Monday, September 24, 2018

Saint September 25 : St. Finbarr - #Bishop of #Ireland

St. Finbarr
BISHOP
Feast: September 25
Information:
Feast Day:
September 25
Born:
550 AD, near Bandon, Ireland
Died:
620 AD, Cloyne, County Cork, Ireland
Patron of:
Cork
Bishop and patron of Cork, born near Bandon, about 550, died at Cloyne, 25 September, 623, was son of Amergin. He evangelized Gowran, Coolcashin, and Aghaboe, and founded a school at Eirce. For some years he dwelt in a hermitage at Gougane Barra, where a beautiful replica of Cormac's chapel has recently been erected in his honour. Finbarr was buried in the cathedral he built where Cork city now stands. He was specially honoured also at Dornoch and Barra, in Scotland. There are five Irish saints of this name.

Holy Mass with Pope Francis "In this Eucharist, as in every Eucharist, we recall the day..." Homily FULL Text + Video


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA
[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]
HOLY MASS
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS
Shrine of the Mother of God, Aglona (Latvia)
Monday, 24 September 2018
[Multimedia]


Truly, we can say that what Saint Luke tells us at the beginning of the book of the Acts of the Apostles is being repeated here today: we are joined together in prayer, in the company of Mary our Mother (cf. Acts 1:14). Today we make our own the theme of this Visit: “Show yourself as Mother!” Show us, Mother, where you continue to sing your Magnificat. Show us the places where your Son is crucified, that we may encounter your steady presence at the foot of the cross.
The Gospel of John speaks of only two moments when the life of Jesus intersects with that of his Mother: the wedding feast at Cana (cf. Jn 2:1-12) and the account we have just read, where Mary stands beneath the cross (cf. Jn 19:25-27). Perhaps the Evangelist wants to show us the Mother of Jesus in these two apparently opposite situations in life – the joy of a wedding feast and sorrow at the death of a child. In her growing understanding of the mystery of the Word, Mary points us to the Good News that the Lord wants to share with us today.
The first thing John mentions is that Mary “stands near the cross of Jesus”, close to her Son. She stood there, at the foot of the cross, with unwavering conviction, fearless and immovable. This is the main way that Mary shows herself – she stands near those who suffer, those from whom the world flees, including those who have been put on trial, condemned by all, deported. Nor is it that they are simply oppressed or exploited; they are completely “outside the system”, on the very fringes of society (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 53). The Mother also stands close by them, steadfast beneath their cross of incomprehension and suffering.
Mary also shows us how to “stand near” these situations; it demands more than simply passing by or making a quick visit, engaging in a kind of “tourism of solidarity”. Rather, it means that those in painful situations should feel us standing firmly at their side and on their side. All those discarded by society can experience the Mother who remains discreetly near them, for in their sufferings she sees the open wounds of her Son Jesus. She learned this at the foot of the cross. We too are called to “touch” the sufferings of others. Let us go out to meet our people, to console them and accompany them. Let us not be afraid to experience the power of tenderness, to get involved and let our lives become complicated for the sake of others (cf. ibid, 270). Like Mary, let us remain steadfast, our hearts at peace in God. Let us be ever ready to lift up the fallen, raise up the lowly and to help end all those situations of oppression that make people feel crucified themselves.
Jesus asks Mary to receive the beloved disciple as her son. The text tells us that they stood together at the foot of the cross, but Jesus realized that this was not enough, that they had not yet fully “received” one another. For we can stand at the side of many people, even sharing the same home, neighbourhood or workplace; we can share the faith, contemplate and experience the same mysteries, but without embracing or actually “receiving” them with love. How many married couples could speak of lives lived next to one another, but not together; how many young people feel pained by the distance separating them from adults; how many elderly people feel tolerated, but not lovingly cared for and accepted.
Certainly, when we open ourselves to others, we can get badly hurt. In political life, too, past conflicts between peoples can painfully come to the fore. Mary shows herself to be a woman open to forgiveness, to setting aside resentment and suspicion. She does not dwell on “what might have been”, had her Son’s friends, or the priests of his people and their rulers, acted differently. She does not give in to frustration or helplessness. Mary trusts Jesus and receives his disciple, for the relationships that heal us and free us are those that open us to encounter and fraternity with others, in whom we find God himself (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 92). Bishop Sloskans, who rests here, after being arrested and sent away, wrote to his parents: “I beg you from the bottom of my heart: do not let vengeance or exasperation find a way into your hearts. If we permitted that to happen, we would not be true Christians, but fanatics”. Sometimes we see a return to ways of thinking that would have us be suspicious of others, or would show us with statistics that we would be better off, more prosperous and more secure just by ourselves. At those times, Mary and the disciples of these lands invite us to “receive” our brothers and sisters, to care for them, in a spirit of universal fraternity.
Mary also shows herself as the woman who is willing to be received, who humbly lets herself become part of the disciple’s world. At the wedding feast, when the lack of wine might have left the celebration full of rituals but drained of love and joy, she commanded the servants to do what Jesus told them (cf. Jn 2:5). Now, as an obedient disciple, she is willing to accept, to go along with, the pace of someone younger than herself. Harmony is always difficult when we are different, when our differences of age, life experiences and circumstances lead us to feel, think and act in ways that, at first sight, seem opposed. When, in faith, we listen to the command to receive and be received, it becomes possible to build unity in diversity, for differences neither restrain nor divide us, but allow us to look more deeply and to see others in their most profound dignity, as sons and daughters of the same Father (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 228).
In this Eucharist, as in every Eucharist, we recall the day of Golgotha. From the foot of the cross, Mary invites us to rejoice that we have been received as her sons and daughters, even as her Son Jesus invites us to receive her into our own homes and to make her a part of our lives. Mary wants to give us her courage, so that we too can remain steadfast, and her humility, so that, like her, we can adapt to whatever life brings. In this, her Shrine, she begs that all of us may recommit ourselves to welcoming one another without discrimination. In this way, all in Latvia may know that we are willing to show preference to the poor, to raise up those who have fallen, and to receive others just as they come, just as they are.

