Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Saint March 21 : St. Nicholas of Flue : Patron of Difficult #Marriages, Large families, #Swiss Guards, Switzerland


St. Nicholas of Flue
HERMIT AND SWISS POLITICAL FIGURE
Feast: March 21
March 21

Born:
21 March 1417 at Sachseln, Canton Obwalden, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
Died:
21 March 1487
Canonized:
15 May 1947 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:
Sachseln, Switzerland
Patron of:
councilmen, difficult marriages, large families, magistrates, parents of large families, Pontifical Swiss Guards, separated spouses, Switzerland

Born 21 March, 1417, on the Flüeli, a fertile plateau near Sachseln, Canton Obwalden, Switzerland; died 21 March, 1487, as a recluse in a neighboring ravine, called Ranft. He was the oldest son of pious, well-to-do peasants and from his earliest youth was fond of prayer, practiced mortification, and conscientiously performed the labor of a peasant boy.
At the age of 21 he entered the army and took part in the battle of Ragaz in 1446. Probably he fought in the battles near the Etzel in 1439, near Baar in the Canton of Zug in 1443, and assisted in the capture of Zürich in 1444. He took up arms again in the so-called Thurgau war against Archduke Sigismund of Austria in 1460. It was due to his influence that the Dominican Convent St. Katharinental, whither many Austrians had fled after the capture of Diessenhofen, was not destroyed by the Swiss confederates. Heeding the advice of his parents he married, about the age of twenty-five, a pious girl from Sachseln, named Dorothy Wyssling, who bore him five sons and five daughters. His youngest son, Nicholas, born in 1467, became a priest and a doctor of theology.
Though averse to worldly dignities, he was elected cantonal councillor and judge. The fact that in 1462 he was one of five arbiters appointed to settle a dispute between the parish of Stans and the monastery of Engelberg, shows the esteem in which he was held. After living about twenty-five years in wedlock he listened to an inspiration of God and with the consent of his wife left his family on 16 October, 1467, to live as a hermit. At first he intended to go to a foreign country, but when he came into the neighborhood of Basle, a divine inspiration ordered him to take up his abode in the Ranft, a valley along the Melcha, about an hour's walk from Sachseln.
Here, known as "Brother Klaus", he abode over twenty years, without taking any bodily food or drink, as was established through a careful investigation, made by the civil as well as the ecclesiastical authorities of his times. He wore neither shoes nor cap, and even in winter was clad merely in a hermit's gown. In 1468 he saved the town of Sarnen from a conflagration by his prayers and the sign of the cross. God also favored him with numerous visions and the gift of prophecy. Distinguished persons from nearly every country of Europe came to him for counsel in matters of the utmost importance. At first he lived in a narrow hut, which he himself had built with branches and leaves, and came daily to Mass either at Sachseln or at Kerns. Early in 1469 the civil authorities built a cell and a chapel for him, and on 29 April of the same year the chapel was dedicated by the vicar-general of Constance, Thomas, Bishop of Ascalon. In 1479 a chaplain was put in charge of the chapel, and thenceforth Nicholas always remained in the Ranft. When in 1480 delegates of the Swiss confederates assembled at Stans to settle their differences, and civil war seemed inevitable, Henry Imgrund, the pastor of Stans, hastened to Nicholas, begging him to prevent the shedding of blood. The priest returned to the delegates with the hermit's counsels and propositions, and civil war was averted. Nicholas was beatified by Pope Clement IX in 1669. Numerous pilgrims visit the chapel near the church of Sachseln, where his relics are preserved. His feast is celebrated on 21 March.
Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia
PRAYER OF ST. NICHOLAS OF FLUE
My Lord and my God, take everything from me that keeps me from You. My Lord and my God, give everything to me that brings me near to You. My Lord and my God, take me away from myself and give me completely to You. Amen.

