Friday, March 30, 2018

Pope Francis Prays Way of the Cross on Good Friday "Lord Jesus, always give us the grace of holy repentance!" FULL Video + TEXT


Vatican.va Release of FULL TEXT Prayer of Pope Francis during the Way of the Cross celebrated on Good Friday at the Colosseum
Lord  Jesus, our gaze is turned to you, full of shame, repentance and hope.

In the face of your supreme love, shame pervades us for leaving you alone to suffer for our sins:

the shame to have escaped before the test even though you have said thousands of times: "even if everyone leaves you, I will never leave you";

the shame of having chosen Barabbas and not you, the power and not you, the appearance and not you, the god money and not you, the mundanity and not the eternity;

the shame for having tempted you with your mouth and heart, every time we have been in front of a trial, telling you: "if you are the messiah, save and we will believe!";
(FULL TEXT Booklet from Vatican of the Way of the Cross with Meditations available FREE 

shame because so many people, and even some of your ministers, let themselves be deceived by ambition and vain glory, losing their worthiness and their first love;

shame because our generations are leaving young people a world fractured by divisions and wars; a world devoured by selfishness where the young, the small, the sick, the elderly are marginalized;

the shame of having lost the shame;

Lord Jesus, always give us the grace of holy shame!

Our gaze is also full of a repentance that pleads your mercy before your eloquent silence:

repentance that sprouts from the certainty that only you can save us from evil, only you can heal us from our leprosy of hatred, selfishness, pride, greed, revenge, greed, idolatry, only you can embrace us by giving back the filial dignity and rejoice for our return home, to life;

the repentance that springs from feeling our smallness, our nothingness, our vanity and that lets itself be caressed by your sweet and powerful invitation to conversion;

the repentance of David who finds his only strength in you from the abyss of his misery;

the repentance born of our shame, born of the certainty that our heart will always remain restless until you find yourself and in you its only source of fullness and quietness;

the repentance of Peter who, when he met your eyes, wept bitterly for having denied you before men.

Lord Jesus, always give us the grace of holy repentance!

In front of your supreme majesty, the spark of hope lights up in the darkness of our despair because we know that your only measure of love is to love us without measure;

the hope that your message continues to inspire, even today, so many people and peoples that only good can defeat evil and wickedness, only forgiveness can bring down resentment and revenge, only the fraternal embrace can disperse the hostility and fear of the other;

hope because your sacrifice continues, still today, to emanate the scent of divine love that caresses the hearts of so many young people who continue to consecrate their lives becoming living examples of charity and gratuity in our world devoured by the logic of profit and easy money;

the hope that so many missionaries and missionaries continue, even today, to challenge the sleeping consciousness of humanity risking their lives to serve you in the poor, in the rejected, in the immigrants, in the unseen, in the exploited, in the hungry and in prisoners;

the hope that your Church, holy and made up of sinners, continues, even today, despite all the attempts to discredit it, to be a light that enlightens, encourages, lifts and bears witness to your unlimited love for humanity, a model of altruism , an ark of salvation and a source of certainty and truth;

the hope because from your cross, fruit of the greed and cowardice of so many doctors of the Law and hypocrites, the Resurrection was born transforming the darkness of the tomb in the splendor of the dawn of Sunday without sunset, teaching us that your love is our hope.

Lord Jesus, always give us the grace of holy hope!

Help us, Son of man, to undress from the arrogance of the thief on your left and the short-sighted and corrupt, who have seen in you an opportunity to exploit, a convicted to criticize, a loser to be mocked, another chance to put on one's guilt on others, and even on God.

We ask you instead, Son of God, to identify ourselves with the good thief who has looked at you with eyes full of shame, repentance and hope; who, with the eyes of faith, saw in your apparent defeat the divine victory and so knelt before your mercy and with honesty has robbed paradise! Amen!