End of Mass Greeting of His Holiness Pope Francis
Dear brothers and sisters,
At the end of this celebration, I thank your bishop for the words he has addressed to me. I want to also to thank, from my heart, all those who in different ways have worked for this visit. In particular, I express my deep gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic and to the authorities of the country for their welcome.


I offer to the Most Holy Mother of God, in this “Marian Land”, a special Rosary: May the Blessed Virgin protect and accompany you always.

#BreakingNews Cardinal Zen speaks on China-Vatican Agreement "Saying nothing in many words" - FULL TEXT


Card Zen on the China-Vatican agreement: Saying nothing in many words
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun Hong Kong (AsiaNews) –
Following reports about today’s signing of a provisional agreement between China and the Holy See on the nomination of bishops, the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, Card Joseph Zen, sent the following statement to AsiaNews.
 A masterpiece of saying nothing in many words The long-awaited press release from the Holy See is a masterpiece of creativity in saying nothing in many words. It says that the agreement is provisional, without saying how long it will be valid; it says that it provides periodic reviews without saying when the first deadline will be. After all, any agreement can be considered provisional since one of the two parties can always ask for a change or even the cancellation of the agreement. But the important thing is that if nobody asks to change or cancel the agreement, this, even if provisional, remains in place. The word "provisional" says nothing. "The agreement is about the appointment of bishops". The Holy See has said that many times for a long time. So, what is the result of all this work? What is the answer to our long wait? Nothing is said! Is it secret? The whole statement boils down to "There was the signing of an agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China on the appointment of Bishops". All the rest are meaningless words. So, what is the message the Holy See intends to send to the faithful in China with this statement? "Have faith in us, accept what we have decided"(?) And what will the government say to Catholics in China? "Obey us, the Holy See already agrees with us"(?) Are we to accept and obey without knowing what must be accepted, to what one must obey? An obedience tamquam cadaver to quote Saint Ignatius? We are particularly concerned to know if "the appointment of Bishops" also includes giving legitimacy to the seven. Does it include reappointing the bishops of the "underground" community presented this time by the government? What about those who won’t accept reappointment? Do we just thank the government for finally recognising them as bishops emeriti?
FULL TEXT SHARE from AsiaNews IT

Pope Francis at Ecumenical Service "May the Holy Spirit arm us with the weapons of dialogue, understanding and desire for mutual recognition..." FULL Text + Video

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA
[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]
ECUMENICAL PRAYER
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Rigas, Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral (Latvia)
Monday, 24 September 2018
[Multimedia]


