Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Saint December 27 : St. John the #Apostle : Patron of #Authors, #Theologians, Publishers, Friendships, and Painters


Died:

101, Ephesus, Asia Minor
Patron of:
Authors, burns, poisoning, theologians, publishers, booksellers, editors, friendships, and painters.
John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of James the Greater. In the Gospels the two brothers are often called after their father "the sons of Zebedee" and received from Christ the honourable title of Boanerges, i.e. "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17). Originally they were fishermen and fished with their father in the Lake of Genesareth. According to the usual and entirely probable explanation they became, however, for a time disciples of John the Baptist, and were called by Christ from the circle of John's followers, together with Peter and Andrew, to become His disciples (John 1:35-42). The first disciples returned with their new Master from the Jordan to Galilee and apparently both John and the others remained for some time with Jesus (cf. John ii, 12, 22; iv, 2, 8, 27 sqq.). Yet after the second return from Judea, John and his companions went back again to their trade of fishing until he and they were called by Christ to definitive discipleship (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20). In the lists of the Apostles John has the second place (Acts 1:13), the third (Mark 3:17), and the fourth (Matthew 10:3; Luke 6:14), yet always after James with the exception of a few passages (Luke 8:51; 9:28 in the Greek text; Acts 1:13).
From James being thus placed first, the conclusion is drawn that John was the younger of the two brothers. In any case John had a prominent position in the Apostolic body. Peter, James, and he were the only witnesses of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37), of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1), and of the Agony in Gethsemani (Matthew 26:37). Only he and Peter were sent into the city to make the preparation for the Last Supper (Luke 22:8). At the Supper itself his place was next to Christ on Whose breast he leaned (John 13:23, 25). According to the general interpretation John was also that "other disciple" who with Peter followed Christ after the arrest into the palace of the high-priest (John 18:15). John alone remained near his beloved Master at the foot of the Cross on Calvary with the Mother of Jesus and the pious women, and took the desolate Mother into his care as the last legacy of Christ (John 19:25-27). After the Resurrection John with Peter was the first of the disciples to hasten to the grave and he was the first to believe that Christ had truly risen (John 20:2-10). When later Christ appeared at the Lake of Genesareth John was also the first of the seven disciples present who recognized his Master standing on the shore (John 21:7). The Fourth Evangelist has shown us most clearly how close the relationship was in which he always stood to his Lord and Master by the title with which he is accustomed to indicate himself without giving his name: "the disciple whom Jesus loved". After Christ's Ascension and the Descent of the Holy Spirit, John took, together with Peter, a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the Church. We see him in the company of Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple (Acts 3:1 sqq.). With Peter he is also thrown into prison (Acts 4:3). Again, we find him with the prince of the Apostles visiting the newly converted in Samaria (Acts 8:14).
We have no positive information concerning the duration of this activity in Palestine. Apparently John in common with the other Apostles remained some twelve years in this first field of labour, until the persecution of Herod Agrippa I led to the scattering of the Apostles through the various provinces of the Roman Empire (cf. Acts 12:1-17). Notwithstanding the opinion to the contrary of many writers, it does not appear improbable that John then went for the first time to Asia Minor and exercised his Apostolic office in various provinces there. In any case a Christian community was already in existence at Ephesus before Paul's first labours there (cf. "the brethren", Acts 18:27, in addition to Priscilla and Aquila), and it is easy to connect a sojourn of John in these provinces with the fact that the Holy Ghost did not permit the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey to proclaim the Gospel in Asia, Mysia, and Bithynia (Acts 16:6 sq.). There is just as little against such an acceptation in the later account in Acts of St. Paul's third missionary journey. But in any case such a sojourn by John in Asia in this first period was neither long nor uninterrupted. He returned with the other disciples to Jerusalem for the Apostolic Council (about A.D. 51). St. Paul in opposing his enemies in Galatia names John explicitly along with Peter and James the Less as a "pillar of the Church", and refers to the recognition which his Apostolic preaching of a Gospel free from the law received from these three, the most prominent men of the old Mother-Church at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9). When Paul came again to Jerusalem after the second and after the third journey (Acts 18:22; 21:17 sq.) he seems no longer to have met John there. Some wish to draw the conclusion from this that John left Palestine between the years 52 and 55.
 Both the Epistles and the Apocalypse, however, presuppose that their author John belonged to the multitude of personal eyewitnesses of the life and work of Christ (cf. especially 1 John 1:1-5; 4:14), that he had lived for a long time in Asia Minor, was thoroughly acquainted with the conditions existing in the various Christian communities there, and that he had a position of authority recognized by all Christian communities as leader of this part of the Church. Moreover, the Apocalypse tells us that its author was on the island of Patmos "for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus", when he was honoured with the heavenly Revelation contained in the Apocalypse (Revelation 1:9).
Text : Catholic Encyclopedia 

Wow Ad touches your Heart with the #Peace of #Christmas....#ViralVideo reaches #Millions - SHARE!