Divine Mercy #Novena Prayer Begins- SHARE! #DivineMercy


































SHARE – PRAY – DIVINE MERCY NOVENA
JESUS said: I will deny nothing to any soul whom you will bring to the fount of My mercy. On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My bitter Passion, for graces for these souls".
  NOVENA - Say for 9 days (can be said at anytime)
Day 1. Today, bring to Me all mankind,especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me. 

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from it. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Oh omnipotence of Divine Mercy,
Salvation of sinful people,
You are a sea of mercy and compassion;
You aid those who entreat You with humility.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.
Day 2. Today bring to me the souls of priests and religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me the strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them, as through channels, My mercy flows out upon mankind.

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in us, that we may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

The fountain of God’s love
Dwells in pure hearts,
Bathed in the Sea of Mercy Radiant as stars,
bright as the dawn.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company [of chosen ones] in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
Day 3.Today bring to Me all devout and faithful souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness. 

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from it. We beg this of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

The miracles of mercy are impenetrable.
Neither the sinner nor just one will fathom them.
When You cast upon us an eye of pity,
You draw us all closer to Your love.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.
 Day 4. Today bring to Me the unbelievers and those who do not yet know me. I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. 

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of pagans who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

May the light of Your love
Enlighten the souls in darkness;
Grant that these souls will know You
And, together with us, praise Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of pagans and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Day 5. Today bring to Me the souls of heretics and schismatics, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart; that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal, and in this way they alleviate My Passion. 

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of heretics and schismatics. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Even for those who have torn the garment of your unity,
A fount of mercy flows from Your Heart.
The omnipotence of Your mercy, Oh God.
Can lead these souls also out of error.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of heretics and schismatics, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Day 6. Today bring to me the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who would keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is able to receive My grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

A truly gentle and humble soul
Already here on earth the air of paradise breathes,
And in the fragrance of her humble heart
The Creator Himself delights.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon the souls of little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Day 7. Today bring to me the souls who especially venerate and glorify My mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over My Passion and entered most deeply into My Spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy. These souls are united to Jesus and carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

A soul who praises the goodness of her Lord
Is especially loved by Him.
She is always close to the living fountain
And draws graces from Mercy Divine.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their spirit, overflowing with joy, sings a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God: Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them, I Myself will defend as My own glory, during their lifetime, and especially at the hour of their death, those souls who will venerate My fathomless mercy.
Amen.
Day 8. Today bring to Me the souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice. 

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of the purifying fire, that in that place, too, the power of Your mercy may be praised.

From that terrible heat of the cleansing fire
Rises a plaint to Your mercy,
And they receive comfort, refreshment, relief
In the stream of mingled Blood and Water.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen
Day 9. Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: “Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.” For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.

Most Compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Fire and ice cannot be joined,
Either the fire dies, or the ice melts.
But by Your mercy, O God,
You can make up for all that is lacking.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls, who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