It is a great pleasure for me to meet with you in this land marked by a journey of recognition, cooperation and friendship between the different Christian churches, which have succeeded in building unity while preserving the unique and rich identity of each. I might say that this is a “lived ecumenism” that is one of Latvia’s special traits. Without a doubt, it is a reason for hope and thanksgiving.
I thank Archbishop Jānis Vanags for having opened his doors to us for this prayer meeting. For over eight hundred years, this cathedral has been home to the Christian life of this city, a faithful witness to all those brothers and sisters of ours who have come here to worship and pray, to sustain their hope in moments of trial and to find the courage to face times of great injustice and suffering. Today it welcomes us, so that the Holy Spirit can continue to weave bonds of communion between us and so make us weavers of unity in our cities, lest our differences turn into divisions. May the Holy Spirit arm us with the weapons of dialogue, understanding and desire for mutual recognition and fraternity (cf. Eph 6:13-18).
This cathedral is also home to one of the oldest organs in Europe, which at the time of its inauguration was the largest in the world. We can imagine how it accompanied the life, the creativity, the imagination and the devotion of all those who were moved by its sound. It has been the instrument of God and of men for lifting of eyes and hearts to heaven. Today it is a symbol of this city and its cathedral.
For those who live here, it is more than a monumental organ; it is part of the life, traditions and identity of this place. For tourists, though, it is a work of art to look at and to photograph. This is a recurring danger for all of us: from “residents” we can become “tourists”. We can take what gives us our very identity and turn it into a curio from the past, a tourist attraction, a museum piece that recalls the achievements of earlier ages, an object of great historical value, but no longer one capable of thrilling the hearts of those who encounter it.
The same thing can happen with faith. We can stop feeling like “resident” Christians and become tourists. We could even say that our whole Christian tradition can run the same risk. The risk of ending up as a museum piece, enclosed within the walls of our churches, and no longer giving out a tune capable of moving the hearts and inspiring the lives of those who hear it. Nonetheless, as the Gospel we just heard tells us, our faith is not to be hidden away, but to be made known and to resound in the various sectors of society, so that all can contemplate its beauty and be illumined by its light (cf. Lk 11:33).
If the music of the Gospel is no longer heard in our lives, or becomes a mere period piece, it will no longer be capable of breaking through the monotony that stifles hope and makes all our activity fruitless.
If the music of the Gospel ceases to resonate in our very being, we will lose the joy born of compassion, the tender love born of trust, the capacity for reconciliation that has its source in our knowledge that we have been forgiven and sent forth.
If the music of the Gospel ceases to sound in our homes, our public squares, our workplaces, our political and financial life, then we will no longer hear the strains that challenge us to defend the dignity of every man and woman, whatever his or her origin. We will become caught up in what is “mine”, neglecting what is “ours”: our common home, which is also our common responsibility.
If the music of the Gospel is no longer heard, we will lose the sounds that guide our lives to heaven and become locked into one of the worst ills of our day: loneliness and isolation. That illness takes hold in those who have no relationships; it can be seen in elderly persons abandoned to their fate, but also in young people lacking points of reference or opportunities for the future (cf. Address to the European Parliament, 25 November 2014).
“Father, that all may be one… so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). These words, thank God, continue to echo in our midst. They are those of Jesus praying to the Father before his passion. As he looked ahead to his own cross, and the crosses of so many of our brothers and sisters, Jesus continued to pray to the Father. This constant and quiet prayer marks out a path for us; it shows us the way to follow. Immersed in this prayer, as believers in him and in his Church, we desire the communion of grace that corresponds to the Father’s plan from all eternity (cf. SAINT JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Ut Unum Sint, 9). And we discover there the only path possible for all ecumenism: that of confronting the cross of suffering experienced by so many young people, elderly persons and young children all too often exploited, lacking meaning in life, deprived of opportunities and suffering from loneliness. Jesus turning to his Father, and to us his brothers and sisters, continues to pray: “that all may be one”.
Unity is something that our mission today continues to demand of us. This mission requires us to stop looking at past injuries and self-referential approaches in order to focus on the Master’s prayer. Our mission is to ensure that the music of the Gospel continues to be heard in our public squares.
Some may well say that the times in which we live are complex, that the times are difficult. Others may think that in our societies Christians have less and less margins of action or influence for any number of reasons, such as secularism or individualism. This may not lead to a closed and defensive mentality, even an attitude of resignation. Certainly, we have to admit that these are not easy times, especially for our many brothers and sisters who today, in their flesh, experience exile and even martyrdom for the faith. Yet their witness makes us realize that the Lord continues to call us, asking us to live the Gospel radically, in joy and gratitude. If Christ deemed us worthy to live in these times, at this hour – the only hour we have – we cannot let ourselves be overcome by fear, nor allow this time to pass without living it fully with joyful fidelity. The Lord will give us the strength to make every age, every moment, every situation, an opportunity for communion and reconciliation with the Father and with our brothers and sisters, especially those nowadays considered inferior, worthy of being discarded. If Christ considered us worthy to ensure that the melody of the Gospel be heard, can we fail to do so?
The unity to which the Lord calls us is always a “missionary” unity. It summons us to reach out to the heart of our peoples and cultures, to the postmodern society in which we live, “where new narratives and paradigms are being formed”, and in this way “to bring the word of Jesus to the inmost soul of our cities” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 74). We will carry out this ecumenical mission if we let ourselves be imbued by the Spirit of Jesus. He can “break through the dull categories with which we would enclose him; he constantly amazes us by his divine creativity. Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world” (ibid., 11).


