Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Saint May 1 : St. Peregrine : Patron Saint of Cancer Patients


BIOGRAPHY
In 1283 Saint Philip, Prior General of the Friar Servants of Saint Mary, attempted to lead back to obedience to the Apostolic See the citizens of Forlì then under interdict. He was driven out of the city with insults and violence. While this true follower of Christ was praying for his persecutors, one of the crowd, an eighteen year old by the name of Peregrine of the famous Laziosi family, repented and humbly asked Philip for forgiveness. The holy Father received him with love. From that moment the young man began to scorn the vanities of the world and to pray most fervently to the Blessed Virgin, asking that she show him the way of salvation. A few years later, guided by the Virgin, he received the habit of Our Lady in the priory of Siena where he dedicated himself to her service. There, together with Blessed Francis of Siena, he committed himself totally to the Servite life.
St. PeregrineAfter some years he was sent back to Forlì where, because of his love for God and Our Lady, he gave himself to the recitation of psalms, hymns and prayers, and to meditation on the law of God. On fire with love for others, he lavished a wealth of charity on the poor. It is said that he miraculously multiplied grain and wine during a severe shortage in his area.
Above all else, he was outstanding in his love for penance; in tears, he would reflect on the errors which he thought he had made and would frequently confess to the priest. He afflicted his body with various forms of mortification: when tired he would support himself on a choir stall or a rock; when overcome by sleep, he preferred the bare earth to a bed. As a result of this type of life, at the age of sixty he suffered from varicose veins which degenerated into cancer of the right leg. St. PeregrineHis condition deteriorated to the point that a physician, Paolo Salazio, who visited him in the priory, decided, with the consent of all the friars, to amputate the leg as soon as possible. The night before the operation Peregrine dragged himself before the crucifix in the chapter room. There he became drowsy and seemed to see Jesus descend from the cross to heal his leg. The following day, the doctor arrived to perform the amputation but could find no sign of the cancer, or even of a wound. He was so shocked that he spread the news of the miracle throughout the town. This only increased the people’s veneration of Peregrine. The saint died of a fever about 1345 when he was almost eighty years old. An extraordinary number of people from the town and countryside honored him in death. Some of the sick who came were healed through his intercession.
His body rests in the Servite church of Forlì where it is greatly honored by the people. Pope Paul V declared him blessed in 1609 and Pope Benedict XIII canonized him in 1726.
Text shared from StPeregrine Org
Click LINK below for Novena to St. Peregrine against Cancer:


#Novena to Saint Peregrine - #Miracle Prayer - Patron of #Cancer Patients to SHARE

Saint May 1 : St. Joseph the Worker - Patron of Fathers , Church , #Workers and Dying


SPOUSE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY AND FOSTER FATHER OF JESUS
Feast: MAY 1
Died:
1st century
Patron of:
against doubt, against hesitation, Americas, bursars, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, Catholic Church , confectioners, craftsmen, Croatian people , dying people, emigrants, engineers, expectant mothers, families, fathers, holy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, Oblates of Saint Joseph, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, protection of the Church, social justice, travellers, unborn children, Universal Church , Vatican II, wheelwrights, workers, many more...
The glorious St. Joseph was lineally descended from the greatest kings of the tribe of Judah, and from the most illustrious of the ancient patriarchs; but his true glory consisted in his humility and virtue. The history of his life hath not been written by men; but his principal actions are recorded by the Holy Ghost himself God entrusted him with the education of his divine Son, manifested in the flesh. In this view he was espoused to the Virgin Mary. It is an evident mistake of some writers, that by a former wife he was the father of St. James the Less, and of the rest who are styled in the gospels the brothers of our Lord; for these were only cousin-germans to Christ, the sons of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin, wife of Alphaeus, who was living at the time of our Redeemer's crucifixion. St. Jerome assures us1 that St. Joseph always preserved his virgin chastity; and it is of faith that nothing contrary thereto ever took place with regard to his chaste spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was given her by heaven to be the protector of her chastity, to secure her from calumnies in the birth of the Son of God, and to assist her in his education, and in her journeys, fatigues, and persecutions. How great was the purity and sanctity of him who was chosen the guardian of the most spotless Virgin! This holy man seems, for a considerable time, to have been unacquainted that the great mystery of the Incarnation had been wrought in her by the Holy Ghost. Conscious, therefore, of his own chaste behaviour towards her, it could, not but raise a great concern in his breast to find that, notwithstanding the sanctity of her deportment, yet he might be well assured that she was with child. But being <a just man>, as the scripture calls him, and consequently possessed of all virtues, especially of charity and mildness towards his neighbour, he was determined to leave her privately, without either condemning or accusing her, committing the whole cause to God. These, his perfect dispositions, were so acceptable to God, the lover of justice, charity, and peace, that before he put his design into execution he sent an angel from heaven, not to reprehend anything in his holy conduct, but to dissipate all his doubts and fears, by revealing to him this adorable mystery. How happy should we be if we were as tender in all that regards the reputation of our neighbor; as free from entertaining any injurious thought or suspicion, whatever certainty our conjectures or our senses may seem to rely on; and as guarded in our tongue! We commit these faults only because in our hearts we are devoid of that true charity and simplicity, whereof St. Joseph sets us so eminent an example on this occasion.