Pope Francis: “Looking at the Crucifix heals our poisoned hearts”


Pope Francis: “Looking at the Crucifix heals our poisoned hearts”
During his homily on Tuesday at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis invites us to look at a Crucifix when we are depressed and tired out with life’s journey.
Vatican News: By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis’ reflection was inspired by the first reading from the book of Numbers 21,4-9. The people were exasperated because of the long journey and were tired of eating the same food. They complained about the food saying they would die in the desert because of God and Moses.
We forget the Lord’s strength As they drew closer to the promised land, some of the Israelites became skeptical because the scouts sent by Moses reported a land rich in produce but inhabited by a people who would be impossible to defeat. “By looking only at their own strength, they forgot the Lord’s strength which had liberated them from 400 years of slavery,” Pope Francis notes.
A sick memory
Pope Francis then compares these Israelites who complain about the journey with those people who begin to follow the Lord but then abandon the journey when it gets too tough. It is at these moments that one says, “I’ve had enough! I quit. I’m going back.” Then one begins to reminisce about the past—about the meat, the onions, and other wonderful things…. Such are the illusions the devil proposes. Once we begin to feel the heat of the day on the journey of conversion, the devil makes us see everything we left behind in a beautiful light. The Pope invites us to understand how partial such a “sick memory” is. It is a distorted nostalgia because the Israelites had been eating from the table of slavery because they had been slaves in Egypt. Poisoned hearts
The serpents who bit the people and poisoned them are an external symbol of poisoned hearts. And so the Lord tells Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole. This serpent healed anyone who looked at it. “It was prophetic: it was the figure of Christ on the cross,” Pope Francis says.
By his wounds our wounds are healed
Pope Francis continues, “And here is the key to our salvation, the key for having patience on the journey of life, the key to overcome our deserts: looking at the Crucifix.” All we need to do is look at Jesus and his wounds, “for by those wounds we have been healed.” Many crucifixes are beautiful because they also want to express the glory of the cross and the glory of the resurrection Pope Francis explains
Pope Francis concluded his homily with a memory of his own childhood. One Good Friday he was with his grandmother at a candlelight procession in the parish. When the life-size marble statue of the dead Christ came by, his grandmother made him kneel down. “Look at that,” she said, “but tomorrow he will rise!” And so, “my grandmother, when she heard the church bells pealing announcing the Resurrection, had tears in her eyes because she was then beholding Christ’s glory.”
Source: VaticanNews

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday March 20, 2018 - #Eucharist


Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 252


Reading 1NM 21:4-9

From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
"Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!"

In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
"We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us."
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
"Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live."
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21

R. (2) O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die."
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

Verse Before The Gospel

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

GospelJN 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come."
So the Jews said,
"He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"
He said to them, "You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins."
So they said to him, "Who are you?"
Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world."
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
"When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him."
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Saint March 20 : St. Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus



MARIA JOSEFA OF THE HEART OF JESUS
SANCHO DE GUERRA (1842-1912)

IBlessed Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, eldest daughter of Bernabe Sancho, chair-maker, and of Petra de Guerra, housewife, was born in Vitoria (Spain) on September 7, 1842, and was baptized the following day. According to the custom practiced then, she was confirmed two years after, on August 10, 1844. Her father died when she was seven years old, her mother prepared her for the First Communion, that she received at ten years old. At the age of fifteen she was sent to Madrid to some relatives to receive education and a more complete formation. The characteristic traits of her infancy and childhood were: a strong piety to the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary, a remarkable sensibility towards the poor and the sick and an inclination to solitude.

She returned to Vitoria at the age of eighteen and manifested to her mother the desire to enter in a monastery, feeling an attraction to the claustered life.

