Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Saint November 22 : St. Cecilia : Patron of #Musicians


St. Cecilia
MARTYR, PATRONESS OF CHURCH MUSIC
Feast: November 22
Information:
Feast Day:
November 22
Born:
Rome
Major Shrine:
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
Church music,great musicians, poets
Glorious saint, who chose to die
Instead of denying your King. We pray you please to help us As His fair praise we sing!
We lift our hearts in joyous song To honor Him this way, And while we sing, remembering, To sing is to doubly pray.
At once in our hearts and in our tongues 
We offer double prayer Sent heavenward on winged notes 
To praise God dwelling there.
While in our hearts and tongues we try
With song to praise God twice, We ask dear saint, to help us be United closed to Christ!
Today, November 22, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Cecilia (died 117), Virgin and Martyr of the Church. Saint Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, but the facts of her life have been mostly lost to history. Instead, the Holy Legend of Saint Cecilia has been celebrated since the late fourth century. Saint Cecilia further has the distinction of being the patron saint of music—especially the music used during the celebration of Mass—and the patron saint of musicians, composers, instrument makers, and poets. This association grew from her constant song of Christian love in her heart, present throughout her life. From her Acta: “While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse.”
Cecilia was born in the early part of the third century, in Rome. Born to wealthy, pagan parents, she was likely instructed in the Catholic faith by kind relatives or a nurse. As a noble family—known for their bravery and intelligence—her parents were likely to have accepted (although possibly not approved) of her Catholic faith. By all reports, even as a child, Cecilia loved music, and she would spend her days singing the praises of God, accompanying herself on various instruments.
Cecilia embraced the faith from childhood. Drawn to the Lord, she attended Mass daily, desiring nothing more than to embody the virtues of Christ: faith, hope, charity, humility, and purity. As a child, she consecrated herself a bride of Christ, pledging her perpetual virginity to the Lord. As there were no religious orders for women at that time in history (not for at least 200 more years!), Cecilia was limited in her options. She fasted, prayed, and work sackcloth each day. While she spent her days in charitable works, caring for the poor and needy, her parents were searching for a husband for her to marry. They found an upright and honest man, Valerian, who was pagan like themselves.
Cecilia was torn. Obediently, she wish to do as her parents bade her, but she had made a vow of virginity for the Lord. She spent her days and nights in prayer, offering herself to Jesus, fasting, and enacting harsh penances. As her wedding day approached she did little but pray… until the Lord sent comfort. The Lord promised to send an angel to Saint Cecilia, to guard her, and to assist her in keeping her vow. Cecilia was married in a lavish ceremony, internally, in her soul, becoming the bride of Christ.
After the ceremony, Cecilia said to her new earthly husband: “Dear friend, I have a secret to confide to you, but will you promise me to keep it?”
He promised her solemnly that nothing would ever make him reveal it, and she continued, “An Angel of God watches over me, for I belong to God. If he sees that you would approach me under the influence of a sensual love, his anger will be inflamed, and you will succumb to the blows of his vengeance. But if you love me with a perfect love and conserve my virginity inviolable, he will love you as he loves me, and will lavish on you, too, his favors.”
Upon hearing this, Valerian was at first surprised, and then slightly irritated (as one might expect!). "I am very surprised at what you are telling me and I wish to see this angel!"
"You shall see him," Cecilia gently answered, "when you are purified."
"How shall I become so?" asked Valerian.
"Go to Pope Urban," she instructed him. "When you tell the poor that you are Cecilia's friend, they will take you to see the Pope. He will explain to you the mysteries of the Catholic Faith. May God bless you and my angel protect you."