Saint March 30 : St. John Climacus : Abbott of Sinai


Born:525, Syria
Died:30 March 606, Mount Sinai
St John, generally distinguished by the appellation of Climacus, from his excellent book entitled Climax, or the Ladder to Perfection, was born about the year 525, probably in Palestine. By his extraordinary progress in the arts and sciences he obtained very young the surname of the Scholastic. But at sixteen years of age he renounced all the advantages which the world promised him to dedicate himself to God in a religious state, in 547. He retired to Mount Sinai, which, from the time of the disciples of St. Anthony and St. Hilarion, had been always peopled by holy men, who, in imitation of Moses, when he received the law on that mountain, lived in the perpetual contemplation of heavenly things. Our novice, fearing the danger of dissipation and relaxation to which numerous communities are generally more exposed than others, chose not to live in the great monastery on the summit, but in an hermitage on the descent of the mountain, under the discipline of Martyrius, an holy ancient anchoret. By silence he curbed the insolent itch of talking about everything, an ordinary vice in learned men, but usually a mark of pride and self-sufficiency. By perfect humility and obedience he banished the dangerous desire of self-complacency in his actions. He never contradicted, never disputed with anyone. So perfect was his submission that he seemed to have no self-will. He undertook to sail through the deep sea of this mortal life securely, under the direction of a prudent guide, and shunned those rocks which he could not have escaped, had he presumed to steer alone, as he tells us. From the visible mountain he raised his heart, without interruption, in all his actions, to God, who is invisible; and, attentive to all the motions of his grace, studied only to do his will. Four years he spent in the trial of his own strength, and in learning the obligations of his state, before he made his religious profession, which was in the twentieth year of his age. In his writings he severely condemns engagements made by persons too young, or before a sufficient probation. By fervent prayer and fasting he prepared himself for the solemn consecration of himself to God, that the most intense fervour might make his holocaust the more perfect; and from that moment he seemed to be renewed in spirit; and his master admired the strides with which, like a mighty giant, the young disciple advanced daily more and more towards God, by self-denial, obedience, humility, and the uninterrupted exercises of divine love and prayer.