In the next place we may admire in secret contemplation with what devotion, respect, and tenderness he beheld and adored the first of all men, the new-born Saviour of the world, and with what fidelity he acquitted himself of his double charge, the education of Jesus and the guardianship of his blessed mother. "He was truly the faithful and prudent servant," says St. Bernard,2 "whom our Lord appointed the master of his household, the comfort and support of his mother, his foster-father, and most faithful co-operator in the execution of his deepest counsels on earth." "What a happiness," says the same Father, "not only to see Jesus Christ, but also to hear him: to carry him in his arms, to lead him from place to place, to embrace and caress him, to feed him, and to be privy to all the great secrets which were concealed from the princes of this world!"
"O astonishing elevation! O unparalleled dignity!" cries out the pious Gerson,3 in a devout address to St. Joseph, "that the mother of God, queen of heaven, should call you her lord; that God himself, made man, should call you father, and obey your commands. O glorious Triad on earth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, how dear a family to the glorious Trinity in heaven, Father, Son,, and Holy Ghost! Nothing is on earth so great, so good, so excellent." Amidst these extraordinary graces, what more wonderful than his humility! He conceals his privileges, lives as the most obscure of men, publishes nothing of God's great mysteries, makes no further inquiries into them, leaving it to God to manifest them at his own time, seeks to fulfil the order of providence in his regard without interfering with anything but what concerns himself. Though descended from the royal family which had long been in the possession of the throne of Judea, he is content with his condition, that of a mechanic or handicraftsman, and makes it his business, by labouring in it, to maintain himself, his spouse, and the divine Child.
We should be ungrateful to this great saint if we did not remember that it is to him, as the instrument under God, that we are indebted for the preservation of the infant Jesus from Herod's jealousy and malice, manifested in the slaughter of the Innocents. An angel appearing to him in his sleep bade him arise, take the child Jesus, and fly with him into Egypt, and remain there till he should again have notice from him to return. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey, with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he  alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all his servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation.4 "Joseph," says he, "is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear; he rejoices at the child's birth, but a great fear succeeds; the furious king seeks to destroy the child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away his life. This is followed by another joy- the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises; he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled, and in many places fell to the ground, according to that of Isaiah xix.: <And the statues of the Egyptians shall be shaken in his presence.> The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in saints.
After the death of King Herod, which was notified to St. Joseph by a vision, God ordered him to return with the child and his mother into the land of Israel, which our saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus succeeded Herod in that part of the country, apprehensive he might be infected with his father's vices- cruelty and ambition-he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done, for the more commodious education of the child. And therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of his brother Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth, where the wonderful occurrences of our Lord's birth were less known. St. Joseph being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover. Archelaus being banished by Augustus and Judea made a Roman province, he had now nothing more to fear at Jerusalem. Our Saviour being advanced to the twelfth year of his age, accompanied his parents thither; who, having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast, were now returning with many of their neighbours and acquaintances towards Galilee, and, never doubting but that Jesus had joined himself with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey without further inquiry after him before they discovered that he was not with them. But when night came on, and they could hear no tidings of him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem; where, after an anxious search of three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the learned doctors of the law, hearing them discourse, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of his understanding: nor were his parents less surprised on this occasion. And when his mother told him with what grief and earnestness they had sought him, and to express her sorrow for that, though short, privation of his presence, said to him, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I sought thee in great affliction of mind": she received for answer that, being the Messias and Son of God, sent by his Father into the world in order to redeem it, he must be about his Father's business, the same for which he had been sent into the world; and therefore that it was most likely for them to find him in his Father's house: intimating that his appearing in public on this occasion was to advance his Father's honour, and to prepare the princes of the Jews to receive him for the Messias; pointing out to them from the prophets the time of his coming. But though in thus staying in the temple, unknown to his parents, he did something without their leave, in obedience to his heavenly Father, yet in all other things he was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them.
 Aelred, our countryman, Abbot of Rieval, in his sermon on losing the child Jesus in the temple, observes that this his conduct to his parents is a true representation of that which he shows us, whilst he often withdraws himself for a short time from us to make us seek him the more earnestly. He thus describes the sentiments of his holy parents on this occasion."5 Let us consider what was the happiness of that blessed company, in the way to Jerusalem, to whom it was granted to behold his face, to hear his sweet words, to see in him the signs of divine lie wisdom and virtue; and in their mutual discourse to receive the influence of his saving truths and example. The old and young admire him. I believe boys of his age were struck with astonishment at the gravity of his manners and words. I believe such rays of grace darted from his blessed countenance as drew on him the eyes, ears, and hearts of every one. And what tears do they shed when he is not with them." He goes on considering what must be tie grief of his parents when they had lost him; what their sentiments, and how earnest their search: but what their joy when they found him again. "Discover to me," says he, "O my Lady, Mother of my God, what were your sentiments, what your astonishment and your joy when you saw him again, and sitting, not among boys, but amidst the doctors of the law: when you saw every one's eyes fixed on him, every one's ears listening to him, great and small, learned and unlearned, intent only on his words and motions. You now say: I have found him whom I love. I will hold him, and will no more let him part from me. Hold him, sweet Lady, hold him fast; rush on his neck dwell on his embraces, and compensate the three days' absence by multiplied delights in your present enjoyment of him. You tell him that you and his father sought him in grief. For what did you grieve? not for fear of hunger or want in him whom you knew to be God: but I believe you grieved to see yourself deprived of the delights of his presence even for a short time; for the Lord Jesus is so sweet to those who taste him, that his shortest absence is a subject of the greatest  grief to them." This mystery is an emblem of the devout soul, and Jesus sometimes withdrawing himself, and leaving her in dryness, that she may be more earnest in seeking him. But, above all, how eagerly ought the soul which has lost God by sin to seek him again, and how bitterly ought she to deplore her extreme misfortune!
As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt but he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments: whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death, and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that tremendous hour. The church reads the history of the Patriarch Joseph on his festival, who was styled the saviour of Egypt, which he delivered from perishing by famine; and was appointed the faithful master of the household of Potiphar, and of that of Pharaoh and his kingdom. But our great saint was chosen by God the saviour of the life of him who was the true Saviour of the souls of men, rescuing him from the tyranny of Herod. He is now glorified in heaven, as the guardian and keeper of his Lord on earth. As Pharaoh said to the Egyptians in their distress, "Go to Joseph"; so may we confidently address ourselves to the mediation of him, to whom God, made man, was subject and obedient on earth.
The devout Gerson expressed the warmest devotion to St. Joseph, which he endeavoured by letters and sermons to promote. He composed an office in his honour, and wrote his life in twelve poems, called Josephina. He enlarges on all the circumstances of his life by pious affections and meditations. St. Teresa chose him the chief patron of her order. In the sixth chapter of her life she writes thus: "I chose the glorious St. Joseph for my patron, and I commend myself in all things singularly to his intercession. I do not remember ever to have asked of God anything by him which I did not obtain. I never knew anyone who, by invoking him, did not advance exceedingly in virtue; for he assists in a wonderful manner all who address themselves to him." St. Francis of Sales, throughout his whole nineteenth entertainment, extremely recommends devotion to him, and extols his merits, principally his virginity, humility, constancy, and courage. The Syrians and other eastern churches celebrate his festival on the 20th of July; the western church on the 19th of March. Pope Gregory XV in 1621, and Urban VIII in 1642, commanded it to be kept a holiday of obligation.
The holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph presents to us the most perfect model of heavenly conversation on earth. How did those two seraphim, Mary and Joseph, live in their poor cottage! They always enjoyed the presence of Jesus, always burning with the most ardent love for him, inviolably attached to his sacred person, always employed and living only for him. What were their transports in beholding him, their devotion in listening to him, and their joy in possessing him! O heavenly life! O anticipation of the heavenly bliss! O divine conversation! We may imitate them, and share some degree of this advantage, by conversing often with Jesus, and by the contemplation of his most amiable goodness, kindling the fire of his holy love in our breasts. The effects of this love, if it be sincere, will necessarily appear in our putting on his spirit, and imitating his example and virtues; and in our studying to walk continually in the divine presence, finding God everywhere, and esteeming all the time lost which we do not spend with God, or for his honor.
Source:  "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler,  1864.