From adulthood, Blessed Maria Josefa used to repeat: “I wasborn with a religious vocation.” Only that, looking at the circumstances, it shows that she passed various experiences but not without listening to different suggestions of wise churchmen, before finding the definitive form of her vocation. She was, in fact, to be on the point of entering to the Conceptionists contemplative of Aranjuez in 1860, but was prevented by the occurrence of a grave sickness of typhus. Her mother helped her to overcome the disappointment.
On the succeeding months, it seemed to her understanding that the Lord calls her to a type of religious active life. For this, she decided to enter in the Institute of the Servants of Mary, recently founded in Madrid by Saint Soledad Torres Acosta. With the coming of the time of her profession, she was assailed with grave doubts and uncertainty on her effective call in that Institute. She opened her soul to various confessors and from their advices she felt that she was mistaken on her vocation.
The meetings with the holy Archbishop Claret and the serene conversations with the same Saint Soledad Torres Acosta, gradually arrived to the decision of leaving the Institute of the Servants of Mary to give life to a new religious family, that had for its aim the exclusive assistance to the sick in the hospitals and in their homes. Sharing this same ideal with three other Servants of Mary, who with the permission of Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, went out together with her with the same purpose.
The new foundation was made in Bilbao in the spring of 1871, when Maria Josefa was twenty nine years old. Since then, and for the succeeding forty one years, she was superior of the new Institute of the Servants of Jesus. She embarked on difficult trips to visit the different communities until a long sickness confined her in the house of Bilbao. Obliged to stay on bed or in an armchair, she continued to follow the events of the various communities with in and outside Spain through a painstaking and precious correspondence. On her death, on March 20, 1912, which happened after long years of suffering, there were 43 houses founded and the number of her Sisters reached more than one thousand.
Her holy death caused great impact to Bilbao and in other numerous localities where she was known through the houses of her Institute. In the same way, her funeral had an extraordinary resonance. She was buried in the municipal cemetery of Bilbao. In 1926, her fame of sanctity grew and her mortal remains were transferred to the Mother House of the Institute and have been buried in the chapel until now. 
Source: Vatican.va

