Sunday, October 20, 2019

Saint October 21 : St. Ursula and Companions - who with 11,000 Virgins were Martyred by the Huns for their Faith


The experiences of Ursula and her eleven thousand companions became the subject of a pious romance which acquired considerable celebrity.  This legendary account is well known: Ursula, the daughter of a Christian king of Great Britain, was asked in marriage by the son of a great pagan king. Desiring to remain a virgin, she obtained a delay of three years. At her request she was given as companions ten young women of noble birth, and she and each of the ten were accompanied by a thousand virgins, and the whole company, embarking in eleven ships sailed for three years. When the appointed time was come, and Ursula's betrothed was about to claim her, a gale of wind carried the eleven thousand virgins far from the shores of England, and they went first by water to Cologne and thence to Basle, then by land from Basle to Rome. They finally returned to Cologne, where they were slain by the Huns in hatred of the Faith. The literary origin of this romance is not easy to determine. Apart from the inscription of Clematius, transcribed in the Passion "Fuit tempore" and paraphrased in the "Regnante Domino" Passion and the "Sermo in natali", the writers seem to have been aware of a Gallic legend of which a late version is found in Geoffrey of Monmouth: the usurper Maximus (as Geoffrey calls the Emperor Maximian), having conquered British Armorica, sent there from Great Britain 100,000 colonists and 30,000 soldiers, and committed the government of Armorica to his former enemy, now his friend, the Breton prince, Conanus Meriadocus. The latter decided to bring women from Great Britain to marry them to his subjects, to which end he appealed to Dionotus, King of Cornwall, who sent him his daughter Ursula, accompanied by 11,000 noble virgins and 60,000 other young women. As the fleet which carried them sailed towards Armorica, a violent storm destroyed some of the ships and drove the rest of them to barbarian islands in Germany, where the virgins were slain by the Huns and the Picts. However, this account has been regarded by several writers since Baronius as containing a summary of the true history of the holy martyrs. Like the Passions of Cologne, it has been subjected to the anti-scientific method, which consists in setting aside as false the improbabilities, impossibilities, and manifest fables, and regarding the rest as authentic history. As a consequence two essential traits remain: the English origin of the saints and their massacre by the Huns; and then, according as adherence is given to the "Sermo in natali", Geoffrey of Monmouth, or the Passion "Regnante Domino", the martyrdom of St. Ursula is placed in the third, fourth, or fifth century. In order to account for all the details, two massacres of virgins at Cologne have been accepted, one in the third century, the other in the fifth. The different solutions with their variations suggested by scholars, sometimes with levity, sometimes with considerable learning, all share the important defect of being based on relatively late documents, unauthoritative and disfigured by manifest fables.As they are now unhesitatingly rejected by everyone, it suffices to treat them briefly. In the twelfth century there were discovered in the Ager Ursulanus at Cologne, some distance from the Church of St. Ursula, skeletons not only of women, but of little children, and even of men, and with them inscriptions which it is impossible not to recognize as gross forgeries.  Although the history of these saints of Cologne is obscure and very short, their cult was very widespread, and it would require a volume to relate in detail its many and remarkable manifestations. To mention only two characteristics, since the twelfth century a large number of relics have been sent from Cologne, not only to neighbouring countries but throughout Western Christendom, and even India and China. The legend of the Eleven Thousand Virgins has inspired a host of works of art, several of them of the highest merit, the most famous being the paintings of the old masters of Cologne, those of Memling at Bruges, and of Carpaccio at Venice. The Order of Ursulines, founded in 1535 by St. Angela de Merici, and especially devoted to the education of young girls, has also helped to spread throughout the world the name and the cult of St. Ursula. Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis at Mission Sunday Mass says "Jesus is also saying to you: “Go, don’t miss a chance to bear me witness!” Full Text + Video


HOLY MASS FOR WORLD MISSIONS DAY
PAPAL CHAPEL
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
Vatican Basilica
XXIX Sunday of Ordinary Time, 20 October 2019