Catholic Wife and Mother of 5 Children receives years of Harassment and Court Order for views on Transgenderism


The Catholic wife and mother of five young children; British journalist and writer Caroline Farrow has been receiving harassment for years. Farrow's children have also been targeted by the activists. Her family has personally been receiving months of harassment from the transgender lobby. Mrs. Farrow's husband is a Roman Catholic diocesan priest(a former Anglican vicar who converted to Catholicism in 2010). She appeared on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” in September 2018, and used the wrong pronoun for the son of trans activist Susie Green, with whom Farrow was debating. The son was born Jack, a male, and subjected to a procedure on his 16th birthday, and is now prefers to be called Jackie. Farrow,  described the situation as child abuse and the procedure in medical terminology on Twitter. Then the Surrey Police called her with the accusation that her comments were “transphobic.” However, this investigation was dropped and a British Bishop noted:

Now, a transgender lawyer is trying to stop the Catholic journalist from sending tweets by seeking an anti-harrassment injunction through the High Court. According to the Telegraph, Stephanie Hayden, a commentator and activist who is legally female, alleges that Caroline Farrow sent her hundreds of tweets over the course of several days. Stephanie Hayden has been convicted when threatening someone with a golf club. It was also threatened that Stephanie would come to Farrow's house with a golf club. However, Farrow herself has been receiving years of harassment. Here is an example of a Tweet by Farrow's accuser:

The Telegraph explains: It is claimed by Ms Hayden that she was subjected to unsavoury accusations during the course of the alleged episode on social media. Hayden wrote on Twitter: “Today I served an Order of the High Court with the authority and authorisation of a High Court Judge. I have no further statement to make.” Both women have previously been involved in high-profile rows over transgender identity. 
 Ms Hayden attempted to visit her the Farrow's and left the papers from Court. Mrs Farrow explained she was "shocked" by the allegations - which she denies - and said she was "alarmed" by the decision of Ms Hayden to visit her in person.
You can support Caroline Farrow and her family by Prayer or by Donation to her GoFundMe Account:

Pope Francis at Mass says “One cannot walk the path of a Christian life without the Holy Spirit” Homily + Video


Pope at Mass: ‘may the Holy Spirit be the protagonist of our lives’
Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Tuesday morning inviting the faithful to make room for the Holy Spirit in their lives.
By Linda Bordoni

Speaking during the homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said we can be reborn  from “our sinful existence” only with "the help of the same power that raised the Lord: the power of God”. That’s why, he continued, “the Lord sent us the Holy Spirit”, because alone, we cannot do it.

He was reflecting on the Gospel of the day in which Jesus tells Nicodemus “You must be born from above”.

Linking this message to Easter and the Lord’s Resurrection, the Pope recalled the fact that in the first apparition of Jesus to the apostles, on the Sunday of the Resurrection, the Lord breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit”.

The Holy Spirit is our strength
 “This is our strength! We cannot do anything without the Spirit”, he said.

Reminding those present that a Christian life is not only about behaving well and doing the right things, the Pope said we can write our lives in “flourishing penmanship” but we are reborn only from the Spirit, therefore we must make room for it:

“It is the Spirit that allows us to rise from our limitations, from our deaths, because there are so many necroses in our life and in our soul”, he said.

The Pope explained that “a life, that may call itself Christian, but that leaves no room for the Spirit and does not allow itself to be carried forward by the Spirit, is a pagan life, disguised as Christian”.

“The Spirit” he said, “is the protagonist of Christian life”.

It is the Holy Spirit, he said, who accompanies us, transforms us, and overcomes sin with us.

“No one has ever ascended to heaven except He who descended from heaven: Jesus. He came down from heaven, and at the moment of the resurrection, he said to us ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’, the companion of Christian life”.

“One cannot walk the path of  a Christian life without the Holy Spirit”, he said.

The Holy Spirit is our daily companion
There cannot be a Christian life without the Holy Spirit, who is “our daily companion”, the Pope continued: “a gift from the Father, a gift from Jesus”.

“Let us ask the Lord” the Pope said, “to give us this awareness that we cannot be Christians without walking with the Holy Spirit, without acting with the Holy Spirit, without letting the Holy Spirit be the protagonist of our lives”.

We must ask ourselves, therefore – he concluded – what place does the Spirit have in our lives, and we must ask the Lord for the grace to understand this message: "Our companion on our way is the Holy Spirit”.
FULL TEXT Source Share from VaticanNews.va - Image share from Vatican.va

BREAKING Email Hackers Steal $ 1.75 Million from Catholic Church in Ohio, USA

The St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick, Ohio, USA announced in a statement that it was robbed of $1.75 million by an email scheme.

The church was working on a construction project to renovate the sanctuary.

They partnered with Marous Brothers Construction who started the project two months ago.

Church officials say they received a phone call from the company asking about late payments.

In a written statement, the church explained that they lost the money after a third party hacked their email system.

"Upon a deeper investigation by the FBI, we found that our email system was hacked and the perpetrators were able to deceive us into believing Marous Brothers had changed their bank and wiring instructions.

“The result is that our payments were sent to a fraudulent bank account and the money was then swept out by the perpetrators before anyone knew what had happened.”
Source: https://stambrose.us/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Important-Letter-to-the-Saint-Ambrose-Community.pdf

2 Franciscan Friars have an Awesome Message for You on "How To Be a Light in Darkness"


Fr. Mark-Mary and Br. Malachy talk about how to push back the darkness and truly be a light in the world. They witness to the light that has overcome the darkness in their lives, and the lives of many others. It’s the light of Christ, the fire of the Holy Spirit, or the fire of God’s burning love for us! We obtain it by saying yes to God every day. Do this, and the darkness in your life will flee. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5)

#BreakingNews 8 Christians Killed in Nigeria during Easter Procession


Eight Christians were killed in an Easter Procession in Nigeria.
A funeral was held for Eight Christians Killed in Easter Procession in Nigeria

On Saturday (April 27) hundreds attended a funeral in northeastern Nigeria for eight young Christians, six of them minors, who were killed in an Easter procession. An off-duty security officer drove his vehicle into their Easter procession on April 21, sources said.

“This incident, no doubt, is motivated by terrorist acts, as the driver deliberately crashed into the procession,” the chairman of the Gombe State Battalion Brigade of the Boys Brigade, Isaac Kwadang, told Morning Star News. “The driver of the vehicle is a Muslim and an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), while his passenger is a Muslim police officer.”

Killed were Ruth Samson Samanja, 13; Keziah Amos Kwatam, 13; and Polina Yusuf Samanja, 11 of the Girls Brigade company in Gombe, Kwadang said. From the Boys Brigade, those killed were Sunday Samuel Gurnet, 19; Irimiya Amos Ibrahim, 14; Joseph Daniel, 21; Joseph Danjuma Paul Gavan, 15; and Jesse Markus Baka, 15.

The vehicle assault also sent 12 Christians to the hospital for treatment of injuries, Kwadang said.

