Thursday, January 12, 2017

#PopeFrancis “‘Today’ is played out in our hearts. Are our hearts opened to the Lord?" #Homily

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. In remarks to the faithful following the readings of the day, the Holy Father reflected on the unique and unrepeatable opportunities each day offers to  grow in faith and love of God.
The day in which we have received God's love
Pope Francis took as the focal point of his reflections the text from Psalm 95, which the author of the Letter to the Hebrews took up in the 3rd chapter, a portion of which was read at Mass. There is “only one ‘today’, in our lives,” – only one real, concrete today. Our temptation and everyone’s temptation is to say: “Yes, I will do tomorrow,” though this is the temptation of a “‘tomorrow’ there will not be,” as Jesus says in the parable of the ten virgins – the five foolish ones who had not taken oil with them along with their lamps, then find the door locked when they go to buy it. Francis also referred to the parable of the man who knocks on the door saying to the Lord, “I ate with you, I was with you,” and hear him respond, “I do not know you, you came late.”:
“I say this not to scare you, but simply to say that our life is today: now or never. I think of this: tomorrow will be the eternal tomorrow that never sets, with the Lord forever – if I am true to this day; and the question that I put to you is the same the Holy Spirit is putting to all of us, i.e. ‘How ought I to live, this day?”
Let our hearts be open to the Lord
The second word that is repeated in the Reading is “heart”. For with the heart “we meet the Lord” and many times Jesus rebukes people saying they are “slow of heart”, late to understand. The call is therefore not to harden the heart and to wonder whether it is not “without faith” or “deceived by sin”:
“‘Today’ is played out in our hearts. Are our hearts opened to the Lord? To me it always strikes me when I find an older person – often priests or nuns – who tell me, ‘Father, pray for my final perseverance’ – ‘But, you did well all your life long, all the days of your ‘today’ are in the service of the Lord, and still you are afraid?’ ‘No, no, my life has not yet waned: I want to live it fully, I pray that the day arrives full, full, with a heart strong in faith, and not ruined by sin, vices, corruption.’”
To ask about our day and our hearts
Pope Francis went on to urge the faithful present – and all of us – to question ourselves about our own time and our own heart. Today is “full of days” but “we will not repeat” any one of them. Days go by until the Lord says “enough”:
“Today does not repeat itself: this is life. –and  the heart, the open heart, open to the Lord, not closed, not hard, not hardened, not without faith, not perverted, not deceived by sin. The Lord has met so many of these, who had closed their hearts: the doctors of the law, all these people who persecuted him, put him to the test to convict him – and in the end they managed to do it. We go home with these two words only: how is my ‘today’? The sunset can be today, this day or many days later. But how are you, my today, in the presence of the Lord? And how is my heart? Is it open? Is it firm in the faith? is it led by the Lord? With these two questions we ask the Lord for the grace which each of us needs.”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday January 12, 2017


Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 308


Reading 1HEB 3:7-14

The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
"Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, 'They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.'
As I swore in my wrath,
'They shall not enter into my rest.'"

Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today,"
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Responsorial PsalmPS 95:6-7C, 8-9, 10-11

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Forty years I was wearied of that generation;
I said: "This people's heart goes astray,
they do not know my ways."
Therefore I swore in my anger:
"They shall never enter my rest."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

AlleluiaMT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
"If you wish, you can make me clean."
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
"I do will it. Be made clean."
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, "See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them."
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Saint January 12 : St. Marguerite Bourgeoys : #Foundress : Patron of #poverty, orphans, people rejected by religious orders


FOUNDRESS, SISTERS OF THE CONGREGATION OF NOTRE-DAME
Feast: January 12 (Canada)
Information:
Feast Day:January 12
Born:17 April 1620, Troyes, France
Died:12 January 1700, Montreal,

 Canada
Canonized:31 October 1982, by Pope
John Paul II
Major Shrine:Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours
Chapel, Montreal
Patron:Against poverty, loss of parents, people rejected by religious orders
MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS was born in Troyes, in the province of Champagne (France), on Good Friday, April 17, 1620. She was baptized on the same day in the church of Saint-Jean, a church that was located near her home. Marguerite was the sixth child in a family of twelve. Her parents were Abraham Bourgeoys and Guillemette Gamier, and she was privileged to grow up in a milieu that was middle class and thoroughly Christian.

Marguerite was nineteen years of age when she lost her mother. In the following year, 1640, in the course of a procession held on October 7 in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, she had an unforgettable experience. Her eyes rested on a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and at that moment she felt inspired to withdraw from the world and to consecrate herself to the service of God. She registered, at once, as a member of the extern Congregation of Troyes, an association of young girls devoted to the charitable work of teaching children in the poor districts of the town. While engaged in this apostolate she learned about the foundation of Ville Marie (Montreal) in Canada. The year was 1642, and at that time she sensed a first call to missionary life. This call was rendered concrete in 1652 when she met Monsieur de Maisonneuve, founder and governor of the settlement begun in New France, who was in search of someone who would volunteer her services for the gratuitous instruction of the French and Indian children. Our Lady confirmed the call addressed to her: "Go, I will not forsake you", she said. Thus assured, Marguerite left Troyes in February, 1653, in a spirit of complete detachment. She arrived in Montreal on the following 16th of November, and without delay she set to work to promote the best interests of the colony. She is rightly considered co-foundress of Montreal, with the nurse, Jeanne Mance, and the master designer, Monsieur de Maisonneuve.