In the year 560, and the thirty-fifth of his age, he lost Martyrius by death; having then spent nineteen years in that place in penance and holy contemplation. By the advice of a prudent director, he then embraced an eremitical life in a plain called Thole, near the foot of Mount Sinai. His cell was five miles from the church, probably the same which had been built a little before, by order of the Emperor Justinian, for the use of the monks at the bottom of this mountain, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, as Procopius mentions. Thither he went every Saturday and Sunday to assist, with all the other anchorets and monks of that desert, at the holy office and at the celebration of the divine mysteries, when they all communicated. His diet was very sparing, though, to shun ostentation and the danger of vainglory, he ate of everything that was allowed among the monks of Egypt, who universally abstained from flesh, fish, &c. Prayer was his principal employment; and he practiced what he earnestly recommends to all Christians, that in all their actions, thoughts, and words they should keep themselves with great fervour in the presence of God, and direct all they do to his holy will. By habitual contemplation he acquired an extraordinary purity of heart, and such a facility of lovingly beholding God in all his works that this practice seemed in him a second nature. Thus he accompanied his studies with perpetual prayer. He assiduously read the holy scriptures and fathers, and was one of the most learned doctors of the church. But, to preserve the treasure of humility, he concealed, as much as possible, both his natural and acquired talents, and the extraordinary graces with which the Holy Ghost enriched his soul. By this secrecy he fled from the danger of vainglory, which, like a leech, sticks to our best actions and, sucking from them its nourishment, robs us of their fruit. As if this cell had not been sufficiently remote from the eyes of men, St. John frequently retired into a neighbouring cavern which he had made in the rock, where no one could come to disturb his devotions or interrupt his tears. So ardent were his charity and compunction, that his eyes seemed two fountains, which scarce ever ceased to flow; and his continual sighs and groans to heaven, under the weight of the miseries inseparable from his moral pilgrimage, were not to be equaled by the vehemency of the cries of those who suffer from knives and fire. Overcome by importunities, he admitted a holy anchoret named Moyses to live with him as his disciple.
God bestowed on St. John an extraordinary grace of healing the spiritual disorders of souls. Among others, a monk called Isaac was brought almost to the brink of despair by most violent temptations of the flesh. He addressed himself to St. John, who perceived by his tears how much he underwent from that conflict and struggle which he felt within himself. The servant of God commended his faith, and said, "My son, let us have recourse to God by prayer." They accordingly prostrated themselves together on the ground in fervent supplication for a deliverance, and from that time the infernal serpent left Isaac in peace. Many others resorted to St. John for spiritual advice; but the devil excited some to jealousy, who censured him as one who, out of vanity, lost much time in unprofitable discourse. The saint took this accusation, which was a mere calumny, in good part, and as a charitable admonition; he therefore imposed on himself a rigorous silence for near a twelvemonth. This, his humility and modesty, so much astonished his calumniators that they joined the rest of the monks in beseeching him to reassume his former function of giving charitable advice to all that resorted to him for it, and not to bury that talent of science which he had received for the benefit of many. He who knew not what it was to contradict others, with the same humility and deference again opened his mouth to instruct his neighbour in the rules of perfect virtue, in which office, such was the reputation of his wisdom and experience, that he was regarded as another Moses in that holy place.
St. John was now seventy-five years old, and had spent forty of them in his hermitage, when, in the year 600, he was unanimously chosen Abbot of Mount Sinai, and superior-general of all the monks and hermits in that country. Soon after he was raised to this dignity, the people of Palestine and Arabia, in the time of a great drought and famine, made their application to him as to another Elias, begging him to intercede with God in their behalf. The saint failed not, with great earnestness, to recommend their distress to the Father of mercies, and his prayer was immediately recompensed with abundant rains. St. Gregory the Great, who then sat in St. Peter's chair, wrote to our holy abbot, recommending himself to his prayers, and sent him beds, with other furniture and money, for his hospital, for the use of pilgrims near Mount Sinai. John, who had used his utmost endeavours to decline the pastoral charge when he saw it laid upon him, neglected no means which might promote the sanctification of all those who were entrusted to his care. That posterity might receive some share in the benefit of his holy instructions, John, the learned and virtuous Abbot of Raithu, a monastery situate towards the Red Sea, entreated him by that obedience he had ever practiced, even with regard to his inferiors, that he would draw up the most necessary rules by which fervent souls might arrive at Christian perfection. The saint answered him that nothing but extreme humility could have moved him to write to so miserable a sinner, destitute of every sort of virtue; but that he received his commands with respect, though far above his strength, never considering his own insufficiency. Wherefore, apprehensive of falling into death by disobedience, he took up his pen in haste, with great eagerness mixed with fear, and set himself to draw some imperfect outlines, as an unskillful painter, leaving them to receive from him, as a great master, the finishing strokes. This produced the excellent work which he called "Climax; or, the Ladder of religious Perfection." This book, being written in sentences, almost in the manner of aphorisms, abounds more in sense than words. A certain majestic simplicity- an inexpressible unction