Saint March 20 : Saint Cuthbert : Bishop

Bishop of Lindisfarne, patron of Durham, born about 635; died 20 March, 687. His emblem is the head of St. Oswald, king and martyr, which he is represented as bearing in his hands. His feast is kept in Great Britain and Ireland on the 20th of March, and he is patron of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, where his commemoration is inserted among the Suffrages of the Saints. His early biographers give no particulars of his birth, and the accounts in the "Libellus de ortu", which represent him as the son of an Irish king named Muriahdach, though recently supported by Cardinal Moran and Archbishop Healy, are rejected by later English writers as legendary.
Moreover, St. Bede's phrase, Brittania . . . genuit (Vita Metricia, c. i), points to his English birth. He was probably born in the neighbourhood of Mailros (Melrose) of lowly parentage, for as a boy he used to tend sheep on the mountain-sides near that monastery. While still a child living with his foster-mother Kenswith his future lot as bishop had been foretold by a little play-fellow, whose prophecy had a lasting effect on his character.
He was influenced, too, by the holiness of the community of Mailros, where St. Eata was abbot and St. Basil prior. In the year 651, while watching his sheep, he saw in a vision the soul of St. Aidan carried to heaven by angels, and inspired by this became a monk at Mailros. Yet it would seem that the troubled state of the country hindered him from carrying out his resolution at once. Certain it is that at one part of his life he was a soldier, and the years which succeed the death of St. Aidan and Oswin of Deira seem to have been such as would call for the military service of most of the able-bodied men of Northumbria, which was constantly threatened at this time by the ambition of its southern neighbor, King Penda of Mercia. Peace was not restored to the land until some four years later, as the consequence of a great battle which was fought between the Northumbrians and the Mercians at Winwidfield.
 It was probably after this battle that Cuthbert found himself free once more to turn to the life he desired. He arrived at Mailros on horseback and armed with a spear. Here he soon became eminent for holiness and learning, while from the first his life was distinguished by supernatural occurrences and miracles. When the monastery at Ripon was founded he went there as guest-master, but in 661 he, with other monks who adhered to the customs of Celtic Christianity, returned to Mailros owing to the adoption at Ripon of the Roman Usage in celebrating Easter and other matters. Shortly after his return he was struck by a pestilence which then attacked the community, but he recovered, and became prior in place of St. Boisil, who died of the disease in 664. In this year the Synod of Whitby decided in favour of the Roman Usage, and St. Cuthbert, who accepted the decision, was sent by St. Eata to be prior at Lindisfarne, in order that he might introduce the Roman customs into that house. This was a difficult matter which needed all his gentle tact and patience to carry out successfully, but the fact that one so renowned for sanctity, who had himself been brought up in the Celtic tradition, was loyally conforming to the Roman use, did much to support the cause of St. Wilfrid. In this matter St. Cuthbert's influence on his time was very marked. At Lindisfarne he spent much time in evangelizing the people. He was noted for his devotion to the Mass, which he could not celebrate without tears, and for the success with which his zealous charity drew sinners to God.
At length, in 676, moved by a desire to attain greater perfection by means of the contemplative life, he retired, with the abbot's leave, to a spot which Archbishop Eyre identifies with St. Cuthbert's Island near Lindisfarne, but which Raine thinks was near Holburn, where "St. Cuthbert's Cave" is still shown. Shortly afterwards he removed to Farne Island, opposite Bamborough in Northumberland, where he gave himself up to a life of great austerity. After some years he was called from this retirement by a synod of bishops held at Twyford in Northumberland, under St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. At this meeting he was elected Bishop of Lindisfarne, as St. Eata was now translated to Hexham. For a long time he withstood all pressure and only yielded after a long struggle. He was consecrated at York by St. Theodore in the presence of six bishops, at Easter, 685. For two years he acted as bishop, preaching and labouring without intermission, with wonderful results. At Christmas, 686, foreseeing the near approach of death, he resigned his see and returned to his cell on Farne Island, where two months later he was seized with a fatal illness. In his last days, in March, 687, he was tended by monks of Lindisfarne, and received the last sacraments from Abbot Herefrid, to whom he spoke his farewell words, exhorting the monks to be faithful to Catholic unity and the traditions of the Fathers. He died shortly after midnight, and at exactly the same hour that night his friend St. Herbert, the hermit, also died, as St. Cuthbert had predicted.