100 years ago, on Christmas Eve 1914, unofficial truces spread across the front lines  of World War One. Made in partnership with The Royal British Legion, this ad commemorates the extraordinary events of Christmas Day, 1914, when the guns fell silent and two armies met in no-man’s land, sharing gifts – and even playing football together. The chocolate bar featured in the ad is on sale now at Sainsbury’s. All profits (50p per bar) will go to The Royal British Legion and will benefit our armed forces and their families, past and present. This commercial shows how soldiers slowly abandoned their trenches and exchange greetings with their enemies. The video was published to YouTube on and has over 8 million views. The second Video explains the true story...
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Pope Francis "..Forgiveness is cultivated by prayer, which allows us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus." FULL TEXT + Video on St. Stephen's Day

FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN PROTOMARTYR
ANGELUS

St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 26 December 2018


Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The joy of Christmas still floods our hearts: the marvelous proclamation that Christ is born for us continues and brings peace to the world. In this atmosphere of joy, today we celebrate the feast of St. Stephen, deacon and first martyr. It might seem strange to approach the memory of St. Stephen at the birth of Jesus, because the contrast between the joy of Bethlehem and the drama of Stephen, stoned in Jerusalem in the first persecution against the nascent Church, emerges. In reality it is not so, because the Child Jesus is the Son of God made man, who will save humanity by dying on the cross. Now we contemplate him wrapped in swaddling clothes in the crib; after his crucifixion he will be wrapped again with bandages and placed in a sepulcher.

Saint Stephen was the first to follow in the footsteps of the divine Master with martyrdom; he died like Jesus entrusting his life to God and forgiving his persecutors. Two attitudes: he entrusted his life to God and forgave. While he was being stoned he said: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7,59). These words are very similar to those pronounced by Christ on the cross: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Lk 23, 46). The attitude of Stephen who faithfully imitates the gesture of Jesus is an invitation addressed to each of us to welcome with faith from the hands of the Lord what life holds for us as positive and even negative. Our existence is marked not only by happy circumstances - we know it - but also by moments of difficulty and loss. But trust in God helps us to accept the difficult moments and to live them as an opportunity for growth in faith and building new relationships with our brothers. It is about abandoning ourselves in the hands of the Lord, who we know to be a Father rich in goodness towards his children.

The second attitude with which Stephen imitated Jesus at the extreme moment of the cross is forgiveness. He does not curse his persecutors, but prays for them: "He bent his knees and cried out with a loud voice," Lord, do not charge them for this sin "» (Acts 7:60). We are called to learn from him to forgive, to always forgive, and it is not easy to do it, we all know it. Forgiveness enlarges the heart, generates sharing, gives serenity and peace. The proto-martyr Stefano shows us the way to go in interpersonal relationships in the family, in the places of school, in the workplace, in the parish and in the different communities. Always open to forgiveness. The logic of forgiveness and mercy is always winning and opens horizons of hope. But forgiveness is cultivated by prayer, which allows us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Stephen was able to forgive his killers because, full of the Holy Spirit, he stared at the sky and had his eyes open on God (cf. , 55). From the prayer came the strength to suffer martyrdom. We must pray insistently on the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us the gift of fortitude that heals our fears, our weaknesses, our trifles and enlarges our hearts to forgive. Always forgive!

We invoke the intercession of Our Lady and St. Stephen: their prayer helps us to always entrust ourselves to God, especially in difficult times, and supports us in the resolve to be men and women capable of forgiveness.

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

I greet all of you pilgrims, coming from Italy and from various countries. I renew to all of you the wish that the contemplation of the Child Jesus, the heart and center of the Christmas festivities, may arouse attitudes of fraternity and sharing in families and communities.

In these days I have received many greetings from Rome and other parts of the world. I can not answer each one, but I pray for each one of them. Therefore, today I express to you and to all my sincere gratitude, especially for the gift of prayer that so many of you have promised to do. Thank you very much!

Happy St. Stephen's Day and please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!


