Thursday, September 28, 2017

Saint September 29 : #Archangels : St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael : Patrons of Protection, Travel and Art



The term archangel occurs only in St. Jude and 1 Thessalonians 4:15; but St. Paul has furnished us with two other lists of names of the heavenly cohorts. He tells us (Ephesians 1:21) that Christ is raised up "above all principality, and power, and virtue, and dominion"; and, writing to the Colossians (1:16), he says: "In Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations, or principalities or powers." It is to be noted that he uses two of these names of the powers of darkness when (2:15) he talks of Christ as "despoiling the principalities and powers . . . triumphing over them in Himself". And it is not a little remarkable that only two verses later he warns his readers not to be seduced into any "religion of angels". He seems to put his seal upon a certain lawful angelology, and at the same time to warn them against indulging superstition on the subject. We have a hint of such excesses in the Book of Enoch, wherein, as already stated, the angels play a quite disproportionate part. Similarly Josephus tells us (Bel. Jud., II, viii, 7) that the Essenes had to take a vow to preserve the names of the angels.
  The following passages from St. Gregory the Great (Hom. 34, In Evang.) will give us a clear idea of the view of the Church's doctors on the point:
 We know on the authority of Scripture that there are nine orders of angels, viz., Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Throne, Cherubim and Seraphim. That there are Angels and Archangels nearly every page of the Bible tell us, and the books of the Prophets talk of Cherubim and Seraphim. St. Paul, too, writing to the Ephesians enumerates four orders when he says: 'above all Principality, and Power, and Virtue, and Domination'; and again, writing to the Colossians he says: 'whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers'. If we now join these two lists together we have five Orders, and adding Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, we find nine Orders of Angels.
ST. MICHAEL 
(Hebrew "Who is like God?"). St. Michael is one of the principal angels; his name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers. Four times his name is recorded in Scripture:
(1) Daniel 10:13 sqq., Gabriel says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel [D.V. prince] of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."
(2) Daniel 12, the Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."
(3) In the Catholic Epistle of St. Jude: "When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses", etc. St. Jude alludes to an ancient Jewish tradition of a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses, an account of which is also found in the apocryphal book on the assumption of Moses (Origen, De Principiis III.2.2). St. Michael concealed the tomb of Moses; Satan, however, by disclosing it, tried to seduce the Jewish people to the sin of hero-worship. St. Michael also guards the body of Eve, according to the "Revelation of Moses" ("Apocryphal Gospels", etc., ed. A. Walker, Edinburgh, p. 647).
(4) Apocalypse 12:7, "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." St. John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. According to the Fathers there is often question of St. Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned. They say he was the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22:22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35).
Following these Scriptural passages, Christian tradition gives to St. Michael four offices:
To fight against Satan.
To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.
To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.
To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment ("signifer S. Michael repraesentet eas in lucam sanctam", Offert. Miss Defunct. "Constituit eum principem super animas suscipiendas", Antiph. off. Cf. The Shepherd of Hermas, Book III, Similitude 8, Chapter 3).
ST. GABRIEL
"Fortitudo Dei", one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible.
Only four appearances of Gabriel are recorded: In Daniel 8, he explains the vision of the horned ram as portending the destruction of the Persian Empire by the Macedonian Alexander the Great, after whose death the kingdom will be divided up among his generals, from one of whom will spring Antiochus Epiphanes. In chapter 9, after Daniel had prayed for Israel, we read that "the man Gabriel . . . . flying swiftly touched me" and he communicated to him the mysterious prophecy of the "seventy weeks" of years which should elapse before the coming of Christ. In chapter 10, it is not clear whether the angel is Gabriel or not, but at any rate we may apply to him the marvellous description in verses 5 and 6. In the New Testament he foretells to Zachary the birth of the Precursor, and to Mary that of the Saviour.
