Friday, January 27, 2017

Saint January 28 : St. Thomas Aquinas : Patron of Catholic #Universities, #Colleges, and schools


Feast Day:
January 28
Born:
1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy
Died:
7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy
Canonized:
July 18, 1323, Avignon, France
Major Shrine:
Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France
Patron of:
Catholic universities, colleges, and schools
Today, January 28, we celebrate the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Doctor of the Church, patron saint of universities and students, and the greatest teacher of the medieval Catholic Church. Alternately referred to as the Angelic Doctor and the Universal Doctor, the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas greatly influenced not only Church doctrine, but schools of theological and philosophical thought. Candidates for the priesthood are instructed to model themselves after this holy man, and Pope Benedict XV declared that his teachings were the teachings of the Church, herself. By universal consent, this holy man is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and divine revelation.
Thomas was born in Aquino, Italy (the name “Aquinas” is not his surname, but translates as “of Aquino”), the son of the Count of Aquino. At the ago of five years old, his father placed him in the care of the monks at the Benedictine Monastery at Monte Casino. He was immediately observed to excel at the scholastic life, and his teachers were astounded not only by his eagerness to learn and aptitude for difficult concepts, but also by the virtuous manner in which he lived his life. As he grew older, he was sent to Naples to continue his studies, where he first encountered the philosophy of Aristotle.
His father, who had hoped he would enter the Benedictine Order upon reaching the age of consent was dismayed to learn that Thomas had other plans. Renouncing all his worldly ties and possessions, Thomas entered the Dominican Order in Naples. His family, for their part, did all in their power to convince him otherwise, first kidnapping him, and later sending him all manners of temptation (including “impure women”) to lead him astray. However, Thomas remained constant in his pursuits of the Lord, and maintained perfect chastity throughout his life (which is why he is referred to as the “Angelic Doctor.”)
Upon ordination, Thomas left Naples and traveled to Paris and Cologne, Germany, where he studied under the tutelage of Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the "dumb ox" because of his silent ways and huge size, but his brilliance as a student was evident in his writings. While he pursued his philosophical and theological writings, Thomas held two tenures as professor at the University of Paris. During that time, he resided at the court of Pope Urban IV, under whose direction he combated all forms of heresy and adversaries of the Church. Thomas similarly directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, traveling between them as frequently as needed. He received his doctorate at the age of 31.
While a gifted preacher, the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas (which fill twenty volumes) are considered his greatest contribution to the Catholic Church. His writings reconcile the unity of faith and reason, of those things revealed by God, and those things discovered through natural human knowledge. The breadth and depth of his theory encompass the entirety of the natural order, as a cherished and divine gift granted to us by God. Pope John Paul II affirmed the importance of this tradition, saying: "The whole living tradition of the Church teaches us this: faith seeks understanding, and understanding seeks faith. Both the need to understand and the need to believe are deeply rooted in man's heart. It is for this reason that the Church herself was the point of departure for the creation of universities.” Similarly, Pope Benedict XVI asserted, “With his charism as a philosopher and theologian, he [Thomas] offered an effective model of harmony between reason and faith, dimensions of the human spirit that are completely fulfilled in the encounter and dialogue with one another. Both the light of reason and the light of faith come from God, he [Thomas] argued; hence there can be no contradiction between them.” Prior to his death, Saint Thomas Aquinas undertook to deal with the entirety of Catholic theology. His most acclaimed work, the Summa Theologiae, although incomplete summarizes the theological underpinnings of our faith in a scientific and rational manner. Saint Thomas ceased writing this work following a supernatural encounter with the Lord while celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. During Mass, he is said to have heard the voice of Jesus asking him what he most desired. Thomas is said to have replied, “Only you, Lord,” following which he experienced something which he never revealed. Following that experience, he stopped writing, explaining, “I cannot go on… All I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” Saint Thomas fell ill (likely from overwork) at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova, and died peacefully while providing commentary on the Song of Songs. His remains were placed in the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse in 1369.
Prayer for Guidance
O creator past all telling, you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom the hierarchies of angels, disposing them in wondrous order above the bright heavens, and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe. You we call the true fount of wisdomand the noble origin of all things. Be pleased to shed on the darkness of mind in which I was born, The twofold beam of your light and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin. You make eloquent the tongues of children. Then instruct my speech and touch my lips with graciousness. Make me keen to understand, quick to learn, able to remember; make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak. Guide my going in and going forward, lead home my going forth. You are true God and true man, and live for ever and ever. Amen. Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog

#PopeFrancis “For in the one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body” to #Orthodox - FULL TEXT + Video


Pope Francis’ message this Friday to members of the Joint International Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches which is meeting in the Vatican this week.
Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’s address to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches
Dear Brothers in Christ,
            In offering you a joyful welcome, I thank you for your presence and for the kind words that Metropolitan Bishoy addressed to me on your behalf.  Through you, I send cordial greetings to the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, my venerable brothers.
            I am grateful for the work of your Commission, which began in 2003 and is now holding its fourteenth meeting.  Last year you began an examination of the nature of the sacraments, especially baptism.  It is precisely in baptism that we rediscovered the basis of communion between Christians.  As Catholics and Oriental Orthodox, we can repeat the words of the Apostle Paul: “For in the one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13).  In the course of this week, you have further reflected on historical, theological and ecclesiological aspects of the Holy Eucharist, “the source and summit of the whole Christian life”, which admirably expresses and brings about the unity of God’s people (Lumen Gentium, 11).  I encourage you to persevere in your efforts and I trust that your work may point out helpful ways to advance on our journey.  It will thus facilitate the path towards that greatly desired day when we will have the grace of celebrating the Lord’s Sacrifice at the same altar, as a sign of fully restored ecclesial communion.
            Many of you belong to Churches that witness daily the spread of violence and acts of brutality perpetrated by fundamentalist extremism.  We are aware that situations of such tragic suffering more easily take root in the context of great poverty, injustice and social exclusion, due to instability created by partisan interests, often from elsewhere, and by earlier conflicts that have led to situations of dire need, cultural and spiritual deserts where it becomes easy to manipulate and incite people to hatred.  Each day your Churches, in drawing near to those who suffer, are called to sow concord and to work patiently to restore hope by offering the consoling peace that comes from the Lord, a peace we are obliged together to bring to a world wounded and in pain.
            Saint Paul also writes: “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor 12:26).  Your sufferings are our sufferings.  I join you in praying for an end to the conflict and for God’s closeness to those who have endured so much, especially children, the sick and the elderly.  In a particular way, my heart goes out to the bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and the lay faithful who have been cruelly abducted, taken hostage or enslaved.
            May the Christian communities be sustained by the intercession and example of our many martyrs and saints who bore courageous witness to Christ.  They show us the heart of our faith, which does not consist in a generic message of peace and reconciliation but in Jesus himself, crucified and risen.  He is our peace and our reconciliation (cf. Eph 2:14; 2 Cor 5:18).   As his disciples, we are called to testify everywhere, with Christian fortitude, to his humble love that reconciles men and women in every age.  Wherever violence begets more violence and sows death, there our response must be the pure leaven of the Gospel, which, eschewing strategies of power, allows fruits of life to emerge from arid ground and hope to dawn after nights of terror.
            The centre of the Christian life, the mystery of Jesus who died and rose out of love, is also the point of reference for our journey towards full unity.  Once more the martyrs show us the way.  How many times has the sacrifice of their lives led Christians, otherwise divided in so many things, to unity!  The martyrs and saints of all ecclesial traditions are already one in Christ (cf. Jn 17:22); their names are written in the one common martyrology of God’s Church.  Having sacrificed themselves on earth out of love, they dwell in the one heavenly Jerusalem, gathered around the Lamb who was slain (cf. Rev 7:13-17).  Their lives, offered as a gift, call us to communion, to hasten along the path to full unity.  Just as in the early Church the blood of the martyrs was the seed of new Christians, so in our own day may the blood of so many martyrs be a seed of unity between believers, a sign and instrument of a future of communion and peace.
            Dear brothers, I am grateful for the efforts you make towards attaining this goal.  In thanking you for your visit, I invoke upon you and your ministry the blessing of the Lord and the loving protection of the Holy Mother of God. (Image source: Google Images)