I would like to reflect on three words taken from the readings we have just heard: a noun, a verb and an adjective. The noun is the mountain: Isaiah speaks of it when he prophesies about a mountain of the Lord, raised above the hills, to which all the nations will flow (cf. Is 2:2). We see the image of the mountain again in the Gospel when Jesus, after his resurrection, tells his disciples to meet him on the mount of Galilee; the Galilee inhabited by many different peoples: “Galilee of the Gentiles” (cf. Mt 4:15). It seems, then, that the mountain is God’s favourite place for encountering humanity. It is his meeting place with us, as we see in the Bible, beginning with Mount Sinai and Mount Carmel, all the way to Jesus, who proclaimed the Beatitudes on the mountain, was transfigured on Mount Tabor, gave his life on Mount Calvary and ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. The mountain, the place of great encounters between God and humanity, is also the place where Jesus spent several hours in prayer (cf. Mk 6:46) to unite heaven and earth, and to unite us, his brothers and sisters, with the Father.
What does the mountain say to us? We are called to draw near to God and to others. To God, the Most High, in silence and prayer, avoiding the rumours and gossip that diminish us. And to others, who, from the mountain, can be seen in a different perspective: that of God who calls all peoples. From on high, others are seen as a community whose harmonious beauty is discovered only in viewing them as a whole. The mountain reminds us that our brothers and sisters should not be selected but embraced, not only with our gaze but also with our entire life. The mountain unites God and our brothers and sisters in a single embrace, that of prayer. The mountain draws us up and away from the many transient things, and summons us to rediscover what is essential, what is lasting: God and our brothers and sisters. Mission begins on the mountain: there, we discover what really counts. In the midst of this missionary month, let us ask ourselves: what really counts in my life? To what peaks do I want to ascend?
A verb accompanies the noun “mountain”: the verb to go up. Isaiah exhorts us: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord” (2:3). We were not born to remain on the ground, to be satisfied with ordinary things, we were born to reach the heights and there to meet God and our brothers and sisters. However, this means that we have to go up: to leave behind a horizontal life and to resist the force of gravity caused by our self-centredness, to make an exodus from our own ego. Going up requires great effort, but it is the only way to get a better view of everything. As mountain-climbers know, only when you arrive at the top can you get the most beautiful view; only then do you realize that you would not have that view were it not for that uphill path.
And as in the mountains we cannot climb well if we are weighed down by our packs, so in life we must rid ourselves of things that are useless. This is also the secret of mission: to go, you have to leave something behind, to proclaim, you must first renounce. A credible proclamation is not made with beautiful words, but by an exemplary life: a life of service that is capable of rejecting all those material things that shrink the heart and make people indifferent and inward-looking; a life that renounces the useless things that entangle the heart in order to find time for God and others. We can ask ourselves: how am I doing in my efforts to go up? Am I able to reject the heavy and useless baggage of worldliness in order to climb the mountain of the Lord? Is mine a journey upwards or one of worldliness?
If the mountain reminds us of what matters – God and our brothers and sisters – and the verb to go up tells us how to get there, a third word is even more important for today’s celebration. It is the adjective all, which constantly reappears in the readings we have heard: “all peoples”, says Isaiah (2:2); “all peoples”, we repeated in the Psalm; God desires “all to be saved”, writes Paul (1 Tim 2:4); “Go and make disciples of all nations”, says Jesus in the Gospel (Mt 28:19). The Lord is deliberate in repeating the word all. He knows that we are always using the words “my” and “our”: my things, our people, our community... But he constantly uses the word all. All, because no one is excluded from his heart, from his salvation; all, so that our heart can go beyond human boundaries and particularism based on a self-centredness that displeases God. All, because everyone is a precious treasure, and the meaning of life is found only in giving this treasure to others. Here is our mission: to go up the mountain to pray for everyone and to come down from the mountain to be a gift to all.
Going up and coming down: the Christian, therefore, is always on the move, outward-bound. Go is in fact the imperative of Jesus in the Gospel. We meet many people every day, but – we can ask – do we really encounter the people we meet? Do we accept the invitation of Jesus or simply go about our own business? Everyone expects things from others, but the Christian goes to others. Bearing witness to Jesus is never about getting accolades from others, but about loving those who do not even know the Lord. Those who bear witness to Jesus go out to all, not just to their own acquaintances or their little group. Jesus is also saying to you: “Go, don’t miss a chance to bear me witness!” My brother, my sister, the Lord expects from you a testimony that no one can give in your place. “May you come to realize what that word is, the message of Jesus that God wants to speak to the world by your life…. lest you fail in your precious mission.” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 24).
What instructions does the Lord give us for going forth to others? Only one, and very simple: make disciples. But, be careful: his disciples, not our own. The Church proclaims the Gospel well only if she lives the life of a disciple. And a disciple follows the Master daily and shares the joy of discipleship with others. Not by conquering, mandating, proselytizing, but by witnessing, humbling oneself alongside other disciples and offering with love the love that we ourselves received. This is our mission: to give pure and fresh air to those immersed in the pollution of our world; to bring to earth that peace which fills us with joy whenever we meet Jesus on the mountain in prayer; to show by our lives, and perhaps even by our words, that God loves everyone and never tires of anyone.
Dear brothers and sisters, each of us has and is “a mission on this earth” (Evangelii Gaudium, 273). We are here to witness, bless, console, raise up, and radiate the beauty of Jesus. Have courage! Jesus expects so much from you! We can say that the Lord is “concerned” about those who do not yet know that they are beloved children of the Father, brothers and sisters for whom he gave his life and sent the Holy Spirit. Do you want to quell Jesus’ concern? Go and show love to everyone, because your life is a precious mission: it is not a burden to be borne, but a gift to offer. Have courage, and let us fearlessly go forth to all!
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation

Pope Francis at Angelus says “Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage..."


ANGELUS
VaticanNews; Pope at Angelus: Every baptized person cooperates in the proclamation of the Word
On World Mission Day, Pope Francis renews the call for a missionary commitment on the part of the whole Church.
By Christopher Wells

World Mission Day “is a good opportunity for every baptized person to become more aware of the need to cooperate in proclaiming the Kingdom of God through a renewed commitment”, Pope Francis said at the Angelus on Sunday.

The Holy Father reflected on a passage from the second Reading in the Mass of the Day: “Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction”, taken from St Paul’s Second Letter to St Timothy. “The tone is heartfelt,” Pope Francis said. “Timothy must feel responsible for the proclamation of the Word”.

A new impetus
He referred back to the Apostolic Letter Maximum illud, promulgated by Pope Benedict XV, which gave a “new impetus to the missionary responsibility of the whole Church”. Pope Francis said that, “in today’s changed context, Benedict XV’s message is still relevant and stimulates us to overcome the temptation of any self-referential closure and any form of pastoral pessimism, in order to open ourselves to the joyful novelty of the Gospel”.

Pope Francis said that this means “hearing strongly the call to the mission towards all peoples and towards all those who, here among us, live on the margins”. He warned that living fraternity “only in our own closed circle means to suffocate the Spirit, who unites us to proclaim to all that Christ is our peace and in Him every division is overcome, in Him alone there is the salvation of every person and all peoples”.

Prayer, the indispensable condition for mission
He then reminded us of the “indispensable condition” for “living the mission to the full”, namely, prayer “a fervent and incessant prayer, according to the teaching of Jesus proclaimed in today's Gospel as well, in which He tells a parable on the need to ‘pray always, and not give up’”, the Pope said. “Prayer, he continued, “is the first support the People of God can give missionaries”.

World Mission Day, he said, “is also a good occasion to ask ourselves, Do I pray for missionaries? Do I pray for those who go far away to bring the Word of God with their witness?”

Pope Francis concluded his reflection with the prayer that “Mary, Mother of all nations, might accompany and protect the missionaries of the Gospel every day”.
Full Text Source: VaticanNews - Image Source: Shared from Vatican.va

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday, October 20, 2019 - #Eucharist


Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 147

Reading 1EX 17:8-13

In those days, Amalek came and waged war against Israel.
Moses, therefore, said to Joshua,
"Pick out certain men,
and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle.
I will be standing on top of the hill
with the staff of God in my hand."
So Joshua did as Moses told him:
he engaged Amalek in battle
after Moses had climbed to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur.
As long as Moses kept his hands raised up,
Israel had the better of the fight,
but when he let his hands rest,
Amalek had the better of the fight.
Moses'hands, however, grew tired;
so they put a rock in place for him to sit on.
Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands,
one on one side and one on the other,
so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people
with the edge of the sword.

Responsorial PsalmPS 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R.(cf. 2)  Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
May he not suffer your foot to slip;
may he slumber not who guards you:
indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,
the guardian of Israel.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade;
he is beside you at your right hand.
The sun shall not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and your going,
both now and forever.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Reading 22 TM 3:14-4:2

Beloved:
Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God
and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness,
so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

AlleluiaHEB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, "There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'"
The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"