Valerian, for his part, was moved by the grace of the Lord, and traveled to see Pope Urban that very evening. He was converted to Catholicism and baptized into the faith. Wearing his baptismal gown, he returned to his new bride, finding her accompanied by the angel she had promised. The angel, as emissary from the Lord, bestowed upon them both the golden crowns of heaven. Together, they lived in celibacy, and grew in love for the Lord, eventually converting Valerian’s brother, Tiburtius, a man of some importance in Rome—who upon seeing their heavenly crowns was moved to accept Jesus Christ.
Together the brothers made it their mission to find and provide a decent burial to the Christian martyrs being executed throughout Rome. It was not long, however, until word spread of their endeavor. The Governor of Rome, learning of their Christianity through Tiburtius, summoned the brothers before him. When questioned, they refused to recant their faith, stating: "We are Christians and we believe in Jesus Christ, the One and only true God!"
Upon hearing this, the Governor ordered them martyred. Saint Cecilia, assisted by her angel, recovered and buried the bodies. But soon, she was called before the Governor as well. Courageously, she, too, declared her faith: "I too am a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ, the One and only true God!"
The Governor was not furious. He sentenced her to death, stating: "Cecilia! You are condemned to die for loving the poor and for adoring Christ crucified!"
But Cecilia was not to be harmed. The soldiers tried to scald and suffocated her in the steam bath in her own home, but rather than suffer, she could be heard singing to the Lord, seemingly accompanied by the choir of angels. After 36 hours, in which she should not have been able to survive, she was released. The Governor then ordered her head cut off, but the guard who attempted sliced her neck three times with a sword, but was unable to sever it. Scared, he ran away, leaving her wounded and in great pain.
Cecilia survived for three days, bleeding and injured, but cared for by her angel and the Christians in the small community that had developed. During that time, she preached, converting many, gave away all that she had to the poor, and prayed incessantly. Many came to visit her, soaking up her blood with cloths and sponges, reporting miracles at her intercession later. On the last day of her life, Pope Urban traveled to her home, bestowing upon her the Last Rites, and seeing her to Heaven. On her wishes, Pope Urban ordered Cecilia's house converted into a church, with the steam bath—the site of the start of her martyrdom—the chapel. To this day, one can still see the pipes where the hot steam poured in, and the stone floor where Cecilia was struck with the sword.
The mysteries of Saint Cecilia’s life did not end in death, but continued. After some years, a grand church was built in Rome to honor her. Pope Pascal I, who undertook to rebuild the church many years later, was troubled that the saints holy body had never been recovered. One Sunday, while praying in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Cecilia appeared to him, consoling him, and declaring that he would find her body. Inspired by her words, a search was begun, and Saint Cecilia’s body was discovered, buried in a cemetery now named after her. Gold cloth wrapped the incorrupt body, and the blood-soaked linens that had bound her neck wound were preserved within the tomb. Nearby, the body of her husband, Saint Valerian, was also discovered. The relics of these saints were moved to Saint Cecilia’s Church in 821.
Nearly 800 years later, in 1599, the tomb of Saint Cecilia was opened, and her body was found to be perfectly persevered and incorrupt. At that time, a sculptor was called in to examine and sculpt the body prior to resealing the tomb. A likeness was made with the following carved into the floor at the alter at the base of the statue:
“Behold the body of the most holy virgin Cecilia, whom I myself saw lying incorrupt in the tomb. I have in this marble expressed for you the same saint in the very same posture.”
The life of Saint Cecilia is one of great mystery, as we are left uncertain of the actual events of her marriage and martyrdom. What we do know, from Holy Legend, is that Cecilia was called by the Lord to devote herself to Him—in service to others, in practice of virtues, and in praise and music—all of which she did gladly and with abandon. Despite many obstacles, Saint Cecilia remained pure in the eyes of the Lord, a heavenly instrument of His love on earth!
Lord of mercy, be close to those who call upon you. With St. Cecilia to help us hear and answer our prayers. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (365RosariesBlog)

