Thursday, October 19, 2017

Saint October 20 : St. Paul of the Cross : Founder of the #Passionists


Paul Francis Daneii, born at Ovada, Genoa, Italy, 3 January, 1694; died in Rome, 18 October, 1775. His parents, Luke Danei and Anna Maria Massari, were exemplary Catholics. From his earliest years the crucifix was his book, and the Crucified his model. Paul received his early education from a priest who kept a school for boys, in Cremolino, Lombardy. He made great progress in study and virtue; spent much time in prayer, heard daily Mass, frequently received the Sacraments, faithfully attended to his school duties, and gave his spare time to reading good books and visiting the churches, where he spent much time before the Blessed Sacrament, to which he had an ardent devotion.
At the age of fifteen he left school and returned to his home at Castellazzo, and from this time his life was full of trials. In early manhood he renounced the offer of an honourable marriage; also a good inheritance left him by an uncle who was a priest. He kept for himself only the priest's Breviary.
 Inflamed with a desire for God's glory he formed the idea of instituting a religious order in honour of the Passion. Vested in a black tunic by the Bishop of Alessandria, his director, bearing the emblem of our Lord's Passion, barefooted, and bareheaded, he retired to a narrow cell where he drew up the Rules of the new congregation according to the plan made known to him in a vision, which he relates in the introduction to the original copy of the Rules. For the account of his ordination to the priesthood, of the foundation of the Congregation of the Passion, and the approbation of the Rules.
After the approbation of the Rules and the institute the first general chapter was held at the Retreat of the Presentation on Mount Argentaro on 10 April, 1747. At this chapter, St. Paul, against his wishes, was unanimously elected first superior general, which office he held until the day of his death. In all virtues and in the observance of regular discipline, he became a model to his companions. "Although continually occupied with the cares of governing his religious society, and of founding everywhere new houses for it, yet he never left off preaching the word of God, burning as he did with a wondrous desire for the salvation of souls" (Brief of Pius IX for St. Paul's Beatification, 1 Oct., 1852). Sacred missions were instituted and numerous conversions were made. He was untiring in his Apostolic labours and never, even to his last hour, remitted anything of his austere manner of life, finally succumbing to a severe illness, worn out as much by his austerities as by old age.
 Among the distinguished associates of St. Paul in the formation and extension of the congregation were: John Baptist, his younger brother and constant companion from childhood, who shared all his labours and sufferings and equaled him in the practice of virtue; Father Mark Aurelius (Pastorelli), Father Thomas Struzzieri (subsequently Bishop of Amelia and afterwards of Todi), and Father Fulgentius of Jesus, all remarkable for learning, piety, and missionary zeal; Venerable Strambi, Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, his biographer. Constant personal union with the Cross and Passion of our Lord was the prominent feature of St. Paul's sanctity. But devotion to the Passion did not stand alone, for he carried to a heroic degree all the other virtues of a Christian life. Numerous miracles, besides those special ones brought forward at his beatification and canonization, attested the favour he enjoyed with God. Miracles of grace abounded, as witnessed in the conversion of sinners seemingly hardened and hopeless. For fifty years he prayed for the conversion of England, and left the devotion as a legacy to his sons.
The body of St. Paul lies in the Basilica of SS. John and Paul, Rome. He was beatified on 1 October, 1852, and canonized on 29 June, 1867. His feast occurs on 28 April. [Editor's note: It was later transferred to 19 October.] The fame of his sanctity, which had spread far and wide in Italy during his life, increased after his death and spread into all countries. Great devotion to him is practiced by the faithful wherever Passionists are established. Catholic Encyclopedia

#PopeFrancis "The Spirit of God brings about the miracle of reconciled unity." to #Methodists on 50th Ann. of Dialogue - FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis met with leaders of the World Methodist Council
 on Thursday, celebrating fifty years of dialogue between the two Churches. 