and spirit of humility, joined with conciseness and perspicuity-very much enhance the value of this performance; but its chief merit consists in the sublime sentiments and perfect description of all Christian virtues which it contains. The author confirms his precepts by several edifying examples, as of obedience and penance. In  describing a monastery of three hundred and thirty monks which he had visited near Alexandria, in Egypt, he mentions one of the principal citizens of that city, named Isidore, who, petitioning to be admitted into the house, said to the abbot, "As iron is in the hands of the smith, so am I in your hands." The abbot ordered him to remain without the gate, and to prostrate himself at the feet of everyone that passed by, begging their prayers for his soul struck with a leprosy. Thus he passed seven years in profound humility and patience. He told St. John that, during the first year, he always considered himself as a slave condemned for his sins, and sustained violent conflicts; the second year he passed in tranquillity and confidence; and the third with relish and pleasure in his humiliations. So great was his virtue that the abbot determined to present him to the bishop in order to be promoted to the priesthood, but the humility of the holy penitent prevented the execution of that design; for, having begged at least a respite, he died within ten days. St. John could not help admiring the cook of this numerous community, who seemed always recollected, and generally bathed in tears amidst his continual occupation, and asked him by what means he nourished so perfect a spirit of compunction, in the midst of such a dissipating laborious employment. He said that serving the monks, he represented to himself that he was serving not men, but God in his servants; and that the fire he always had before his eyes reminded him of that fire which will burn souls for all eternity. The moving description which our author gives of the monastery of penitents called the Prison, above a mile from the former, hath been already abridged in our language. John the Sabaite told our saint, as of a third person, that seeing himself respected in his monastery, he considered that this was not the way to satisfy for his sins; wherefore, with the leave of his abbot, he repaired to a severe monastery in Pontus, and after three years saw in a dream a schedule of his debts, to the amount in appearance of one hundred pounds of gold, of which only ten were cancelled. He therefore repeated often to himself, "Poor Antiochus, thou hast still a great debt to satisfy." After passing other thirteen years in contempt and the most fervent practices of penance, he deserved to see in a vision his whole debt blotted out. Another monk, in a grievous fit of illness, fell into a trance, in which he lay as if he had been dead for the space of an hour; but, recovering, he shut himself up in a cell, and lived a recluse twelve years, almost continually weeping, in the perpetual meditation of death. When he was near death, his brethren could only extort from him these words of edification, "He who hath death always before his eyes will never sin." John, Abbot of Raithu, explained this book of our saint by judicious comments, which are also extant. We have likewise a letter of St. John Climacus to the same person concerning the duties of a pastor, in which he exhorts him in correcting others to temper severity with mildness, and encourages him zealously to fulfil the obligations of his charge; for nothing is greater or more acceptable to God than to offer him the sacrifice of rational souls sanctified by penance and charity.
St. John sighed continually under the weight of his dignity during the four years that he governed the monks of Mount Sinai; and as he had taken upon him that burden with fear and reluctance, he with joy found means to resign the same a little before his death. Heavenly contemplation, and the continual exercise of divine love and praise, were his delight and comfort in his earthly pilgrimage: and in this imitation of the functions of the blessed spirits in heaven he placeth the essence of the monastic state. In his excellent maxims concerning the gift of holy tears, the fruit of charity, we seem to behold a lively portraiture of his most pure soul. He died in his hermitage on the 30th day of March, in 605, being fourscore years old. His spiritual son, George, who had succeeded him in the abbacy, earnestly begged of God that he  might not be separated from his dear master and guide; and followed him by a happy death within a few days. On several Greek commentaries on St. John Climacus's ladder, see Montfaucon, Biblioth. Coisliana, pp. 305, 306.
St. John Climacus, speaking of the excellence and the effects of charity, does it with a feeling and energy worthy of such a subject: "A mother," says he, "feels less pleasure when she folds within her arms the dear infant whom she nourishes with her own milk than the true child of charity does when united as he incessantly is, to his God, and folded as it were in the arms of his heavenly Father.—Charity operates in some persons so as to carry them almost entirely out of themselves. It illuminates others, and fills them with such sentiments of joy, that they cannot help crying out: The Lord is my helper and my protector: in him hath my heart confided, and I have been helped And my flesh hath flourished again, and with my will I will give praise to him. This joy which they feel in their hearts, is reflected on their countenances; and when once God has united, or, as we may say, incorporated them with his charity, he displays in their exterior, as in the reflection of a mirror, the brightness and serenity of their souls: even as Moses, being honored with a sight of God, was encompassed round by his glory." St. John Climacus composed the following prayer to obtain the gift of charity: "My God, I pretend to nothing upon this earth, except to be so firmly united to you by prayer that to be separated from you may be impossible; let others desire riches and glory; for my part, I desire but one thing, and that is, to be inseparably united to you, and to place in you alone all my hopes of happiness and repose." The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis Celebrates Good Friday Service at Vatican FULL Video of Service and FULL TEXT Homily