Thus he is throughout the angel of the Incarnation and of Consolation, and so in Christian tradition Gabriel is ever the angel of mercy while Michael is rather the angel of judgment. At the same time, even in the Bible, Gabriel is, in accordance with his name, the angel of the Power of God, and it is worth while noting the frequency with which such words as "great", "might", "power", and "strength" occur in the passages referred to above. The Jews indeed seem to have dwelt particularly upon this feature in Gabriel's character, and he is regarded by them as the angel of judgment, while Michael is called the angel of mercy. Thus they attribute to Gabriel the destruction of Sodom and of the host of Sennacherib, though they also regard him as the angel who buried Moses, and as the man deputed to mark the figure Tau on the foreheads of the elect (Ezekiel 9:4). In later Jewish literature the names of angels were considered to have a peculiar efficacy, and the British Museum possesses some magic bowls inscribed with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac incantations in which the names of Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel occur. These bowls were found at Hillah, the site of Babylon, and constitute an interesting relic of the Jewish captivity. In apocryphal Christian literature the same names occur, cf. Enoch, ix, and the Apocalypse of the Blessed Virgin.
As remarked above, Gabriel is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, but it is not unreasonable to suppose with Christian tradition that it is he who appeared to St. Joseph and to the shepherds, and also that it was he who "strengthened" Our Lord in the garden (cf. the Hymn for Lauds on 24 March). Gabriel is generally termed only an archangel, but the expression used by St. Raphael, "I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tobit 12:15) and St. Gabriel's own words, "I am Gabriel, who stand before God" (Luke 1:19), have led some to think that these angels must belong to the highest rank; but this is generally explained as referring to their rank as the highest of God's messengers, and not as placing them among the Seraphim and Cherubim (cf. St. Thomas, I.112.3; III.30.2 ad 4um).
ST. RAPHAEL 
The name of this archangel (Raphael = "God has healed") does not appear in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in the Septuagint only in the Book of Tobias. Here he first appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of the younger Tobias, calling himself "Azarias the son of the great Ananias". The story of the adventurous journey during which the protective influence of the angel is shown in many ways including the binding "in the desert of upper Egypt" of the demon who had previously slain seven husbands of Sara, daughter of Raguel, is picturesquely related in Tobit 5-11, to which the reader is referred. After the return and the healing of the blindness of the elder Tobias, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tobit 12:15. Cf. Revelation 8:2). Of these seven "archangels" which appear in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, are mentioned in the canonical Scriptures. The others, according to the Book of Enoch (cf. xxi) are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel, while from other apocryphal sources we get the variant names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel instead of the last three in the other list.
Regarding the functions attributed to Raphael we have little more than his declaration to Tobias (Tobit 12) that when the latter was occupied in his works of mercy and charity, he (Raphael) offered his prayer to the Lord, that he was sent by the Lord to heal him of his blindness and to deliver Sara, his son's wife, from the devil. The Jewish category of the archangels is recognized in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 4:15; Jude 9), but only Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name. Many commentators, however, identify Raphael with the "angel of the Lord" mentioned in John 5. This conjecture is based both on the significance of the name and on the healing role attributed to Raphael in the Book of Tobias. The Church assigns the feast of St. Raphael to 24 October. The hymns of the Office recall the healing power of the archangel and his victory over the demon. The lessons of the first Nocturn and the Antiphons of the entire Office are taken from the Book of Tobias, and the lessons of the second and third Nocturns from the works of St. Augustine, viz. for the second Nocturn a sermon on Tobias (sermon I on the fifteenth Sunday), and for the third, a homily on the opening verse of John 5. The Epistle of the Mass is taken from the twelfth chapter of Tobias, and the Gospel from John 5:1-4, referring to the pool called Probatica, where the multitude of the infirm lay awaiting the moving of the water, for "an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved.And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under". Thus the conjecture of the commentators referred to above is confirmed by the official Liturgy of the Church.
Text is shortened from The Catholic Encyclopedia