In order to encourage the colonists in their faith, she arranged for the restoration of the Cross on Mount Royal after it has been destroyed by hostile Indians, and she undertook the construction of a chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame de Bon Secours. Convinced of the importance of the family in the building of this new country, and perceiving the significance of the role to be exercised by women, she devoted herself to the task of preparing those whose vocation it would be to preside in a home. In 1658, in a stable which had been given to her by the governor for her use, she opened the first school in Montreal. She also organized an extern Congregation, patterned after the one which she had known in Troyes but adapted to the actual needs. In this way, she could respond to the needs of the women and young girls on whom much depended as far as the instruction of children was concerned. In 1659, she began receiving girls who were recommended by "les cures" in France, or endowed by       the King, to come to establish homes in Montreal, and she became a real mother to them. Thus were initiated a school system and a network of social services which gradually extended through the whole country, and which led people to refer to Marguerite as "Mother of the Colony".

On three occasions, Marguerite Bourgeoys made a trip to France to obtain help. As of
1658, the group of teachers who associated themselves       with her in her life of prayer, of heroic poverty, and of untiring devotedness to the service of others, presented the image of a religious institute. The Congregation de Notre-Dame received its civil charter from Louis XIV in 1671, and canonical approbation by decree of the Bishop of Quebec in 1676. The Constitutions of the Community were approved in 1698. The foundation having been assured, Sister Bourgeoys could leave the work to others. She died in Montreal on January 12, 1700, acknowledged for her holiness of life. Her last generous act was to offer herself as a sacrifice of prayer for the return to health of a young Sister. Forty members of the Congregation de Notre-Dame were there to continue her work.

On November 12, 1950 Pope Pius XII beatified Marguerite Bourgeoys. Canonizing her on October 31, 1982, Pope John Paul II gave the Canadian Church its first woman saint.


(Abridged from Vatican News Services)

Saint January 12 : St. Bernard of Corleone : #Religious


Born:
1605, Sicily
Died:
12 January 1667, Palermo
Canonized:
10 June 2001, by Pope John Paul II

Saint Bernard was born on the island of Sicily in the year 1605. His father was a shoemaker and taught his son the ways of the trade. But it was difficult for the lively youth to interest himself in this work. Upon the death of his father, he immediately left the shop and, led by the love of adventure, he took up fencing. It was not long before he became quite adept at wielding the sword. His unusual vigor qualified him to challenge any comer to a contest.
As a youth and young adult he spent the greater part of his time in training and eagerly seized every opportunity to match swords with his countrymen.
Although this manner of life led him far away from God, nevertheless many noble characteristics were perceptible in St. Bernard. In taking up any quarrel he liked to defend old people and other helpless and defenseless persons against violence. He frequently made devout visits to a crucifix that was highly honored by the people, and provided that a lamp be kept burning before it. Moreover, he cherished great devotion towards Saint Francis of Assisi.
At one point, St. Bernard had been challenged to a duel, in the course of which he wounded his opponent mortally. In order to escape from his avengers, he sought refuge amongst the Capuchin Franciscans.
In order to atone for his sins, he begged for admission among the Capuchins as a lay brother, and on December 13, 1632 he entered the Franciscan novitiate. If in the past St. Bernard had yielded his bodily members to wayward purposes, he now used them as an atoning sacrifice unto salvation. It is reported that seven times a day he scourged himself to the blood. His sleep was limited to three hours on a narrow board, with a block of wood under his head. He fasted for the most part on bread and water. If anything delicious was placed before him, he would carry the food to his mouth so as to whet his appetite, and then lay it down without having tasted it. In spite of his austere life, he still undertook the most unpleasant and annoying tasks as being his due.
St. Bernard had an especially ardent devotion at prayer. St. Bernard cherished a special love for the Blessed Mary, and encouraged others to do the same. The Blessed Mother appeared to him and placed the Divine Child in his arms. Moreover, she gave him knowledge of the day of his death four months in advance. He died at Palermo on January 12, 1667.
His biographers stated that, attracted by the fame of his sanctity, there gathered for his burial so many people who raised their voices in praise of the deceased, that it was less a funeral cort├Ęge than a triumphal procession. Numerous miracles occurring at his grave promoted the cause of his beatification by pope Clement XIII in 1767 and subsequent canonization by pope John Paul II in 2001.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)