Dear brothers and sisters, may the music of the Gospel continue to resound in our midst. May its music never cease to inspire our hearts to dream and our eyes to contemplate the life that the Lord calls us, all of us, to live to the full. And to be his disciples in the midst of the world in which we are called to live.

Pope Francis "Neither the Nazi regime, nor the Soviet regime could extinguish the faith in your hearts." in Latvia Cathedral FULL TEXT + Video

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA
[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]
VISIT TO THE CATHOLIC SAINT JAMES’ CATHEDRAL
GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER
Saint James’ Cathedral (Riga, Latvia)
Monday, 24 September 2018
[Multimedia]


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank the Archbishop for his kind words and his clear analysis of how things stand. Being in your presence, dear elderly brothers and sisters, reminds me of two phrases in the Letter of the Apostle Saint James, to whom this Cathedral is dedicated. At the beginning and at the end of his Letter, albeit using two different words, he encourages us to remain steadfast. I am certain that we can appreciate the message that James, the brother of the Lord, wants us to hear.
Those of you who are present were subjected to any number of trials: the horror of war, then political repression, persecution and exile, as your Archbishop has described. Yet you remained steadfast; you persevered in faith. Neither the Nazi regime, nor the Soviet regime could extinguish the faith in your hearts. Neither could they stop some of you from becoming priests, religious sisters, catechists, or from serving the Church in other ways that put your lives at risk. You fought the good fight; you ran the race, you kept the faith (cf. 2 Tm 4:7).
Saint James stresses that this constancy in faith overcomes trials and produces perfect works (cf. 1:2-4). Your work, however perfect in those days, must also tend to perfection in today’s new situations. You, who devoted body and soul, who have given your life to winning freedom for your native land, now often find yourselves cast aside. Paradoxical as it may seem, nowadays, in the name of freedom, free men and women subject the elderly to solitude, abandonment, lack of assistance, social exclusion and even poverty. If that is the case, then the so-called train of freedom and progress has ended up with the very people who fought to gain those rights as its last car, onlookers at other people’s party, honoured in words but forgotten in daily life (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 234).
Saint James tells you nonetheless to persevere, not to give up. “Along this journey, the cultivation of all that is good, progress in the spiritual life and growth in love are the best counterbalance to evil” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 163). Do not yield to disappointment or grief. Do not lose your gentleness, much less your hope.
At the end of his Letter, Saint James once more exhorts us to be patient (5:7). There, he uses a word that implies both patient endurance and patient expectation. In your families and your homeland, I encourage you to be also an example of both these attitudes: patient endurance and patient expectation, both marked by patience. In this way you will continue to build your people.
Because of your length of years, you are living witnesses of perseverance in the face of adversity, but also a prophetic gift to remind younger generations that the care and protection of those who have gone before us is loved and valued by God, and cries out to God when it is disregarded.
Because of your length of years, do not forget that you are the roots of a people, the roots of young shoots that need to flourish and bear fruit. Protect those roots; keep them alive, so that children and young people can be grafted onto them and come to understand that “all the blossoms on the tree draw life from lies buried beneath”(F. L. BERNÁRDEZ, Sonnet Si para recobrar lo recobrado).
The words inscribed on the pulpit of this Cathedral say: “O that today you might hear his voice! Harden not your hearts” (cf. Ps 95:7-8). A hardened heart is one that has become sclerotic and lost the joy of God’s constant newness. May we never cease to be young of heart, to taste and see the goodness of the Lord, always, to the very end of our days (cf. Ps 34:9).