VIDEO Below - On Good Friday March 30, 2018, Pope Francis presided over the Good Friday Service at the Vatican. The preacher of the Papal household gave the homily. Vatican-provided FULL TEXT of the homily by Fr. Cantalamessa:
When they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness – his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -that you also may believe. (Jn 19:33-35).
No one could convince us that this solemn attestation does not correspond to historical truth, that the one who says he was there and saw it was really not there and did not see it. What is at stake, in this case, is the honesty of the author. On Calvary, at the foot of the cross, was the mother of Jesus and next to her, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” We have the testimony of an eye-witness!
He “saw” not only what was happening as everyone looked on, but in the light of the Holy Spirit after Passover he also saw the meaning of what happened: in this moment the true Lamb of God was sacrificed and the meaning of the ancient Passover was fulfilled; Christ on the cross was the new temple of God from whose side, as the prophet Ezekiel predicted (47:1ff), flowed the water of life; the spirit that he gave up at the moment of death began the new creation, just as in the beginning “the Spirit of God,” hovering over the waters, had transformed the chaos in the cosmos. John understood the meaning of Jesus’ last words: “It is fulfilled” (see Jn 19:30).
But why, we can ask ourselves, this unbounded concentration on the significance of the cross of Christ? Why is the Crucified One omnipresent in our churches, on altars, and in every place frequented by Christians? Someone has suggested, as a key to understanding the Christian mystery, that God reveals himself “sub contraria specie,” under a form contrary to what he is in reality: he reveals his power in weakness, his wisdom in foolishness, his riches in poverty.
This key, however, does not apply to the cross. On the cross God reveals himself “sub propria specie,” he reveals himself as he really is, in his most intimate and truest reality. “God is love,” John writes (1 Jn 4:10), oblative love, a love that consists in self-giving, and only on the cross does God’s infinite capacity for self-gift manifest the length to which it will go. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1); “God so loved the world that he gave [meaning to death!] his only Son” (Jn 3:16); “The Son of God . . . loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
***
In this year in which the Church will hold a Synod on Young People and aims to have them as the center of pastoral concern, the presence on Calvary of the disciple that Jesus loved holds a special message. We have every reason to believe that John joined Jesus when he was still quite young. It was a real falling in love. Everything else suddenly took second place. It was a “personal,” existential encounter. Whereas at the center of Paul’s thinking is the work of Jesus—his paschal mystery of death and resurrection—at the center of John’s thinking is the being, the person, of Jesus. This is the source of all the “I am” statements with divine resonance that punctuate his Gospel: “I am the way, the truth, and the life”; “I am the door”; simply “I am.”
John was almost certainly one of John the Baptist’s two disciples who, when Jesus appeared on the scene, followed him. When they asked, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Jesus answered, “Come and see.” “They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour” (see Jn 1:35-39). That hour decided the course of John’s life, and he never forgot it.
It is appropriate during this year that we make an effort to discover together with young people what Christ expects from them, what they can offer the Church and society. The most important thing, however, is something else: it is to help young people understand what Jesus has to offer them. John discovered it while staying with him: “fullness of joy” and “abundant life.” Let us do this in such a way that, in all the speeches about young people and to young people, the heartfelt invitation of the Holy Father in Evangelii Gaudium will resonate as an undercurrent:
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord” (EG, n. 3).
To encounter Christ personally is still possible today because he is risen; he is a living person, not a personage. Everything is possible after this personal encounter; without it, nothing will be stable or enduring.
***
Besides the example of his life, the evangelist John has also left a written message to young people. In his First Letter we read these moving words from an elder to the young people in the churches he founded:
I write to you, young men because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Do not love the world or the things in the world. (1 Jn 2:14-15)
The world that we must not love and to which we should not be conformed, as we know, is not the world created and loved by God or the people in the world whom we must always go out to meet, especially the poor and those at the lowest level of society. “Blending in” with this world of suffering and marginalization is, paradoxically, the best way of “separating” ourselves from the world because it means going in the direction from which the world flees as much as it can. It means separating ourselves from the very principle that rules the world, self-centeredness.
No, the world we must not love is something else; it is the world as it has become under the dominion of Satan and sin, the “spirit of the air,” as St. Paul calls it (see Eph 2:1-2). It plays a decisive role in public opinion, and today it is literally a spirit “of the air” because it spreads itself in infinite ways electronically through airwaves. One famous exegete writes that this spirit “is so intense and powerful that no individual can escape it. It serves as a norm and is taken for granted. To act, think or speak against this spirit is regarded as non-sensical or even as wrong and criminal. It is ‘in’ this spirit that men encounter the world and affairs, which means they accept the world as this spirit presents it to them.”1
This is what we call an adaptation to the spirit of the age, conformity. One great believing poet from the last century, T. S. Eliot, has written three verses that say more than whole books: “In a world of fugitives / The person taking the opposite direction / Will appear to run away.”2 Dear young Christians, if you will allow an old man like John to address you directly, I would exhort you: be those who take the opposite direction! Have the courage to go against the stream! The opposite direction for us is not a place but a person; it is Jesus, our friend, and redeemer.
A task and a mission are particularly entrusted to you: to rescue human love from the tragic drift in which it had ended up: love that is no longer a gift of self but only the possession—often violent and tyrannical—of another. God revealed himself on the cross as agape, the love that gives itself.
But agape is never dissociated from eros, from a love that welcomes, that pursues, that desires, and that finds joy in being loved in return. God not only exercises “charity” in loving us, he also desires us; throughout the Bible, he reveals himself as a loving and jealous spouse. His love is also “erotic” in the noble sense of that word. This is what Benedict XVI explained in his encyclical Deus Caritas est:
Eros and agape—ascending love and descending love—can never be completely separated. . . . Biblical faith does not set up a parallel universe, or one opposed to that primordial human phenomenon which is love, but rather accepts the whole man; it intervenes in his search for love in order to purify it and to reveal new dimensions of it. (nos. 7-8)
It is not a question of renouncing the joys of love, attraction, and eros but of knowing how to unite eros and agape in the desire for another, the ability to give oneself to the other, recalling what St. Paul refers to as a saying of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
This ability, however, does not come about in one day. It is necessary to prepare yourselves to make a total gift of self to another creature in marriage, or to God in consecrated life, beginning by making a gift of your time, of your smile, and of this period of your lives in the family, in the parish, and in volunteer work. This is what so many of you are already quietly doing.
On the cross Jesus not only gave us an example of self-giving love carried to the extreme; he also merited the grace for us to be able to bring it to pass, to some extent, in our lives. The water and blood that flowed from his side comes to us today in the sacraments of the Church, in God’s word, and even in just looking at the Crucified One in faith. One last thing John saw prophetically at the cross: men and women of every time and place who were turning their gaze to “the one who was pierced” and who wept tears of repentance and of consolation (see Jn 19:37 and Zac 12:10). Let us join them in the liturgical actions that will follow.
__________________________________
[1] Heinrich Schlier, Principalities and Powers in the New Testament (New York: Herder and Herder, 1961), pp. 31-32.
[2] T. S. Eliot, Family Reunion, Part II, sc. 2, in The Complete Plays of T. S. Eliot (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), p.110.
English Translation by Marsha Daigle Williamson