Source: Full Text Share from Vatican.va - Original in Italian - Unofficial Translation

#BreakingNews RIP Sister Wendy Beckett, Nun who became Star TV Art historian, Dies at 88

Sister Wendy Beckett, celebrity TV art historian, dies at 88

Sister Wendy Beckett, the cloistered nun who went out of seclusion to become a celebrity television art critic and historian, died Wednesday at England’s Carmelite Monastery Quidenham in Norfolk, according to the BBC. She was 88 years old.

She graduated from Oxford University as an honor student in literature in 1954 but taught herself the history of art from the hermit's trailer where she lived on the grounds of a Carmelite monastery in Norfolk, England.

At an art exhibit in Norfolk, where a BBC camera crew happened to be taping a documentary about feminist author Germaine Greer, Beckett was asked to give her impression of the show on tape. It launched her television career.

She cut an unconventional figure for a television personality with her black nun's habit and oversized eyeglasses.

From the airing of her first series, “Sister Wendy's Odyssey,” in 1992, she evaluated artworks.
Her unique style drew close to 4 million viewers.


She was born Wendy Beckett, in East London, South Africa, one of two children. Her father was a bank clerk who later changed careers to be a doctor. “From the time I was age 2, my family knew that I would be a nun,” she once said.

When she was a child, her family moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where her father attended medical school before they returned to South Africa. At 16, she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in England and began religious life as Sister Michael. Later, as an act of humility, she reclaimed her given name. She didn't like “Wendy.”

At Oxford University, as a student in her early 20s, Beckett lived in a nun's hostel and soon after graduation moved back to South Africa to teach in a religious school. But persistent heart trouble and a history of epilepsy drained her strength. Health problems combined with the dream of a contemplative life, which she had abandoned when she entered her order of teaching nuns, led Beckett back to England.

In the early 1970s, she was released from her vows as a Sister of Notre Dame and changed her religious status to “consecrated virgin,” with the blessing of the Vatican. From then on, she was not a member of any religious order but continued to wear a homemade black habit, a variation on the one she wore as a Sister of Notre Dame.

Asked once to explain her choice, she said, “I am a nun. I will always be a nun.” She had spent more than 20 years in a convent, perfecting the ways of religious life. As a hermit, she did not feel the need to belong to any particular order.

The Carmelites offered her a home on their property and took care of her for the rest of her life. They delivered her meals to the unheated trailer where she slept on the floor. She in turn contributed most of her income to the convent.

By 2002, Beckett had published some 20 books and completed 11 art programs for public television. Royalties and residuals amounted to an income large enough for her to replace her trailer-hermitage for a newer model, with heat, and to put aside some money for her retirement, as well as help pay the convent's expenses.


Often in frail health, she spent most of her public life in a wheelchair   “If you don't know about God, art is the only thing that can set you free,” she explained. “It challenges the human spirit to accept a deeper reality.”

One of her last programs was “Sister Wendy at the Norton Simon Museum,” which aired in October 2002.


Beckett is survived by her sister, Barbara.
Edited from the LA Times

#BreakingNews Catholic Priest commits Suicide just Days before Christmas - Please Pray for the Soul of Fr. Patrick Burns



The body of the Fr. Patrick Burns, age 57, was found on Dec. 14, 2018 in the living room of the rectory at Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Windsor Terrace.

He had slash marks on his left wrist, and an empty bottle of the antipsychotic drug Risperidone was discovered in the room. Police also found a 16-page suicide note.

Police discovered the dead priest after the church’s pastor, the Rev. Larry Ryan, requested a wellness check on him.

Burns struggled with health issues in the past.

Many friends and parishioners who knew and loved him are in shock this Christmas. Please pray for the parishioners and pray for the soul of Father Burns.

Free Catholic Movie : St. Charbel : Wonderworker - Drama - #StCharbel - #Maronite

Charbel, The Movie is based on the life of a Lebanese saint who abandons everything in his life and dedicates his lifetime performing miracles and healing people. He was a monk that lived in the 19th century and is a well respected saint by both Christians and Muslims in Lebanon. The movie chronicles the entire life of the Saint, shown through a flashback after he climbs to the top of a mountain monastery, preparing for death. The movie has been praised by many critics for its gorgeous screenplay and important topic. It was produced by Ronald Eid, who admits that he feels his life has been changed by the saint. Production for the movie was started back in 2007 and required the help of Nabil Lebbos as director for the film.