St. Cuthbert was buried in his monastery at Lindisfarne, and his tomb immediately became celebrated for remarkable miracles. These were so numerous and extraordinary that he was called the "Wonder-worker of England". In 698 the first transfer of the relics took place, and the body was found incorrupt. During the Danish invasion of 875, Bishop Eardulf and the monks fled for safety, carrying the body of the saint with them. For seven years they wandered, bearing it first into Cumberland, then into Galloway and back to Northumberland. In 883 it was placed in a church at Chester-le-Street, near Durham, given to the monks by the converted Danish king, who had a great devotion to the saint, like King Alfred, who also honoured St. Cuthbert as his patron and was a benefactor to this church. Towards the end of the tenth century, the shrine was removed to Ripon, owing to fears of fresh invasion. After a few months it was being carried back to be restored to Chester-le-Street, when, on arriving at Durham a new miracle, tradition says, indicated that this was to be the resting-place of the saint's body. Here it remained, first in a chapel formed of boughs, then in a wooden and finally in a stone church, built on the present site of Durham cathedral, and finished in 998 or 999. While William the Conqueror was ravaging the North in 1069, the body was once more removed, this time to Lindisfarne, but it was soon restored. In 1104, the shrine was transferred to the present cathedral, when the body was again found incorrupt, with it being the head of St. Oswald, which had been placed with St. Cuthbert's body for safety — a fact which accounts for the well-known symbol of the saint.
From this time to the Reformation the shrine remained the great centre of devotion throughout the North of England. In 1542 it was plundered of all its treasures, but the monks had already hidden the saint's body in a secret place. There is a well-known tradition, alluded to in Scott's "Marmion", to the effect that the secret of the hiding-place is known to certain Benedictines who hand it down from one generation to another. In 1827 the Anglican clergy of the cathedral found a tomb alleged to be that of the saint, but the discovery was challenged by Dr. Lingard, who showed cause for doubting the identity of the body found with that of St. Cuthbert. Archbishop Eyre, writing in 1849, considered that the coffin found was undoubtedly that of the saint, but that the body had been removed and other remains substituted, while a later writer, Monsignor Consitt, though not expressing a definite view, seems inclined to allow that the remains found in 1827 were truly the bones of St. Cuthbert. Many traces of the former widespread devotion to St. Cuthbert still survive in the numerous churches, monuments, and crosses raised in his honour, and in such terms as "St. Cuthbert's patrimony", "St. Cuthbert's Cross", "Cuthbert ducks" and "Cuthbert down". The centre of modern devotion to him is found at St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, near Durham, where the episcopal ring of gold, enclosing a sapphire, taken from his finger in 1537, is preserved, and where under his patronage most of the priests for the northern counties of England are trained. His name is connected with two famous early copies of the Gospel text. The first, known as the Lindisfarne or Cuthbert Gospels (now in the British Museum, Cotton manuscripts Nero D 4), was written in the eighth century by Eadfrid, Bishop of Lindisfarne. It contains the four gospels and between the lines a number of valuable Anglo-Saxon (Northumbrian) glosses; though written by an Anglo-Saxon hand it is considered by the best judges (Westwood) a noble work of old-Irish calligraphy and illumination, Lindisfarne as is well known being an Irish foundation. The manuscript, one of the most splendid in Europe, was originally placed by its scribe as an offering on the shrine of Cuthbert, and was soon richly decorated by monastic artists (Ethelwold, Bilfrid) and provided by another (Aldred) with the aforesaid interlinear gloss (Karl Bouterwek, Die vier Evangelian in altnordhumbrischer Sprache, 1857). It has also a history scarcely less romantic than the body of Cuthbert. When in the ninth century the monks fled before the Danes with the latter treasure, they took with them this manuscript, but on one occasion lost it in the Irish Channel. After three days it was found on the seashore at Whithern, unhurt save for some stains of brine. Henceforth in the inventories of Durham and Lindisfarne it was known as "Liber S. Cuthberti qui demersus est in mare" (the book of St. Cuthbert that fell into the sea). Its text was edited by Stevenson and Warning (London, 1854-65) and since then by Kemble and Hardwick, and by Skeat (see LINDISFARNE). The second early Gospel text connected with his name is the seventh-century Gospel of St. John (now in possession of the Jesuit College at Stonyhurst, England) found in 1105 in the grave of St. Cuthbert. Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint March 20 : St. Jozef Bilczewski : Archbishop of Lviv : Poland


Jozef Bilczewski (Latin-rite) was born into a peasant family in Wilamowice on 26 April 1860. He was eldest of nine. In August 1880 he entered the Seminary of Kraków and was ordained a priest on 6 July 1884. He then moved to Vienna to continue his studies and earned a doctorate in theology. In Rome and Paris he specialized in dogmatic theology and in Christian archaeology. In 1891 he became a professor at the University of Lviv. He was appointed Archbishop of Lviv for Latins on 18 December 1900. In his episcopal mission he had to face difficulties due to internal problems and the conflicts of the First World War. He often intervened with the civil authorities on behalf of Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. The Polish-Ukrainian War (1918-19) brought a new wave of violence to the people and many priests were killed or put in prison. Then the Bolshevik invasion (1919-20) was unleashed with all its fury against the Catholic Church. He stood firm to protect one and all without distinctions of race or religion. From 1918-21 his Archdiocese lost about 120 priests. Seriously ill, he accepted sickness calmly and courageously. He died on 20 March 1923 in Lviv. Source: Vatican.va