#PopeFrancis First of all, pray: ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ And then examine your life..." Homily + Video

(Vatican Radio)  Be not afraid of “speaking the truth about our life”, by recognizing our sins and confessing them to the Lord. That was Pope Francis message at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta.
Reflecting in his homily on the day’s Gospel about Herod’s response to Jesus’ preaching, Pope Francis noted that some people associated Jesus with John the Baptist, Elijah, or a prophet.
Herod, he said, did not know what to think about Jesus, but “he felt” something within. This was not a mere curiosity, the Pope said, but “remorse in his soul and heart”. Herod sought to see Jesus “to calm himself”.
The Holy Father said Herod wanted to see the Christ perform a miracle, but Jesus refused to hold “a circus before him”, so Herod handed him over to Pontius Pilate. And Jesus paid for his refusal with his life.
In so doing, the Pope said, Herod covered “one crime with another” and “one remorse of conscience with another crime”, like one “who kills out of fear”.
Remorse, he said, is therefore not “simply remembering something” but “an open wound”.
“It is an open wound, which, when we have done something wrong in our life, pains us. But it is a hidden wound, unseen even by me, because I get used to carrying it around and anesthetizing it. It is there and some touch it, but it remains within. When it hurts, we feel remorse. I am not only aware of having done evil, but I also feel it in my body, in my soul, and in my life. And so I feel the temptation to cover it and not feel it anymore.”
Pope Francis went on to say it is “a grace to feel our conscience accuse us”. However, he said none of us is a saint, so we are all tempted to notice the sins of the others, instead of our own.
“We must, if I may say so, ‘baptize’ this open wound, that is, give it a name… And if you ask, ‘Father, how can I remove it?’ First of all, pray: ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ And then examine your life… And ask someone to help you to identify the wound and to give it a name, saying ‘I feel remorse because I did this concrete act.’ This is true humility before God.”
The Pope said this act of being concrete with remorse is necessary for healing.
“We must learn the science and wisdom of accusing ourselves… I accuse myself, feel the pain caused by the wound, learn where it has come from, and then indict myself regarding it. Do not be afraid of remorse, for it is a sign of salvation.”
Finally, Pope Francis invited all to pray for the grace “to have courage to accuse ourselves”, in order to journey along the path towards salvation.

(Devin Sean Watkins)

#BreakingNews Vatican Official Cardinal Parolin suggests Dialogue with people accusing Pope Francis of Heresy

(ANSA Report) - Rome, September 28 - Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said on Thursday that "it's important to dialogue even within the Church", in response to a letter from a group of conservative Catholics accusing Pope Francis of heresy. "People who disagree express their dissent, but on these things we have to reason, to try to understand one another," he said, speaking on the sidelines of a conference on Iraqi Christians held by ACS, a Vatican-based international non-profit that aids persecuted Christians worldwide. The letter accused Pope Francis of heresy in his 2016 document Amoris Laetitia - The Joy of Love The conservatives Catholics delivered to the pope in August issuing him a "filial correction" - a measure they said was being using for the first time since the 14th century - over the document, which opens up the possibility of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receiving communion. Among the signatories is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the former president of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). The letter accuses the pope of seven "heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church". The signatories said their initiative does not conflict with the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility "since the Church teaches that a pope must meet strict criteria before his utterances can be considered infallible. "Pope Francis has not met these criteria," it added. The conservatives also accused the pope of having Modernist leanings and of being influenced by the ideas of Martin Luther.

#BreakingNews Pope Francis will appear in New Movie "Beyond the Sun" to be released at Christmas

Pope Francis will appear as himself in the new moviem Beyond the Sun, scheduled for release this Christmas.
The movie relates the story of a group of children who try to be like the apostles. The majority of the film was shot in Argentina, Pope Francis’ home country. Profits from the film will be donated to two charities in Argentina.
The Holy Father's role comes during the middle of the film, and then again at the end for about 6 minutes.  Here he explains to the children how to follow Jesus. The Pope’s remarks were unscripted; he decided for himself what to say.
Here’s an excerpt of what he says in the film:
“Don’t think of [the Gospels] as a huge book … The Gospels are small. But you have to read them slowly, bit by bit. And you should be with someone who can explain whatever you don’t understand. “I recommend people who are adults to always carry a small Gospel with them in their pockets, in the woman’s purse, because – on the subway or on the bus, or waiting at the doctor’s, who knows – you can read a little. Or you keep it at home. […]
“Speak to Jesus … Tell him what’s happening to you. What happened today. Tell him the things you saw and you disliked, or in the school or out in the streets, or in your family … Jesus is waiting for you, and he is looking for you, and you don’t realize … Look for him, and that’s how you will find each other. Dare to do it.”
Pope Francis said to the crew : “Please pray for me.”

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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday September 28, 2017 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 452


Reading 1HG 1:1-8

On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius,
The word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai
to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
This people says:
"The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD."
(Then this word of the LORD came through Haggai, the prophet:)
Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses,
while this house lies in ruins?

Now thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
You have sown much, but have brought in little;
you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated;
have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed;
And whoever earned wages
earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
Go up into the hill country;
bring timber, and build the house
That I may take pleasure in it
and receive my glory, says the LORD.

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

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
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 Lord takes delight in his people.
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 Lord takes delight in his people.
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 Lord takes delight in his people.

AlleluiaJN 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
"John has been raised from the dead";
others were saying, "Elijah has appeared";
still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen."
But Herod said, "John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?"
And he kept trying to see him.