Wow 800 Walk the Way of the Cross through the Nation's Capital of Canada with Archbishop and Papal Nuncio






















For the 11th year in a row the Catholic Community in the Nation's Capital of Canada have walked the Way of the Cross through the streets. Starting at 9:30am the procession started at Saint Patrick's Basilica they made their way to the Supreme Court and Capital Hill saying prayers throughout. The procession was led by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa and the Papal Nuncio to Canada,
Most Rev. Luigi Bonazzi. Attending were 800 faithful who joined the walk, this included many priests and nuns. Many children also accompanied the group on a cloudy Friday. The group was strengthened by songs of the Communion and Liberation movement. The choir of this group led songs in Latin, French, Italian and English. They also provided booklets with beautiful meditations.


Good Friday Service Online - Friday March 30, 2018 - #Eucharist - Readings + Video


Good Friday of the Lord's Passion
Lectionary: 40


Reading 1IS 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at himC
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of manC
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.

Who would believe what we have heard?
To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him,
like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
nor appearance that would attract us to him.
He was spurned and avoided by people,
a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom people hide their faces,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

Responsorial PsalmPS 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25

R. (Lk 23:46) Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors."
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted,
all you who hope in the LORD.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Reading 2HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

In the days when Christ was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Verse Before The GospelPHIL 2:8-9

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.

GospelJN 18:1—19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley
to where there was a garden,
into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place,
because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards
from the chief priests and the Pharisees
and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him,
went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”
They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
He said to them, “I AM.”
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, “I AM, “
they turned away and fell to the ground.
So he again asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
Jesus answered,
“I told you that I AM.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill what he had said,
“I have not lost any of those you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it,
struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear.
The slave’s name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its scabbard.
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus,
bound him, and brought him to Annas first.
He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews
that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Now the other disciple was known to the high priest,
and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.
So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest,
went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter,
“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire
that they had made, because it was cold,
and were warming themselves.
Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus
about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him,
“I have spoken publicly to the world.
I have always taught in a synagogue
or in the temple area where all the Jews gather,
and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them.
They know what I said.”
When he had said this,
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said,
“Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong;
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.
And they said to him,
“You are not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said,
“I am not.”
One of the slaves of the high priest,
a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
Again Peter denied it.
And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.
It was morning.
And they themselves did not enter the praetorium,
in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and said,
“What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered and said to him,
“If he were not a criminal,
we would not have handed him over to you.”
At this, Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”
The Jews answered him,
“We do not have the right to execute anyone, “
in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled
that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium
and summoned Jesus and said to him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered,
“Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered,
“I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered,
“My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him,
“Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered,
“You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this,
he again went out to the Jews and said to them,
“I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again,
“Not this one but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head,
and clothed him in a purple cloak,
and they came to him and said,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
And they struck him repeatedly.
Once more Pilate went out and said to them,
“Look, I am bringing him out to you,
so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,
“Crucify him, crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered,
“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die,
because he made himself the Son of God.”
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid,
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,
“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
“Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you
and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin.”
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out
and seated him on the judge’s bench
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!”
They cried out,
“Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself,
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull,
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others,
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read,
“Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”
Now many of the Jews read this inscription,
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’
but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, “
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.


Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and that they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea,
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; 
for the tomb was close by.

What is Good Friday? The Day Jesus Died for Love of You - #GoodFriday SHARE


Good Friday,  is the Friday in Holy Week. On this day the Church remembers the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is one of the oldest feasts in the calendar. From the earliest times the Christians kept every Friday as a feast day. The origin of the term Good is not clear. Some say it is from "God's Friday" (Gottes Freitag). Sometimes, too, the day was called Long Friday by the Anglo-Saxons; so today in Denmark.
Good Friday, is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It celebrates the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. This falls on the 2nd day of the Easter Triduum after the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
During the liturgy the account of the Passion according to the Gospel of John is read, there are  intercessory prayers, and the faithful venerate the Cross by kissing it. The Liturgy ends with the distribution of Holy Communion.
 There is no Mass celebrated on Good Friday Hosts that were kept from the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday are distributed. The service on Good Friday is very solemn; the organ is not played, and all vestments are red or (Traditional Latin Mass) black.
 Fasting and Abstinence is observed on Good Friday. Catholics over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, this means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Those who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Good Friday.
Catholics are encouraged to attend the Commemoration of Our Lord's Passion on Good Friday. However, Good Friday is not a Holy Day of Obligation.  A veiled image of the Crucifix is gradually exposed to view, while the celebrant, accompanied by his assistants, sings three times the "Ecce lignum Crucis", etc. (Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the salvation of the world), to which the choir answers, each time, "Venite adoremus" (Come let us adore). During the singing of this response the whole assembly (except the celebrant) kneel in adoration. When the Cross is completely unveiled the celebrant carries it to the foot of the altar, and places it in a cushion prepared for it. He then takes off his shoes and approaches the Cross (genuflecting three times on the way) and kisses it.  Edited from the Catholic Encyclopedia