“Both the dead and injured Christian youths are members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) and Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in Gombe,” he said. “Seven of the dead are from ECWA, while one is from COCIN.”

The two officers were also killed when crowds that survived the vehicle assault reportedly chased them down and mobbed them.

The Rev. Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), noted that the assault was directed at people celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.
Edited from Morning Star News and Christian Headlines

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide



Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 268

Reading 1ACTS 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated Ason of encouragement"),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.

Responsorial PsalmPS 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5

R.(1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 3:14-15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man must be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him
may have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 3:7B-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
"'You must be born from above.'
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Nicodemus answered and said to him,
'How can this happen?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen,
but you people do not accept our testimony.
If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe,
how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

Saint April 30 : St. Marie de l'Incarnation : Founder of #Ursulines in Canada


Marie de l'Incarnation, née Marie Guyart, founder of the Ursuline order in Canada, mystic, author (born 28 October 1599 in Tours, France; died 30 April 1672 in Québec). With two Ursulines and Madame de la Peltrie, Marie landed at Québec 1 August 1639 and established a convent in the lower town (courtesy Library and Archives Canada). Marie de l'Incarnation, née Marie Guyart, founder of the Ursuline order in Canada, mystic, author (born 28 October 1599 in Tours, France; died 30 April 1672 in Québec). Life in France and Spiritual Vocation
As a child, Marie Guyart, daughter of a master baker, showed unusual spirituality. Her husband, Claude Martin, died in 1619 after two years of marriage, leaving her with a six-month-old son and a bankrupt business. Urged to remarry, she withdrew into secluded meditation and prayer and on 24 March 1620 experienced a mystical and emotional "conversion." She decided to withdraw from the world, but her sister and brother-in-law called on her to help their failing carrier business. Under Marie the business prospered but visions continued to haunt her.
Founder of the Ursuline Order in Canada
In 1632, though heartbroken at leaving her son, she entered the Ursuline cloister at Tours. She took her vows in 1633 and taught Christian doctrine for six years. From her reading of the Relations des Jésuites and her visions, she concluded that her vocation was in Canada. With two Ursulines and Mme de la Peltrie, she landed at Québec on 1 August 1639 and established a convent in the lower town. In 1642, it moved to a permanent stone building in the upper town. She worked zealously at educating French and Aboriginal girls, wrote numerous theological and spiritual treatises, an Iroquois catechism and Algonquian and Iroquois dictionaries (see Aboriginal Languages), and kept abreast of public affairs. Although cloistered, she received many notable visitors at her monastery. Canonization
In 1980, Marie de l’Incarnation, François de Laval, and Jose de Anchieta (the “Apostle of Brazil”) were officially declared “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II (this process is known as beatification and is often a step towards canonization, or the declaration of sainthood). On 3 April 2014, Pope Francis declared all three saints, using a process known as “equivalent canonization,” which does not require the verification of miracles made through the saint’s intervention. The canonization was celebrated on 12 October 2014 during the Thanksgiving mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec, led a delegation from Québec which attended the ceremony.
Text : Catholic Encyclopedia

Monday, April 29, 2019

Saint April 30 : St. Pius V : Pope and #Reformer - Died 1572

St. Pius V
POPE AND REFORMER
Feast: April 30

Feast Day:April 30
Born:17 January 1504 at Bosco, diocese of Alessandria, Lombardy, Italy
Died:1 May 1572 in Rome, Italy
Canonized:22 May 1712 by Pope Clement XI
Patron of:Bosco Marengo, Italy
Born at Bosco, near Alexandria, Lombardy, 17 Jan., 1504 elected 7 Jan., 1566; died 1 May, 1572. Being of a poor though noble family his lot would have been to follow a trade, but he was taken in by the Dominicans of Voghera, where he received a good education and was trained in the way of solid and austere piety. He entered the order, was ordained in 1528, and taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years. In the meantime he was master of novices and was on several occasions elected prior of different houses of his order in which he strove to develop the practice of the monastic virtues and spread the spirit of the holy founder. He himself was an example to all. He fasted, did penance, passed long hours of the night in meditation and prayer, traveled on foot without a cloak in deep silence, or only speaking to his companions of the things of God. In 1556 he was made Bishop of Sutri by Paul IV. His zeal against heresy caused him to be selected as inquisitor of the faith in Milan and Lombardy, and in 1557 Paul II made him a cardinal and named him inquisitor general for all Christendom. In 1559 he was transferred to Mondovì, where he restored the purity of faith and discipline, gravely impaired by the wars of Piedmont. Frequently called to Rome, he displayed his unflinching zeal in all the affairs on which he was consulted. Thus he offered an insurmountable opposition to Pius IV when the latter wished to admit Ferdinand de' Medici, then only thirteen years old, into the Sacred College. Again it was he who defeated the project of Maximilian II, Emperor of Germany, to abolish ecclesiastical celibacy. On the death of Pius IV, he was, despite his tears and entreaties, elected pope, to the great joy of the whole Church.
He began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor, instead of distributing his bounty at haphazard like his predecessors. As pontiff he practiced the virtues he had displayed as a monk and a bishop. His piety was not diminished, and, in spite of the heavy labours and anxieties of his office, he made at least two meditations a day on bended knees in presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In his charity he visited the hospitals, and sat by the bedside of the sick, consoling them and preparing them to die. He washed the feet of the poor, and embraced the lepers. It is related that an English nobleman was converted on seeing him kiss the feet of a beggar covered with ulcers. He was very austere and banished luxury from his court, raised the standard of morality, laboured with his intimate friend, St. Charles Borromeo, to reform the clergy, obliged his bishops to reside in their dioceses, and the cardinals to lead lives of simplicity and piety. He diminished public scandals by relegating prostitutes to distant quarters, and he forbade bull fights. He enforced the observance of the discipline of the Council of Trent, reformed the Cistercians, and supported the missions of the New World. In the Bull "In Coena Domini" he proclaimed the traditional principles of the Roman Church and the supremacy of the Holy See over the civil power.
But the great thought and the constant preoccupation of his pontificate seems to have been the struggle against the Protestants and the Turks. In Germany he supported the Catholics oppressed by the heretical princes. In France he encouraged the League by his counsels and with pecuniary aid. In the Low Countries he supported Spain. In England, finally, he excommunicated Elizabeth, embraced the cause of Mary Stuart, and wrote to console her in prison. In the ardour of his faith he did not hesitate to display severity against the dissidents when necessary, and to give a new impulse to the activity of the Inquisition, for which he has been blamed by certain historians who have exaggerated his conduct. Despite all representations on his behalf he condemned the writings of Baius, who ended by submitting.
He worked incessantly to unite the Christian princes against the hereditary enemy, the Turks. In the first year of his pontificate he had ordered a solemn jubilee, exhorting the faithful to penance and almsgiving to obtain the victory from God. He supported the Knights of Malta, sent money for the fortification of the free towns of Italy, furnished monthly contributions to the Christians of Hungary, and endeavoured especially to bring Maximilian, Philip II, and Charles I together for the defence of Christendom. In 1567 for the same purpose he collected from all convents one-tenth of their revenues. In 1570 when Solyman II attacked Cyprus, threatening all Christianity in the West, he never rested till he united the forces of Venice, Spain, and the Holy See. He sent his blessing to Don John of Austria, the commander-in-chief of the expedition, recommending him to leave behind all soldiers of evil life, and promising him the victory if he did so. He ordered public prayers, and increased his own supplications to heaven. On the day of the Battle of Lepanto, 7 Oct., 1571, he was working with the cardinals, when, suddenly, interrupting his work opening the window and looking at the sky, he cried out, "A truce to business; our great task at present is to thank God for the victory which He has just given the Christian army". He burst into tears when he heard of the victory, which dealt the Turkish power a blow from which it never recovered. In memory of this triumph he instituted for the first Sunday of October the feast of the Rosary, and added to the Litany of Loreto the supplication "Help of Christians". He was hoping to put an end to the power of Islam by forming a general alliance of the Italian cities Poland, France, and all Christian Europe, and had begun negotiations for this purpose when he died of gravel, repeating "O Lord, increase my sufferings and my patience!" He left the memory of a rare virtue and an unfailing and inflexible integrity. He was beatified by Clement X in 1672, and canonized by Clement XI in 1712.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