Pope Francis in Latvia "I am happy to know that the Catholic Church, in cooperation with other Christian churches, is an important part of those roots." FULL TEXT + Video


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO LITHUANIA, LATVIA AND ESTONIA
[22-25 SEPTEMBER 2018]
MEETING WITH THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Reception Hall of the Presidential Palace (Riga, Latvia)
Monday, 24 September 2018
[Multimedia]


Mr President,
Members of Government and State Authorities,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Representatives of Civil Society,
Dear Friends,
I am grateful, Mr President, for your kind words of welcome, and for the invitation to visit Latvia that you extended to me during our meeting in the Vatican. I am happy to be here for the first time, both in Latvia and in this city, that, like the entire country, has known difficult social, political, economic and spiritual struggles, the fruit of past divisions and conflicts, yet today has become one of the principal cultural, political and shipping centres of the region. Your contributions to culture, art and music in particular are well known beyond your borders. And today I also was able to appreciate these on my arrival at the airport. With the words of the Psalmist, you can indeed say: “You have turned my mourning into dancing (Ps 30:12). Latvia, the land of the Dainas, has turned its sorrows and pain into singing and dancing, and has sought to become a place of dialogue and encounter, of a coexistence that is peaceful and looks to the future.
This year you are celebrating the centenary of your nation’s independence, a significant moment for the life of society as a whole. You know all too well the price of that freedom, which you have had to win over and over again. It is a freedom made possible thanks to your roots that, as Zenta Maurina, who inspired so many of you, observed, “are in heaven”. Without this ability to look up, to appeal to greater horizons that remind us of that “transcendent dignity” with which all of us, as human beings, have been endowed (cf. Address to the European Parliament, 25 November 2014), the rebuilding of your nation would not have been possible. That spiritual capacity to see more deeply, as expressed in small and daily gestures of solidarity, compassion and mutual assistance, has sustained you and in turn has given you the creativity needed to generate new social processes, despite the currents of reductionism and exclusion that always threaten the fabric of society.
I am happy to know that the Catholic Church, in cooperation with other Christian churches, is an important part of those roots. This cooperation shows that it is possible to build communion within differences. It happens when people are motivated to leave superficial conflicts behind and to see one another in their deeper dignity. Indeed, when we, as individuals and communities, learn to look beyond ourselves and our particular interests, then understanding and mutual commitment bear fruit in solidarity. Such solidarity, understood in its deepest and most challenging sense, becomes a way of making history in a region where conflicts, tensions and even groups once considered inimical can attain a multifaceted unity that gives rise to new life (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 228). The Gospel has nourished the life of your people in the past; today it can continue to open new paths enabling you to face present challenges, to value differences and, above all, to encourage “com-union” between all.
The celebration of this centenary reminds us of how important it is to treasure Latvia’s freedom and independence. These are certainly a gift, but also a task for everyone. To work for liberty is to commit oneself to the integral and integrating development of individuals and the community. If today we can celebrate, it is due to all those who blazed trails and opened a door to the future, and bequeathed to you that same responsibility: to open a door to the future by looking to everything that stands at the service of life, of generating life.
At the conclusion of our meeting, we will go to the Freedom Monument, where children, young people and families will be present. They remind us that “the motherhood” of Latvia – analogously echoed in the theme of this Visit – is reflected in the ability to promote truly effective strategies centred more on the concrete faces of these families, elderly persons, children and young people, than in the primacy of economy over life. Latvia’s “motherhood” is also manifested in her ability to generate employment opportunities, so that no one will need to be uprooted in order to build a future. The index of human development is likewise measured by the capacity to increase and multiply. The development of communities is not produced, much less measured, solely by the amount of goods or resources they possess, but rather by their desire to engender life and build for the future. This is only possible to the extent that they are rooted in the past, creative in the present, and confident and hopeful in looking to the future. Then too, it is measured by their capacity for self-sacrifice and commitment, in imitation of the example of past generations.