VATICAN Official FULL TEXT Address of Pope Francis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank Bishop Abrahams for his kind words and I offer all of you a warm welcome on this fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Methodist-Catholic theological dialogue.
In the Book of Leviticus, the Lord proclaims the fiftieth year as a special year that calls, among other things, for the setting free of slaves: “You shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” (Lev 25:10). We are grateful to God because we can say that, in certain sense, we too have been freed from the slavery of estrangement and mutual suspicion. The Lord also told Moses that in the fiftieth year “everyone shall return to his property and… to his family” (ibid.). As a result of these fifty years of patient, fraternal dialogue, we can truly say to one another in the words of the Apostle Paul: “you are no longer strangers” (cf. Eph 2:19). Yes, we are no longer strangers, either in our hearts or in our belonging to the Lord, thanks to the one Baptism that has made us true brothers and sisters. We are, and we feel ourselves to be, “members of the household of God” (ibid.).
We have come to this realization as the result of dialogue. The Second Vatican Council continues to encourage the growth of knowledge and esteem between Christians of differing confessions by means of a dialogue carried out “with love for the truth, with charity, and with humility” (Unitatis Redintegratio, 11). True dialogue gives us the courage to encounter one another in humility and sincerity, in an effort to learn from one another, and in a spirit of honesty and integrity. We are brothers and sisters who, following a long separation, are happy once more to see and learn about one another, and to move forward with open hearts. So let us advance together, knowing that our journey is blessed by the Lord. It began from him, and it leads to him.
“You shall hallow the fiftieth year”, God said to Moses. The latest document of the Commission spoke precisely about holiness. John Wesley sought to help his neighbors live a holy life. His example and his words encouraged many to devote themselves to reading the Bible and to prayer, and in this way to come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. When we see others living a holy life, when we recognize the working of the Holy Spirit in other Christian confessions, we cannot fail to rejoice. It is impressive to see how widely the Lord sows his gifts; it is impressive to see brothers and sisters who embrace in Jesus our own way of life. But other “members of God’s household” can also help us grow closer to the Lord and spur us to bear more faithful witness to the Gospel. Let us thank the Father, then, for all that he granted us, even before the last fifty years, in bygone centuries and throughout the world, in our respective communities. Let us strengthen one another by our witness to the faith.
Faith becomes tangible above all when it takes concrete form in love, particularly in service to the poor and the marginalized. “You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants”: after fifty years of our dialogue, this ancient summons of the word of God remains ever timely. As a call to life in communion with God, the call to holiness is necessarily a call to communion with others too. When, as Catholics and Methodists, we join in assisting and comforting the weak and the marginalized – those who in the midst of our societies feel distant, foreign and alienated – we are responding to the Lord’s summons.
As we look to the future, beyond the past fifty years, one thing is certain: we cannot grow in holiness without growing in communion. This is the journey that awaits us in the new phase of the dialogue, devoted to reconciliation. We cannot speak of prayer and charity unless together we pray and work for reconciliation and full communion. May your discussions about reconciliation be a gift, and not only for our communities but for the world. May they be an incentive to Christians everywhere to be ministers of reconciliation. The Spirit of God brings about the miracle of reconciled unity. He does so in his own way, even as he did at Pentecost, awakening a variety of charisms and ordering everything in a unity that is not uniformity but a communion. We need, then, to remain together, like the disciples awaiting the Spirit, and as brothers and sisters on a shared journey.
I thank you for your presence. I am grateful to the Dialogue Commission for its work, past and yet to come, and I thank the World Methodist Council for its ongoing support for the dialogue. The blessing of the past fifty years resides in the grace we have discovered in one another, which has enriched both our communities. But the task is not yet ended, and we are called to look ahead as we continue our journey. We have learned to see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ; now is the time to prepare ourselves, with humble hope and concrete efforts, for that full recognition that will come about, by God’s grace, when at last we will be able to join one another in the breaking of the bread. I would ask you to pray for this, as together we ask the Father for the daily bread that can sustain us along the way: Our Father…
[01573-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]

#PopeFrancis "to understand God's heart, to understand God's salvation - the key to knowledge" Homily

Radio Vaticana Report -The Lord gives us the memory of  God's salvation which is “a gift” and close to the concreteness of the works of mercy he wants us to do, whether they are "material or spiritual": so we will become people who help to "open the door" to ourselves and others. That was Pope Francis’ prayer at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Recalling the passage from Luke's Gospel in which the Scribes and Pharisees considered themselves righteous, and Jesus makes known to them that God alone is just, the Pope explained why law practitioners had "taken knowledge away" with "the consequence of not being able to enter the Kingdom nor let others enter either".


"This leads us to understand the revelation of God, to understand God's heart, to understand God's salvation - the key to knowledge - we can say it is very neglected. One forgets the freedom of salvation; forgetting the closeness of God and forgetting God's mercy. And those who forget the gift of salvation, the closeness of God, and the mercy of God, have taken away the key to knowledge. "
Therefore, this gift was "forgotten". It is "God's initiative to save us and instead stand on the side of the law": Salvation - said the Pope - "is there for them", thus arriving in "a bunch of prescriptions" which in fact become salvation. So, "they do not receive the power of God's righteousness." The law, however, is always "an answer to God's generous love", which has taken "the initiative" to save us. And, continued Pope Francis, "when you forget the gift of salvation you fall, you lose the key to the intelligence of the history of salvation", losing "the sense of God's closeness":
"For them, God is the one who has made the law. But this is not the God of revelation. The God of revelation is a God who has begun to walk with us from Abraham to Jesus Christ, God walking with His people. And when you lose this close relationship with the Lord, you fall into this dull mindset that believes in the self-sufficiency of salvation with the fulfillment of the law. The closeness of God ".
When the closeness of God is lacking, when prayer is lacking, the Pope emphasized "doctrine cannot be taught" and not even by "studying theology", much less "moral theology": The Pope reiterated that theology "kneels down, always close to God ". And the closeness of the Lord comes "to the highest point of the crucified Jesus Christ," being "justified" for the blood of Christ, as Saint Paul said. For this reason, the Pontiff explained, the works of mercy "are the stone of the fulfillment of the law," because they touch the flesh of Christ, "touch Christ’s suffering in a person, both corporally and spiritually." Also, when the key to knowledge is lost, one also becomes "corrupt". The Pope finally noted the "responsibilities" of shepherds, now in the Church commenting that  when they lose or take away the "key of intelligence", they close  "the door on themselves and on others":
In my country, said the Pope,  "I have heard several times of parish priests who did not baptize the children of the mothers because they were not born in  canonical marriage. They closed the door, why? Because the heart of these parish priests had lost the key to knowledge.
Three months ago, in a country, in a city, a mother wanted to baptize her newly born son, but she was married civilly with a divorced man. The priest said, 'Yes, yes. Baptize the baby. But your husband is divorced. So he cannot be present at the ceremony. ' This is happening today. The Pharisees, doctors of the law are not people of the past, even today there are many of them. That is why we need prayers for us shepherds. To pray that we do not lose the key to knowledge and do not close the door to ourselves and the people who want to enter. "