Free Catholic Movie : St. Catherine of Siena - Drama with English Subtitles

Saint Catherine of Siena movie, in Italian with English subtitles. Youngest of 24 children; her father was a wool-dyer. At the age of seven she had a vision in which Jesus appeared with Peter, Paul, and John; Jesus blessed her, and she consecrated herself to Him. Her parents began making arranged marriages for her when she turned 12, but she refused to co-operate, became a Dominican tertiary at age 15, and spent her time working with the poor and sick, attracting others to work with her. Received a vision in which she was in a mystical marriage with Christ, and the Infant Christ presented her with a wedding ring. Some of her visions drove her to become more involved in public life. Counselor to and correspondent with Pope Gregory XI and Pope Urban VI. Stigmatist in 1375. Lived in Avignon, France in 1376, and then in Rome, Italy from 1378 until her death. Friend of Blessed Raymond of Capua who was also her confessor. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church on 4 October 1970. Source: Gloria tv

Pope Francis tells Hairstylists "..treating customers with kindness and courtesy....avoiding giving in to the temptation of gossip..." FULL TEXT + Video


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO HAIRSTYLISTS OF THE COMMITTEES OF SAINT MARTIN DE PORRES

Clementine Hall
Monday, 29 April 2019



Dear brothers and sisters,
You have made use of the usual day of rest of your trade to organize a pilgrimage to Rome to visit the tombs of the Apostles and to meet the Successor of Peter. I welcome you with cordial greetings and I thank every one of you, in particular your coordinator, who introduced the meeting. You represent the hairdressers, hairdressers and beauticians gathered in the Saint Martin de Porres Committee, present in many Italian regions.
This pilgrimage is a sign of the importance you attach to the Christian faith, as well as of the religious dimension that characterizes your association. This can already be seen from the fact that it is named after a saint, the Peruvian Martin de Porres. Of mixed race, he was accepted into the Order of the Dominican Fathers only as a tertiary and then as a co-operator brother. He accepted this condition, living an existence of the greatest humility, infused with love. He devoted himself with self-denial to the poor and to the sick, providing health care for them, thanks to the notions he first learned in a pharmacy and then as a student of a barber-surgeon, according to the custom of that time.
May the humble and great figure of Saint Martin de Porres, whom Pope Saint Paul VIin 1966, proclaimed patron of your trade, help you constantly to witness Christian values. Above all, may he encourage you to practice your profession in a Christian style, treating customers with kindness and courtesy, and always offering them a good and encouraging word, avoiding giving in to the temptation of gossip that can easily creep into your work environment, as we all know. May each one of you, in carrying out your typical professional work, always act with rectitude, thus making a positive contribution to the common good of society.
I accompany these hopes by invoking the gifts of the Holy Spirit on each of you and on your association, as well as on your collaborators and family members. I ask you to pray for me, and now I give you my Apostolic Blessing.

*Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 29 April 2019
FULL TEXT + Image Source Share from Vatican.va - Official Translation

Secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict, Archbishop Gänswein Ordains Priests at Monastery in Austria - Video

Archbishop Gänswein ordains priests in Heiligenkreuz Abbey:
In a visit to the Cistercian Monastery of Heiligenkreuz: Curia Archbishop Georg Gänswein ordained four candidates on Saturday afternoon - Fr. Isaak Käfferlein, Fr. Georg Winter, Fr. Aelred Davies from Heiligenkreuz Monastery and Mr. Fabian Eibl from the parish parish house in Paring, Germany St. Michael - in the abbey church. The four had already been consecrated to deacons last August. With currently 314 students, the Hochschule Heiligenkreuz is one of the largest priests' training centers in Europe.

In his sermon, Gänswein compared the priestly ministry with that of a sailor on a lighthouse capable of positively influencing people's course and protecting them from danger. At the same time, the private secretary of the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. warned the consecration candidates, not to succumb to the temptation to proclaim "self-driven theories" instead of the Gospel: "If priests and bishops no longer have the courage to preach the gospel, but their own wisdom, there is evil and headlines - and haven't we had more than enough of this in the recent times? " asked Gänswein. And he warned, "Whoever wants to invent a new church, who wants to mess around with its DNA, is on the wrong track and abuses his spiritual authority".

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI received support from the abbey of Heiligenkreuz for his recent publication about abuse in the Church: This was emphasized by Abbot Maximilian Heim and the rector of the Benedict XVI Philosophical Theological College named after the emeritus Pope. Heiligenkreuz, P. Wolfgang Buchmüller, in a congratulatory letter to Benedict, published on the website of the convent, that they were "full of admiration for your accurate timely analysis" on the subject of abuse and that Benedict's statements "lead the way out of the crisis". "We only hope that these words will be heard".
Edited and Translated from Kath.net

Pope Francis meets President of Togo and Discusses Peace Efforts - Video

Vatican News report: Pope receives president of Togo
Among the issues that the Holy See and Togolese delegations discussed during the April 29 meetings was the Church’s contribution to Togo and the challenges facing West and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Pope Francis on Monday received in audience in the Vatican, President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé of Togo, the Holy See Press Office said in a brief statement.  Gnassingbé later met Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.

