our hearts with humility we too will have joy and salvation and will be forgiven by Jesus.
“Hope is what opens our hearts to the encounter with Jesus. This is what awaits us: the encounter with Jesus. It’s beautiful, very beautiful. And He asks us only to be humble and say ‘Lord.’ It’s enough to say that word and He will do the rest.”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Fri. November 25, 2016


Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 507


Reading 1RV 20:1-4, 11—21:2

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven,
holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain.
He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent,
which is the Devil or Satan,
and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss,
which he locked over it and sealed,
so that it could no longer lead the nations astray
until the thousand years are completed.
After this, it is to be released for a short time.

Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment.
I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God,
and who had not worshiped the beast or its image
nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands.
They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it.
The earth and the sky fled from his presence
and there was no place for them.
I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne,
and scrolls were opened.
Then another scroll was opened, the book of life.
The dead were judged according to their deeds,
by what was written in the scrolls.
The sea gave up its dead;
then Death and Hades gave up their dead.
All the dead were judged according to their deeds.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire.
(This pool of fire is the second death.)
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life
was thrown into the pool of fire.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Responsorial PsalmPS 84:3, 4, 5-6A AND 8A

R. (Rev. 21:3b) Here God lives among his people.
My soul yearns and pines
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God.
R. Here God lives among his people.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. Here God lives among his people.
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
R. Here God lives among his people.

AlleluiaLK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable.
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
in the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.”