Mr President, dear friends: As I begin my pilgrimage in this land, I ask God to continue to accompany, bless and prosper the work of your hands in the service of this nation.
FULL TEXT Share from Vatican.va - Official Translation

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. September 24, 2018 - #Eucharist


Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 449

Reading 1PRV 3:27-34

Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim
when it is in your power to do it for him.
Say not to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give,” when you can give at once.

Plot no evil against your neighbor,
against one who lives at peace with you.
Quarrel not with a man without cause,
with one who has done you no harm.

Envy not the lawless man
and choose none of his ways:
To the LORD the perverse one is an abomination,
but with the upright is his friendship.

The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
but the dwelling of the just he blesses;
When dealing with the arrogant, he is stern,
but to the humble he shows kindness.

Responsorial PsalmPS 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5

R. (1) The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.

AlleluiaMT 5:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd:
"No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away."

Saint September 24 : Our Lady of Mercy or Ransom : with #Novena Prayer - Patron of #Prisoners

Our Lady of Ransom, September 24
Also Known as the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy

From
THE LITURGICAL YEAR, Dom Gueranger


THE Office of the time gives us, at the close of September, the Books of Judith and Esther. These heroic women were figures of Mary, whose birthday is the honor of this month, and who comes at once to bring assistance to the world.

'Adonai, Lord God, great and admirable, Who hast wrought salvation by the hand of a woman:' the Church thus introduces the history of the heroine, who delivered Bethulia by the sword, whereas Mardochai's niece rescued her people from death by her winsomeness and her intercession. The Queen of Heaven, in her peerless perfection, outshines them both, in gentleness, in valor, and in beauty. Today's feast is a memorial of the strength she puts forth for the deliverance of her people.

Finding their power crushed in Spain, and in the east checked by the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, the Saracens, in the twelfth century, became wholesale pirates, and scoured the seas to obtain slaves for the African markets. We shudder to think of the numberless victims, of every age, sex, and condition, suddenly carried off from the coasts of Christian lands, or captured on the high seas, and condemned to the disgrace of the harem or the miseries of the bagnio. Here, nevertheless, in many an obscure prison, were enacted scenes of heroism worthy to compare with those witnessed in the early persecutions; here was a new field for Christian charity; new horizons opened out for heroic self-devotion. Is not the spiritual good thence arising a sufficient reason for the permission of temporal ills? Without this permission, Heaven would have for ever lacked a portion of its beauty.

When, in 1696, Innocent XII extended this feast to the whole Church, he afforded the world an opportunity of expressing its gratitude by a testimony as universal as the benefit received.

Differing from the Order of holy Trinity, which had been already twenty years in existence, the Order of Mercy was founded as in were in the very face of the Moors; and hence it originally numbered more knights than clerics among its members. It was called the royal, military, and religious Order of our Lady of Mercy for the ransom of captives. The clerics were charged with the celebration of the Divine Office in the commandaries; the knights guarded the coasts, and undertook the perilous enterprise of ransoming Christian captives. St. Peter Nolasco was the first Commander or Grand Master of the Order; when his relics were discovered, he was found armed with sword and cuirass.  . . .


At the time when the Saracen yoke oppressed the larger and more fertile part of Spain, and great numbers of the faithful were detained in cruel servitude, at the great risk of denying the Christian faith and losing their eternal salvation, the most blessed Queen of Heaven graciously came to remedy all these great evils, and showed her exceeding charity in redeeming her children. She appeared with beaming countenance to Peter Nolasco, a man conspicuous for wealth and piety, who in his holy meditations was ever striving to devise some means of helping the innumerable Christians living in misery as captives of the Moors. She told him it would be very pleasing to her and her only-begotten Son, if a religious Order were instituted in her honor, whose members should devote themselves to delivering captives from Turkish tyranny.

Animated by this heavenly vision, the man of God was inflamed with burning love, having but one desire at heart, viz.: that both he and the Order he was to found, might be devoted to the exercise of that highest charity, the laying down of life for one's friends and neighbors.