The Vatican said that “during the cordial discussions, the good existing relations between the Holy See and Togo were evoked, as well as the prospects of their further consolidation.”  In this context, the two sides focused on the current situation of the West African nation, “underlining the contribution of the Catholic Church to the integral development of the Togolese population, especially through her commitment in the fields of education and healthcare.”

They also discussed some challenges specific to the countries of West and Sub-Saharan Africa, and showed the “need for joint efforts at regional and international level in favour of security, stability and peace.” FULL TEXT and Image Source Share: Vatican News va

#BreakingNews Death Toll Lowered to 253 in Sri Lanka as Churches Remained Closed and People watch Mass on TV


Asia News Report: Toll from Easter massacre revised down: 100 less dead
The miscalculation due to the difficulty in identifying the bodies parts of the victims. Today, on Friday of Islamic prayer, Muslim leaders invite people to stay in their homes. All Christian churches remain closed and liturgical services suspended until full security is guaranteed.


Colombo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Sri Lankan authorities have revised down the number of deaths in the Easter massacres in three churches and three hotels in Colombo, to  "100 fewer". The announcement was made yesterday by Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene, who admits a miscalculation due to the conditions of the corpses, difficult to identify and recompose. Therefore the official budget is now 253 victims, instead of the 359 previously declared; the number of wounded remains stable, over 500.

Meanwhile, investigations into the most serious massacre since 11 September 2001 continue. President Maithripala Sirisena this morning announced that the police would be on the trail of 140 people connected to the Islamic State (IS), which claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, for the time being the government continues to believe that the first perpetrators are two local Islamic groups (National Thowheed Jamath and al Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen) with alleged links with foreign forces.

Today, Friday, the holy day for Islam, the security alert is at maximum levels for places of worship in the Muslim community of the island. All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ullama, the main Islamic religious group, invites the faithful to recite prayers at home. Meanwhile, reports are arriving that several hundred Muslims are taking refuge in mosques for greater security. About 700 have packed into the mosque in Negombo.

Out of 22 million inhabitants, Muslims represent almost 10% of the population; Christians are 7.4% (6.1% Catholics and 1.3% Protestants).

Even with regard to the Christian population the situation remains critical. Church leaders have ordered the closure of churches and the interruption of all liturgical services until the security of places of worship and the community of faithful is fully guaranteed. Card Malcom Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, asked priests not to celebrate masses in public places. "Security is important," he said.
FULL TEXT Source Shared from Asia News IT

New Vatican Document shows Religious Freedom is being Violated even in Democracies


The International Theological Commission - Subcommission on Relgious Freedom of the Vatican has recently published a Document entitled "Religious liberty for the good of all." 
Only the first chapter is presented here showing that Religious Freedom is being violated globally and also in democratic countries.


Theological Approach to Contemporary Challenges:
1. A LOOK AT THE CURRENT CONTEXT THEOLOGICAL APPROACH TO CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES


1. In 1965 the Conciliar Declaration Dignitatis humanae was approved in a historical context that was significantly different from the current one, also with regard to the topic that constituted its central topic, namely that of religious freedom in the modern world. Its courageous clarification of the Christian reasons for respect for the religious freedom of individuals and communities, within the framework of the rule of law and the practices of the justice of civil societies, still arouses our admiration. The Council's contribution, which we can well define as prophetic, offered the Church a horizon of credibility and appreciation that greatly helped her evangelical witness in the context of contemporary society.

2. Meanwhile, a new protagonism of the religious and national traditions of the Middle East and Asia has significantly changed the perception of the relationship between religion and society. The great religious traditions of the world no longer appear only as the remnant of ancient eras and pre-modern cultures overcome by history. The different forms of religious belonging have a new impact on the constitution of personal identity, on the interpretation of the social bond and on the search for the common good. In many secularized societies the different forms of religious community are still socially perceived as relevant factors of intermediation between individuals and the State. The relatively new element, in today's configuration of these models, can be recognized in the fact that, today, this relevance of religious communities is committed to ask - directly or indirectly - for the democratic-liberal model of the rule of law and of the techno-economic direction of civil society.

3. Wherever in the world today there is the problem of religious freedom, this concept is discussed in reference - positive or negative - to a conception of human rights and civil liberties which is associated with liberal, democratic, pluralistic and secular political culture . The humanistic rhetoric that appeals to the values ​​of peaceful coexistence, individual dignity, intercultural and interreligious dialogue is expressed in the language of the modern liberal state. On the other hand, even more profoundly, it draws on the Christian principles of the dignity of the person and of the closeness between men, which have contributed to the formation and universalization of that language.

4. Today's religious radicalization, referred to as "fundamentalism", in the context of different political cultures, does not seem a simple more "observant" return to traditional religiosity. This radicalization is often characterized by a specific reaction to the liberal conception of the modern state, due to its ethical relativism and its indifference to religion. On the other hand, the liberal state appears to many to be criticizable also for the opposite reason: that is, for the fact that its proclaimed neutrality does not seem able to avoid the tendency to consider the professed faith and religious affiliation an obstacle for the admission to the full cultural and political citizenship of individuals. A form of "soft totalitarianism", one might say, which makes it particularly vulnerable to the spread of ethical nihilism in the public sphere.
5. The alleged ideological neutrality of a political culture that claims to want to build on the formation of purely procedural rules of justice, removing all ethical justification and all religious inspiration, shows the tendency to elaborate an ideology of neutrality which, in fact, imposes the marginalization, if not exclusion, of religious expression from the public sphere. And therefore, from the full freedom of participation in the formation of democratic citizenship. From here comes the ambivalence of a neutrality of the public sphere only apparent and of an objectively discriminating civil liberty. A civil culture that defines its humanism through the removal of the religious component of the human, is forced to remove also decisive parts of its own history: of its own knowledge, of its own tradition, of its own social cohesion. The result is the removal of ever more substantial parts of humanity and citizenship from which society itself is formed. The reaction to the humanistic weakness of the system even makes the arrival at a desperate fanaticism: atheistic or even theocratic, seem justified for many (especially young people). The incomprehensible attraction exercised by violent and totalitarian forms of political ideology, or religious militancy, which seemed to have been consigned to the judgment of reason and history, must question us in a new way and with greater depth of analysis.

6. In contrast to the classical thesis, which provided for the reduction of religion as an inevitable effect of technical and economic modernization, there is talk today of the return of religion to the public scene. The automatic correlation between civil progress and the extinction of religion, in truth, had been formulated on the basis of an ideological prejudice, which saw religion as the mythical construction of a human society not yet in control of the rational instruments capable of producing emancipation and well-being of the society. This scheme has proved inadequate, not only in relation to the true nature of religious conscience, but also in reference to the naive trust turned to the humanistic effects of technological modernization. Nevertheless, it is precisely theological reflection that has helped to clarify, in these decades, the strong ambiguities of what was hastily referred to as the return of religion. This so-called "return", in fact, also presents aspects of "regression" towards personal values ​​and democratic coexistence that are at the base of the humanistic conception of the political order and social bond. Many phenomena associated with the new presence of the religious factor in the political and social sphere appear to be completely heterogeneous - if not contradictory - with respect to the authentic tradition and cultural development of the great historical religions. New forms of religiosity, cultivated in the wake of arbitrary contaminations between the search for psycho-physical well-being and pseudo-scientific constructions of the vision of the world and of the self, appear rather to the believers themselves, as disturbing deviations of religious orientation. Not to mention the crude religious motivation of some forms of totalitarian fanaticism, which aim to impose terrorist violence, even within the great religious traditions.