Saint October 19 : North American Martyrs : St. John Brebeuf and Companions

JOURNEY OF A BISHOP REPORT: French Jesuits were among the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after J. Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland.
John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and after being tortured, they were martyred.

The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649: Goupil in 1642, Jogues and Lalande on October 18 and 19, 1646 in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York; Daniel on July 4, 1648, Brebeuf and Lalemant in March 1649, Garnier and Chabanel in December 1649--all of these five in Huronia, near present-day Midland, Ontario. Ten years after the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village in which he died. These martyrs are co-patrons of Canada.
The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up "New France." Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: "Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives." He had written in his mission report: "These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense."



Isaac Jogues' declaration on leaving France to return to the mission in Canada is heroic:

"My heart tells me that if I have the blessing of being used for this mission, I shall go and I shall not  return; but I would be glad if our Lord should fulfil the sacrifice where he began it, and that the small amount of blood I shed in that land should turn out to be an advance payment for that which I would give from all the veins of my body and heart."

In the Office of Readings we have an excerpt from the mission journal of St. John de Brébeuf, who had been a student of the great Jesuit spiritual writer, Louis Lallemant. He wrote:
For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.... I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.... On receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit.... My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it.

[Excerpted and adapted from Enzo Lodi, Saints of the Roman Calendar
In 1999, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter on the Canadian Martyrs to mark the 350th anniversary of the final deaths of these heroic priests in 1649. It may be accessed at: http://www.cccb.ca/site/Files/martyrse.pdf.
SHARED FROM JOURNEY OF A BISHOP

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. October 19, 2017 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 470


Reading 1ROM 3:21-30

Brothers and sisters:
Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
though testified to by the law and the prophets,
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
for all who believe.
For there is no distinction;
all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.
They are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as an expiation,
through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness
because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,
through the forbearance of God–
to prove his righteousness in the present time,
that he might be righteous
and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out.
On what principle, that of works?
No, rather on the principle of faith.
For we consider that a person is justified by faith
apart from works of the law.
Does God belong to Jews alone?
Does he not belong to Gentiles, too?
Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one
and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith
and the uncircumcised through faith.

Responsorial PsalmPS 130:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6AB

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

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 11:47-54

The Lord said:
"Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets
whom your fathers killed.
Consequently, you bear witness and give consent
to the deeds of your ancestors,
for they killed them and you do the building.
Therefore, the wisdom of God said,
'I will send to them prophets and Apostles;
some of them they will kill and persecute'
in order that this generation might be charged
with the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!
Woe to you, scholars of the law!
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter."
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Saint October 19 : St. Peter Alcantara - #Franciscan

October 19.—ST. PETER OF ALCANTARA.

PETER, while still a youth, left his home at Alcantara in Spain, and entered a convent of Discalced Franciscans. He rose quickly to high posts in the Order, but his thirst for penance was still unappeased, and in 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the first convent of the "Strict Observance." The cells of the friars resembled graves rather than dwelling-places. That of St. Peter himself was four feet and a half in length, so that he could never lie down; he ate but once in three days; his sack-cloth habit and a cloak were his only garments, and he never covered his head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell that, by closing them again, he might experience some sensation of warmth. Amongst those whom he trained to perfection was St. Teresa. He read her soul, approved of her spirit of prayer, and strengthened her to carry out her reforms. St. Peter died, with great joy, kneeling in prayer, October 18, 1562, at the age of sixty-three.
Reflection.—If men do not go about barefoot now, nor undergo sharp penances, as St. Peter did, there are many ways of trampling on the world; and Our Lord teaches them when He finds the necessary courage.
Butler's Lives of the Saints