That same night, the most holy Virgin appeared also to blessed Raymund of Penafort, and to James, king of Aragon, telling them of her wish to have the Order instituted, and exhorting them to lend their aid to so great an undertaking. Meanwhile Peter hastened to relate the whole matter to Raymund, who was his confessor; and finding it had been already revealed to him from Heaven, submitted humbly to his direction. King James next arrived, fully resolved to carry out the instructions he also had received from the blessed Virgin. Having therefore taken counsel together and being all of one mind, they set about instituting an Order in honor of the Virgin Mother, under the invocation of our Lady of Mercy for the ransom of captives.

On the tenth of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand two hundred and eighteen, King James put into execution what the two holy men had planned. The members of the Order bound themselves by a fourth vow to remain, when necessary, as securities in the power of the pagans, in order to deliver Christians. The king granted them license to bear his royal arms upon their breast, and obtained from Gregory IX the confirmation of this religious institute distinguished by such eminent brotherly charity. God Himself gave increase to the work, through the Virgin Mother; so that the Order spread rapidly and prosperously over the whole world. It soon reckoned many holy men remarkable for their charity and piety who collected alms from Christ's faithful, to be spent in redeeming their brethren; and sometimes gave themselves up all ransom for many others.

In order that due thanks might be rendered to God and His Virgin Mother for the benefit of such an institution, the Apostolic See allowed this special feast and Office to be celebrated and also granted innumerable other privileges to the Order.

Blessed be thou, O Mary, the honor and the joy of thy people! On the day of thy glorious Assumption, thou didst take possession of thy queenly dignity for our sake; and the annals of the human race are a record of thy merciful interventions. The captives whose chains thou hast broken, and whom thou hast set free from the degrading yoke of the Saracens, may be reckoned by millions. We are still rejoicing in the recollection of thy dear birthday; and thy smile is sufficient to dry our tears and chase away the clouds of grief. And yet, what sorrows there are still upon the earth, where thou thyself didst drink such long draughts from the cup of suffering! Sorrows are sanctifying and beneficial to some but there are other and unprofitable grief, springing from social injustice: the drudgery of the factory, or the tyranny of the strong over the weak, may be worse than slavery in Algiers or Tunis. Thou alone, O Mary, canst break the inextricable chains, in which the cunning prince of darkness entangles the dupes he has deceived by the high- sounding names of equality and liberty. Show thyself a Queen, by coming to the rescue. The whole  earth, the entire human race, cries out to thee, in the words of Mordechai: 'Speak to the King for us, and deliver us from death!'
 
Novena to Our Lady of Ransom O Immaculate and wholly pure Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the world, hope of those who are in despair, thou art the joy of the Saints; thou art the peacemaker between sinners and God; thou art the advocate of the abandoned, the secure haven of those who are on the sea of the world; thou art the consolation of the world, the ransom of slaves, the comfortress of the afflicted, the salvation of the universe. O great Queen, we take refuge in thy protection: 'We have no confidence but in thee, O most faithful Virgin.' After God thou art all our hope. We bear the name of thy servants; allow not the enemy to drag us to hell. I salute thee, O great Mediatress of peace, between men and God, Mother of Jesus our Lord, who is the love of all men and of God, to whom be honor and benediction with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Amen. (Prayer of St. Ephrem) Our Father, … Glory Be, … Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To Thee to we cry poor banished children of Eve, to Thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then most gracious Advocate thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us O holy Mother of God, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen Please recite this novena daily for nine consecutive days, 

Saint September 24 : St. Pacific of San Severino - #Franciscan

Born at San Severino, in the March of Ancona, 1 March, 1653; died there 24 September, 1721; the son of Antonio M. Divini and Mariangela Bruni. His parents died soon after his confirmation when three years old; he suffered many hardships until in December, 1670, he took the Franciscan habit in the Order of the Reformati, at Forano, in the March of Ancona, and was ordained on 4 June, 1678, subsequently becoming Lector or Professor of Philosophy (1680-83) for the younger members of the order, after which, for five or six years, he laboured as a missionary among the people of the surrounding country. He then suffered lameness, deafness, and blindness for nearly twenty-nine years. Unable to give missions, he cultivated more the contemplative life. He bore his ills with angelic patience, worked several miracles, and was favoured by God with ecstasies. Though a constant sufferer, he held the post of guardian in the monastery of Maria delle Grazie in San Severino (1692-3), where he died. His cause for beatification was begun in 1740; he was beatified by Pius VI, 4 August, 1786, and solemnly canonized by Gregory XVI, 26 May, 1839. His feast is celebrated on 24 September. Text from the Catholic Encyclopedia