7. The gradual post-modern subtraction of the commitment to truth and transcendence certainly raises the political and juridical theme of religious freedom in new terms. On the other hand, the theories of the liberal state that think of it as radically independent of the contribution of argumentation and the testimony of religious culture must conceive of it as more vulnerable to the pressure of the forms of religiosity - or pseudo-religiosity - that seek to to assert itself in the public space outside the rules of a respectful cultural dialogue and a civil democratic confrontation. The protection of religious freedom and social peace presupposes a state that not only develops logics of mutual cooperation between religious communities and civil society, but shows itself capable of activating the circulation of an adequate culture of religion. Civil culture must overcome the prejudice of a purely emotional or ideological vision of religion. Religion, in turn, must be incessantly stimulated to elaborate in a humanistically understandable language the vision of reality and coexistence that inspire it.
8. Christianity - Catholicism in a specific way, and precisely with the seal of the Council - has conceived a line of development of its religious quality that passes through the repudiation of every attempt to exploit political power, even if practiced in view of a proselytism of faith. Evangelization today addresses the positive enhancement of a context of religious and civil liberty of conscience, which Christianity interprets as a historical, social and cultural space conducive to an appeal of faith that does not want to be confused with taxation, or take advantage of a state of awe of man. The proclamation of religious freedom, which must apply to everyone, and the testimony of a transcendent truth, which does not impose itself by force, appear to be deeply adherent to the inspiration of faith. The Christian faith, by its nature, is open to positive confrontation with the human reasons of truth and good, which the history of culture brings to light in the life and thought of peoples. The freedom of the search for words and the signs of God's truth, and the passion for the brotherhood of men, always go together.

9. The recent transformations of the religious scenario, as well as of humanistic culture, in the political and social life of peoples, confirm - if it were necessary - that the relations between these two aspects are close, profound, and of vital importance for the quality of coexistence and for the orientation of existence. In this perspective, the search for the most adequate forms to guarantee the best possible conditions for their interaction, in freedom and peace, are a decisive factor for the common good and for the historical progress of human civilizations. The imposing season of migrations of entire peoples, whose lands are now rendered hostile to life and coexistence, above all due to an endemic settlement of poverty and a permanent state of war, are creating, within the West , structurally interreligious, intercultural, inter-ethnic societies. Is it not time to discuss, beyond the emergency, the fact that history seems to impose the true invention of a new future for the construction of models of the relationship between religious freedom and civil democracy? The treasure of culture and faith that we have inherited over the centuries, and which we have freely accepted, should it not really generate a humanism that is in keeping with the appeal of history, capable of responding to the demand for a more habitable land?

10. With reference to the "signs of the times" to come, which have already begun to happen, it is necessary to have adequate tools to update Christian reflection, religious dialogue, and civil confrontation. Resignation, faced with the hardness and complexity of some involutions of the present, would be an unjustifiable weakness with regard to the responsibility of faith. The bond of religious freedom and human dignity has also become politically central: the two are held tightly together, in a way that today appears definitively clear. A believing Church that lives within human societies increasingly characterized in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic sense - this seems to be the movement of history - must be able to develop in time a competence suitable for the new existential condition of its testimony of faith. A condition not so different, moreover, on closer inspection, from that in which Christianity was sent to sow and was able to flourish.

11. This document begins by recalling the teaching of the Conciliar Declaration Dignitatis humanae and its reception, in the magisterium and in theology, after the Second Vatican Council (cf. chapter 2). Then, in a synthetic outline of the principles, above all anthropological, of the Christian understanding of religious freedom, it is a question of the religious freedom of the person first in his individual dimension (cf. chapter 3) and then in his community dimension, emphasizing between the another is the value of religious communities as intermediate bodies in social life (cf. chapter 4). The two aspects are inseparable in reality, however, since the rooting of religious freedom in the personal condition of the human being indicates the ultimate foundation of his inalienable dignity, it seems useful to proceed with this order. Subsequently religious freedom towards the State is considered and some clarification is offered with regard to the contradictions registered in the ideology of that conception of State religiously, ethically, value neutral (cf. chapter 5). In the final chapters, the document focuses on the contribution of religious freedom to coexistence and social peace (see chapter 6), before highlighting the central place of religious freedom in the mission of the Church today (cf. chapter 7) .
12. The general approach of the reflection that we propose in the text can be briefly outlined in these terms. We do not intend to propose an academic text on the many aspects of the debate on religious freedom. The complexity of the theme, both from the point of view of the various factors of personal and social life that are involved, and from the point of view of the interdisciplinary perspectives which it calls into question, is common evidence. Our fundamental methodological choice can be summarized as a theological-hermeneutical reflection, in a dual purpose. (a) First, to propose a reasoned update on the reception of Dignitatis humanae. (b) Secondly, to explain the reasons for the right integration - anthropological and political - between the personal and the community instance of religious freedom. The need for this clarification depends essentially on the need for the Church's own social doctrine to take into account the most relevant historical evidences of the new global experience.

13. The absolute ethical-religious indifference of the State weakens civil society towards the discernment required for the application of a truly liberal and democratic right, capable of effectively taking into account the community forms that interpret the social bond in view of the common good. At the same time, the correct elaboration of the thought on religious freedom in the public sphere, asks of Christian theology itself an in-depth study of the cultural complexity of today's civil form, capable of theoretically blocking the path to regression in a theocratic key of common law. The underlying theme of the clarification proposed here is inspired by the usefulness of keeping the personalistic, community and Christian principles of everyone's religious freedom closely linked, both anthropologically and theologically. The development does not aspire (nor could it) to the systematic nature of the "treaty". In this sense, therefore, we should not expect from this text a detailed theoretical exposition of the categories (political and ecclesiological) that are involved. On the other hand, it is common knowledge that many of these categories are exposed to fluctuations in meaning: both because of the different cultural context of employment, and according to the different ideologies of reference. Despite this objective limit, imposed by the subject itself and by its evolution, this updating tool will be able to offer a valid help for a better level of understanding and communication of Christian witness. Both in the area of ​​ecclesial awareness with regard to the right respect for the humanistic values ​​of the faith; both within the current conflict of interpretations on the doctrine of the State, which calls for a better elaboration of the new relationship between the civil community and religious affiliation, not only theological, but also anthropological and political.