#PopeFrancis ask yourself "Is this new thing from the Lord, does it come from the Holy Spirit, is it rooted in God?"


(Vatican Radio) Cultural and ideological colonization does not tolerate differences and makes everything the same, resulting in the persecution even of believers. Those were Pope Francis’ reflections in his homily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, which centered on the martyrdom of Eleazar, narrated in the book of Maccabees from the First Reading (Maccabees 6: 18-31).
The Pope noted that there are three main types of persecution: a purely religious persecution; a “mixed” persecution that has both religious and political motivations, like the Thirty Years War or the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre”; and a kind of cultural persecution, when a new culture comes in wanting “to make everything new and to make a clean break with everything: the cultures, the laws and the religions of a people.” It is this last type of persecution that led to the martyrdom of Eleazar.
The account of this persecution began in the reading from Monday’s liturgy. Some of the Jewish people, seeing the power and the magnificent beauty of Antiochus Ephiphanes (a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire), wanted to make an alliance with him. They wanted to be up-to-date and modern, and so they approached the king and asked him to allow them “to introduce the pagan institutions of other nations” among their own people. Not necessarily the ideas or gods of those nations, the Pope noted, but the institutions. In this way, this people brought in a new culture, “new institutions” in order to make a clean break with everything: their “culture, religion, law.” This modernizing, this renewal of everything, the Pope emphasized, is a true ideological colonization that wanted to impose on the people of Israel “this unique practice,” according to which everything was done in a particular way, and there was no freedom for other things. Some people accepted it because it seemed good to be like the others; and so the traditions were left aside, and the people begin to live in a different way.
But to defend the “true traditions” of the people, a resistance rose up, like that of Eleazar, who was very dignified, and respected by all. The book of Maccabees, the Pope said, tells the story of these martyrs, these heroes. A persecution born of ideological colonization always proceeds in the same way: destroying, attempting to make everyone the same. Such persecutions are incapable of tolerating differences.
The key word highlighted by the Pope, beginning with Monday’s reading is “perverse root” – that is Antiochus Epifanes: the root that came to introduce into the people of God, “with power,” these new, pagan, worldly” customs:
“And this is the path of cultural colonization that ends up persecuting believers too. But we do not have to go too far to see some examples: we think of the genocides of the last century, which was a new cultural thing: [Trying to make] everyone equal; [so that] there is no place for differences, there is no place for others, there is no place for God. It is the perverse root. Faced with this cultural colonization, which arises from the perversity of an ideological root, Eleazar himself has become [a contrary] root.
In fact, Eleazar dies thinking of the young people, leaving them a noble example. “He gives [his] life; for love of God and of the law he is made a root for the future.” So, in the face of that perverse root that produces this ideological and cultural colonization, “there is this other root that gives [his] life for the future to grow.”
What had come from the kingdom of Antioch was a novelty. But not all new things are bad, the Pope said: just think of the Gospel of Jesus, which was a novelty. When it comes to novelties, the Pope said, one has to be able to make distinctions:
“There is a need to discern ‘the new things’: Is this new thing from the Lord, does it come from the Holy Spirit, is it rooted in God? Or does this newness come from a perverse root? But before, [for example] yes, it was a sin to kill children; but today it is not a problem, it is a perverse novelty. Yesterday, the differences were clear, as God made it, creation was respected; but today [people say] we are a little modern... you act... you understand ... things are not so different ... and things are mixed together.”
 The “new things” of God, on the other hand, never makes “a negotiation” but grows and looks at the future:
“Ideological and cultural colonizations only look to the present; they deny the past, and do not look to the future. They live in the moment, not in time, and so they can’t promise us anything. And with this attitude of making everyone equal and cancelling out differences, they commit, they make an particularly ugly blasphemy against God the Creator. Every time a cultural and ideological colonization comes along, it sins against God the Creator because it wants to change Creation as it was made by Him. And against this fact that has occurred so often in history, there is only one medicine: bearing witness; that is, martyrdom.
Eleazar, in fact, gives the witness by giving his life, considering the inheritance he will leave by his example: “I have lived thus. Yes, I dialogue with those who think otherwise, but my testimony is thus, according to the law of God.” Eleazar does not think about leaving behind money or anything of that kind, but looks to the future, “the legacy of his testimony,” to that testimony that would be “a promise of fruitfulness for the young.” It becomes, therefore, a root to give life to others. And the Pope concludes with the hope that that example “will help us in moments of confusion in the face of the cultural and spiritual colonization that is being proposed to us.”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday November 21, 2017 - #Eucharist


Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 498


Reading 12 MC 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,
a man of advanced age and noble appearance,
was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork.
But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,
he spat out the meat,
and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,
as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food
which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life.
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him,
and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,
such as he could legitimately eat,
and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice
prescribed by the king;
in this way he would escape the death penalty,
and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,
worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,
the merited distinction of his gray hair,
and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;
and so he declared that above all
he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once
to the abode of the dead, explaining:
"At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense;
many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar
had gone over to an alien religion.
Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,
they would be led astray by me,
while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age.
Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men,
I shall never, whether alive or dead,
escape the hands of the Almighty.
Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now,
I will prove myself worthy of my old age,
and I will leave to the young a noble example
of how to die willingly and generously
for the revered and holy laws."

Eleazar spoke thus,
and went immediately to the instrument of torture.
Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed,
now became hostile toward him because what he had said
seemed to them utter madness.
When he was about to die under the blows,
he groaned and said:
"The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that,
although I could have escaped death,
I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging,
but also suffering it with joy in my soul
because of my devotion to him."
This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

Responsorial PsalmPS 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (6b) The Lord upholds me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
"There is no salvation for him in God."
R. The Lord upholds me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. The Lord upholds me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. The Lord upholds me.

Alleluia1 JN 4:10B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God loved us, and sent his Son
as expiation for our sins.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
"Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house."
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
"He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner."
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
"Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over."
And Jesus said to him,
"Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost."

#PopeFrancis "I come as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to proclaim his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace." Video before Journey

Pope Francis has sent a video message  to the people of Bangladesh as he prepares to undertake a 3-day apostolic journey to the nation from the 30 November to 2 December. It comes as the second part of a journey to Myanmar from 27 to 30 November. 
Dear Friends,
As I prepare to visit Bangladesh in a few days’ time, I wish to send a message of greeting and friendship to entire population. I look forward to the moment in which we shall be together.
I come as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to proclaim his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is to confirm the Catholic community in Bangladesh in its faith and witness to the Gospel that recognizes the dignity of every man and woman and calls us to open our hearts to others, especially to the poor and needy.
At the same time I wish to encounter the entire population. In a special way, I look forward to meeting with religious leaders at Ramna, in Dhaka. We live in times in which believers and men of goodwill in all places are called to promote reciprocal understanding and respect, and to sustain each other as members of one human family.
I know that there are many people in Bangladesh who are working hard to prepare for my visit and I thank them. I ask each of you for prayers so that my days with you may be a source of hope and encouragement for all. Upon you and your families I invoke the divine blessings of joy and peace! See you before long!      

Wow Catholic Franciscan Sister goes from #Olympic Skating to Religious Life - SHARE


Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal gives witness about being a former Speed Skater in the Olympics and then joining a Religious Order. 
Watch and SHARE her Amazing Story to Inspire!

#PopeFrancis to #Police " I refer to your patron, Saint Michael Archangel, described in the Biblical Book of Revelation as he fights against Satan," FULL TEXT + Video