#PopeFrancis "Jesus...says, “Don’t be afraid.” #Homily



(Vatican Radio) God frees us from the sin that paralyzes us as Christians: faintheartedness, being afraid of everything, which keep us from having memory, hope, courage, and patience. That was the message of Pope Francis during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Friday.
Remembering the God’s work of salvation in my life
Pope Francis said the day’s Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews exhorts us to live the Christian life with three points of reference: the past, the present, and the future. First, it invites us to remember, because “the Christian life does not begin today: it continues today.” Remembering is “to recall everything”: the good things, and those that are less good, and putting my own story “before the sight of God”: without covering up or hiding it:
“‘Brothers, call to mind those first days’: the days of enthusiasm, of going forward in the faith, when you began to live the faith, the anguished trials… You don’t understand the Christian life, even the spiritual life of each day, without memory. Not only do you not understand: You can’t live in a Christian way without memory. The memory of the salvation of God in my life, the memory of my troubles in my life; but how has the Lord saved me from these troubles? Memory is a grace: a grace to ask for. ‘Lord, may I not forget your step in my life, may I not forget the good moments, also the ugly; the joys and the crosses.’ The Christian is a man of memory.”
Living in the hope of encountering Jesus
The author of the Letter then makes us understand that “we are on the journey in expectation of something,” in expectation of “arriving at a point: an encounter; encountering the Lord.” “And he exhorts us to live by faith”:
“Hope: Looking to the future. Just as one cannot live a Christian life without memory of the steps taken, one cannot live a Christian life without looking to the future with hope… of the encounter with the Lord. And he uses a beautiful phrase: ‘just a brief moment…’ Eh, life is a breath, eh? It passes. When one is young, he thinks he has so much time before him, but then life teaches us that those words that we all say: ‘But how time passes! I knew this person as a child, now they’re getting married! How time passes!’ It comes soon. But the hope of encountering it is a life in tension, between memory and hope, the past and the future.”
Living in the present with courage and patience
Finally, the Letter invites us to live in the present, “often times painful and sad,” with “courage and patience”: that is, with frankness, without shame, and enduring the events of life. We are sinners, the Pope explained – all of us. “He who is first, and he who is later… if you want, we can make the list later, but we are all sinners. All of us. But we go forward with courage and patience. We don’t remain there, stopped, because this would not make us grow.”
The sin that paralyzes Christians: Faintheartedness
Finally, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews urges us not to commit the sin that takes away memory, hope, courage, and patience: faintheartedness (It.: pusillanimit√†, “pusillanimity”). “It is a sin that doesn’t allow us to go forward, through fear.” Jesus, though, says, “Don’t be afraid.” The fainthearted are those “who always go backward, who guard themselves too much, who are afraid of everything”:
“‘Not taking risks, please, no… prudence…’ All the commandments, all of them… Yes, it’s true, but this paralyzes you too, it makes you forget so many graces received, it takes away memory, it takes away hope, because it doesn’t allow you to go forward. And the present of a Christian, of such a Christian, is how when one goes along the street and an unexpected rain comes, and the garment is not so good and the fabric shrinks… Confined souls… This is faintheartedness: this is the sin against memory, courage, patience, and hope. May the Lord make us grow in memory, make us grow in hope, give us courage and patience each and free us from that which is faintheartedness, being afraid of everything…  Confined souls in order to save ourselves. And Jesus says: ‘He who wills to save his life will lose it.’”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday January 27, 2017 - #Eucharist


Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 321


Reading 1HEB 10:32-39

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened,
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction;
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence;
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

For, after just a brief moment,
he who is to come shall come;
he shall not delay.
But my just one shall live by faith,
and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.


We are not among those who draw back and perish,
but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Responsorial PsalmPS 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart's requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate,
for the hand of the LORD sustains him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

AlleluiaMT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
"This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come."

He said,
"To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade."
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.