St. Catherine - The Bride of Christ - Insights into a Great Love of Jesus we can Learn - by Dr. Gary D. Knight


The bride of Christ

Dr. Gary D. Knight

Saint Catherine of Siena can be recognized as a quintessence or ‘icon’ of the bride of Christ, the bride who - because of marriage anticipated – is His own mystical body: the Church. Catherine was presented to Jesus in a vision by His mother, and a ring placed on her finger. In ‘real life’ the ring was painful stigmata that brought her out of this ‘vale of tears’ at 33 years. But she received the gift of the quill miraculously, writing as compellingly as any doctor of the Church. How great that appellation is: ‘doctorus’ in Latin means teacher. Who could teach the mystical body that holds the keys of heaven, but an exemplar entirely docile to the Holy Spirit?

The ‘real life’ and ‘vale of tears’ are parenthesized for reasons that Catherine might assert. When having visions of hell, purgatory and heaven, she was in a death-like trance; yet these illuminations were more real to her than our waking hours, as is fitting for Last Things as compared with a land of exile rather like the den of Lost Boys. The world in its ‘real life’ so far from God, often runs along the line of a nightmare. Most remarkably, the professed virgin who would shun any incubus (archaic for bad dream) was led to embrace the temporal with Christian vigour, even fire.

Have you ever felt inclined to picture these passing things as a diseased reverie, or been more oppressed than by hot temperatures: like a feverish dream from which it seems better (if possible) to awake? Pity indeed those who feel it without relent and who choose to force the nocturnal hand; for as Shakespeare put it what ‘dreams’ may come? As a Christian he did not mean imaginings, but something more like the inverse of the unconscious state, where a decision to end it is part of a great delusion. That was due caution.

Catherine certainly recognized that hard realities are oppressive to distraction, delusional like the pain of an abscessed tooth with no anaesthetic in sight. And instead of remaining in cloister as she had done for a three year preparation, basting in interior light, she went into the darkness of the world: the poor, the suffering, the ignorant, and provided charm, calm and counsel along with her ministrations against distress. In this she was an incarnate daughter of Mary.

On earth the parent of a spouse is an ‘in-law’ parent; but in the heaven the relation of love surpasses ‘law’ and legalities, so that the mother of Christ is equally a mother of those who are united to Him more closely than a bride and groom. More closely because even spouses here cannot entirely share each other’s mind and affections, not even each other’s bodily strengths and afflictions (though some come close). In Christ, all is shared.

So the spouse of Jesus, daughter of Mary, rather than remaining in her hyperdulic trances, went forth just as Mary went out to visit her elder cousin Elizabeth to assist her in late-life childbearing – which couldn’t have been easy as John was a kicker and leaper even three months before birth. Her husband might even play on muteness as maybe including deafness (we don’t hear of him running out to greet Mary at her hailing). No more welcome guest to the toiling could be a daughter of Mary.

Perhaps this is why consolations found in this life are so lasting or meaningful: on the surface you wouldn’t expect that telling a few salutary prayers at a bedside would much help the dying, or arm their beloved behind. But it does. Think of your own nightmares: in panic being chased down by a wolf, the appearance of an open door too narrow for the beast is very heartening. Getting to it is even more so. And life is like that.

It is of value to insinuate ourselves in Catherine’s mind. She knows like few others that in so many ways life is a chimera, and an arduous one at that. She knows that the hints of peril we find in shame or defeat are magnified beyond all proportion on an eternal scale .. and that has a bearing on why we have a conscience at all. Yet she applies the commission received from her Spouse to go out and make disciples among all, by piercing their gloom with the hope from springs eternal. She willingly makes a temporal detour from real reality, to reach into this miasmic world and shed His light.

What does that teach us about what her Spouse did in the first place? In the vision of her Mystical Marriage, as she called it in her memoirs, Jesus showed Catherine, as He did his apostles, the glorified wounds from which had poured the price of human salvation. Salvation from what? From the exile of Eden, dominating fear of death, weakness of will, proclivity to neglect God our life, and this dream-like darkening of mind. From this incarnate ‘reality’ of exile under a darkening sun Jesus the Light had to lead souls who follow to His agony and death beyond all telling, with eclipse and quake, graves open, curtains torn, and all things gone quiet – yes, even the birds. He had to express our whole torment: “why have You turned from me?” and a mind on the edge – “I thirst”. In forty days of preparation he had never even said “I’m hungry”. This was in extremum if ever it was.

The passion of Christ is (among infinitely many other things) a reflection on the woeful power of our ‘passions’, our heavy-laden emotions with power to sway our minds without even our knowing or clear acknowledgement of their vacillating power, just as in a dream. “Weep not for me, but for your children” He said on the via dolorosa, showing the compassion of a God-Man who could see our days coming when the ‘woods would be dry’ rather than green, and when the unimaginable is being done, while then and there Deicide was perpetrated. “What will they do when the wood is dry” He asked, and it was not just cryptic reference to the new-cut limb he was bearing on a shoulder.

Jesus always showed compassion for us, who are living on the outside, past the perception of inner reality. “The (sleeping) spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.  “How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks” but your (distracted) will was elsewhere. “If you knew Who it was asking you for a drink, you would instead ask Him for a draught of living water”. “Their lips are close but their hearts are far away”. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”. “You of little faith; why did you doubt?” Even Nicodemus, a ‘teacher in Israel’ could only find answers at night-time, hearing ‘you are only in gestation’: “you must be born from above”.

So this is the reality of those being formed in the mind of Christ. We are only in gestation, like the child yet unborn. That is why so often the confines and bumps of this life seem like a reverie, even a threat. Yet in this state behind the veil, we are fully human and called to the Life that is the Way, the Truth, as Jesus characterized himself saying “the Truth shall set you free”. Like his herald still in his mother’s womb, we can hear that voice and begin to be active, gesturing at the dance which transcends even graces we receive in the now. If we are just as tended-to by Mary as in the prenatal days of John, Catherine came to know it, and went forth in haste.


Prayer: Dear Lord our God
May we be so inspired and enamoured of the life and ministrations
of your beloved saint, Catherine of Siena, who armed by the undying
hope of seeing You as she does now face to face in Love, went forth
doing all the good that she could find to do .. to the poor,
the suffering, the aged, the infirm, the ignorant and the neglected,
without omitting to converse in civil and national political life
or to communicate with bishops including the successor of Peter,
that
we may, in some measure like her, embrace the oppressions of
this temporal life increasingly full of injustices and insults
against not just You and your saints but humanity as your creation,
and carry forth to our brothers and children and spouses and elders
the fullness of expectant hope in that birth from above
that comprises our salvation and Your eternal embrace.

Betrothedly Yours,  a servant and friend of St. Catherine of Siena.