For  Breaking News, INSPIRATIONAL STORIES AND FREE MOVIES LIKE http://facebook.com/catholicnewsworld 
 Throughout his journey, Saint Charbel turns his back on his worldly life and moves into the St. Maron Monastery. After receiving his ordination into priesthood, he moves on to live in seclusion in Mount Annaya. Devoting his time in prayer and all his time to Christ. It was through his time in seclusion and his constant dedication that he began to manifest miracles like the gift of healing and clairvoyance. If you are interested to know more about this remarkable saint, then this movie is one of the best introductions you can get.
More on LIFE of St. Charbel http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2014/07/saint-july-24-saint-charbel-makhlouf.html
Novena Prayer to St. Charbel http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2014/07/novena-to-st-charbel-miracle-prayer-to.html

Wow Andrea Bocelli sings Beautiful Ave Maria with Orchestra for #Vatican - Watch and SHARE - #AveMaria


"We are here to celebrate the beauty and joy of love, and to spread the good news of the family," said Msgr. Carlos Simon Vasquez, Undersecretary of the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, in his presentation of the new event in the project "The Great Mystery. The Gospel of the family school of humanity for our times," on Saturday night in St. Stephens Basilica in Budapest,. Accompanied by the Óbudai Danubia Zenekar Orchestra under the direction of Marcello Rota, the young Ukrainian violinist Anastasiya Petryshak, and the Vox Humana Choir, the tenor Andrea Bocelli performed a rich repertoire featuring Händel’s Hallelujah, Rossini's Stabat Mater, the Ave Maria of Schubert and Verdi's Va pensiero. Bearing greetings from Cardinal Kevin Farrell,
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday December 26, 2018 - #Eucharist in #ChristmasTide


Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr
Lectionary: 696

Reading 1ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
"Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God."
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Responsorial PsalmPS 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 8AB, 16BC AND 17

R. (6) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name's sake you will lead and guide me.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

AlleluiaPS 118:26A, 27A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD:
the LORD is God and has given us light.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 10:17-22

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved."

Saint December 26 : St. Stephen : #Protomartyr : Patron of #Deacons; #Headaches; Horses; Masons

December 26: Saint Stephen the Protomartyr Posted by Jacob
"Christian friends, your voices raise.
Wake the day with gladness. God Himself to joy and praise turns our human sadness:
Joy that martyrs won their crown, opened heaven's bright portal, when they laid the mortal down for the life immortal." Today, December 26, we celebrate Saint Stephen’s Day, the feast day of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr (died 33). Prophetically, Stephen’s name means “crown,” and he was the first disciple of Jesus to earn the martyr’s crown. Saint Stephen recognized the love of Our Lord and Savior, and was willing to die for that love, on the day after the commemoration of his birth. As the light of Christmas burns brightly in our hearts, we turn our attention to this holy man who held true to the teachings of Christ, dying a glorious death for his beliefs!
 The little we know about Saint Stephen is recorded in Chapters 6 and 7 of the Acts of the Apostles. As Scripture tells us, Stephen is the most famous of the seven deacons of the early Church—charged with caring for the widows and the poor. He was a man filled with grace and power, through whom God worked many miracles. Such was his wisdom that many were converted and became followers of Christ.
1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.
11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (Acts 6)
As we can read, Stephen’s wisdom, grace, and influencing of hearts caused great concern to certain Jewish leaders-- members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen. These men debated with Stephen, but proved no match for the spirit of God shining through his words. Of course, this led to fear, and eventually Stephen was persecuted on false charges of blasphemy. Led before the Sanhedrin, he calmly—peacefully—spoke without fear regarding the Lord’s guidance throughout Israel’s history, as well as Israel’s idolatry and disobedience. He then claimed that his persecutors were showing this same spirit.
Saint Stephen spoke about Jesus, showing that He is the Savior, God had promised to send. He scolded his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in great anger and shouted at him. But Stephen looked up to Heaven and said that he saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
1 Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?” 2a To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! 44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’
51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” 54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7: 1-2a; 44-59).
Saint Stephen was dragged outside the city gates, and stoned to death for his beliefs. We are reminded of Christ, in the example of Saint Stephen: He embodied a love so strong and pure that he gave himself over completely in love, finding in the midst of suffering, pain, and death the perfect charity to pray for and forgive his executioners! On the day after the joyful triumph of Our Lord in birth, we are confronted with the loving triumph of Saint Stephen in death—and are reminded that self-giving love requires sacrifice and sometimes suffering… like not only Saint Stephen, but our Lord and Savior on the Cross!
Lord,
today we celebrate the entrance of Saint Stephen into eternal glory. He died praying for those who killed him. Help us to imitate his goodness and to love our enemies. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Text Shared from 365Rosaries Blog