The Pope met some 100 top leaders and officials of Italy’s road police that celebrating its 70th anniversary and railway police that is marking its 110 years.
FULL TEXT Address of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am pleased to meet you today and to talk to you, Directors and Officers of the Road and Rail Police. I thank the Chief of Police for his kind words of introduction.
Every citizen should feel grateful for the work you do on behalf of the state and of the community, seeking to ensure, through a multitude of functions, the safety of those who travel on the roads and on the trains. In our world, travel is increasing, so an efficient and secure mobility has become a primary and indispensable requirement for a society that wants to keep pace with development and ensure the well-being of its members.
On the streets, the task of detecting violations, regulating traffic, preventing, aiding and detecting accidents, has to deal with the increasingly complex and tumultuous reality of the streets. Alongside the shortcomings of the road system, which requires substantial investment in terms of modernization and safety, it is important to bear in mind the low level of responsibility on the part of many drivers, who often do not even realize the serious consequences of their negligence (for example through the improper use of cell phones) or their failure to observe the rules.
This is caused by haste and competitiveness as a way of life, which makes other drivers appear to be obstacles or opponents to be overcome, transforming the roads into “Formula One” circuits and the traffic lights into a Grand Prix starting line. In such a context, sanctions are not enough to increase security: there is also a need for educative action, to give greater awareness of our responsibilities for those traveling alongside us.
This action in raising awareness and increasing civic sense, both in the road and in the railway sectors, should draw all the possible fruits of the experience that you, policemen and women, accumulate every day on the roads and railways, in your direct contact with people and with the issues involved. The direct contact between onboard staff and the main office allows you to carry out continuous monitoring throughout the entire territory, in which the task of your managers is essential in ensuring coordination, communication of results and interaction.
The rail sector is also a key area in the life of the country, which also requires maintenance and structural investment, whose inadequacy every day causes discomfort to millions of commuters and travelers, and unfortunately, as recent news has shown us, causes accidents, even fatal. What you encounter every day in the railroad is like a microcosm, passing through the most diverse worlds, with which you travel to offer security and the prevention and suppression of crime.
Within the rail sector, as on the roads, police action requires a high level of professionalism and specialization, and therefore a continuous updating of knowledge of the law and the use of equipment and technology. Constant contact with people means that the measure of your professionalism is shown not only by the high skill required of you but also by a profound righteousness – which leads you to never take advantage of the power you possess – and a high degree of humanity.
Both in control and suppression, it is important to rely on a use of force that never degenerates into violence. This demands great wisdom and self-control, especially when a police offer is regarded with mistrust or almost as an enemy, rather than as guardian of the common good. The latter tendency, unfortunately, is a widespread evil, which in some areas reaches the level of a clash between the social fabric and the state, along with those who represent it.
Also to you, as I did with all of the Church and society during the Jubilee Year of 2015, I suggest a style of mercy in fulfilling your functions. Mercy is not synonymous with weakness, nor does it require the renunciation of the use of force; it instead means being able to avoid identifying the guilty person with the offense committed, which ends up creating harm and generating a sense of vengeance; it also means making the effort to understand the needs and the motivations of the people you encounter in your work. It requires you to use mercy even in the countless situations of weakness and pain that you face every day, not only in the case of wrongdoings of various nature but also in the encounter with those who are in need or disadvantaged.
In conclusion, I refer to your patron, Saint Michael Archangel, described in the Biblical Book of Revelation as he fights against Satan, defending the woman who gave birth to the Savior (cf. Rev 12: 1-6). This biblical image makes us reflect on the ongoing struggle between good and evil, from which we can never withdraw. From the biblical perspective, this confrontation has as its first protagonists God and Satan, one representing the fullness of good and of what is favorable to man, the other incarnating evil and opposing the success of human existence.
Nevertheless, regardless of the point of view of faith, it is important to recognize the reality of this clash, between good and evil, which takes place in our world and even within us. Aware of this decisive challenge, it would be unsound to consent to evil or even just to claim to remain neutral. On the contrary, everyone is asked to take on his portion of responsibility by employing all his energies to counter egoism, injustice, and indifference.
We must all do this, but you are at the forefront in countering what offends man, creates disorder and foments illegality, hindering the happiness and growth of people, especially the youngest. Your service, often not adequately respected, places you at the heart of society and, by its high value, I do not hesitate to define it as a mission, to be performed with honor and deep sense of duty, serving the good of man and the common good.
I invoke God’s paternal blessing and protection for you and your families, and I ask you, please, to pray for me.
Text source VATICAN.VA