Thursday, November 21, 2019

Saint November 22 : St. Cecilia a Martyr who Died in 117 AD and the Patron of Church Musicians whose Body was found Incorrupt


St. Cecilia
MARTYR, PATRONESS OF CHURCH MUSIC

Born:
Rome
Major Shrine:
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
Church music,great musicians, poets
Glorious saint, who chose to die
Instead of denying your King. We pray you please to help us As His fair praise we sing!
We lift our hearts in joyous song To honor Him this way, And while we sing, remembering, To sing is to doubly pray.
At once in our hearts and in our tongues 
We offer double prayer Sent heavenward on winged notes 
To praise God dwelling there.
While in our hearts and tongues we try
With song to praise God twice, We ask dear saint, to help us be United closed to Christ!
Today, November 22, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Cecilia (died 117), Virgin and Martyr of the Church. Saint Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, but the facts of her life have been mostly lost to history. Instead, the Holy Legend of Saint Cecilia has been celebrated since the late fourth century. Saint Cecilia further has the distinction of being the patron saint of music—especially the music used during the celebration of Mass—and the patron saint of musicians, composers, instrument makers, and poets. This association grew from her constant song of Christian love in her heart, present throughout her life. From her Acta: “While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse.”
Cecilia was born in the early part of the third century, in Rome. Born to wealthy, pagan parents, she was likely instructed in the Catholic faith by kind relatives or a nurse. As a noble family—known for their bravery and intelligence—her parents were likely to have accepted (although possibly not approved) of her Catholic faith. By all reports, even as a child, Cecilia loved music, and she would spend her days singing the praises of God, accompanying herself on various instruments.
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#Novena to Saint Cecilia - Prayers to SHARE to the Patroness of #Music - #StCecilia

Cecilia embraced the faith from childhood. Drawn to the Lord, she attended Mass daily, desiring nothing more than to embody the virtues of Christ: faith, hope, charity, humility, and purity. As a child, she consecrated herself a bride of Christ, pledging her perpetual virginity to the Lord. As there were no religious orders for women at that time in history (not for at least 200 more years!), Cecilia was limited in her options. She fasted, prayed, and work sackcloth each day. While she spent her days in charitable works, caring for the poor and needy, her parents were searching for a husband for her to marry. They found an upright and honest man, Valerian, who was pagan like themselves.
Cecilia was torn. Obediently, she wish to do as her parents bade her, but she had made a vow of virginity for the Lord. She spent her days and nights in prayer, offering herself to Jesus, fasting, and enacting harsh penances. As her wedding day approached she did little but pray… until the Lord sent comfort. The Lord promised to send an angel to Saint Cecilia, to guard her, and to assist her in keeping her vow. Cecilia was married in a lavish ceremony, internally, in her soul, becoming the bride of Christ.
After the ceremony, Cecilia said to her new earthly husband: “Dear friend, I have a secret to confide to you, but will you promise me to keep it?”
He promised her solemnly that nothing would ever make him reveal it, and she continued, “An Angel of God watches over me, for I belong to God. If he sees that you would approach me under the influence of a sensual love, his anger will be inflamed, and you will succumb to the blows of his vengeance. But if you love me with a perfect love and conserve my virginity inviolable, he will love you as he loves me, and will lavish on you, too, his favors.”
Upon hearing this, Valerian was at first surprised, and then slightly irritated (as one might expect!). "I am very surprised at what you are telling me and I wish to see this angel!"
"You shall see him," Cecilia gently answered, "when you are purified."
"How shall I become so?" asked Valerian.
"Go to Pope Urban," she instructed him. "When you tell the poor that you are Cecilia's friend, they will take you to see the Pope. He will explain to you the mysteries of the Catholic Faith. May God bless you and my angel protect you."
Valerian, for his part, was moved by the grace of the Lord, and traveled to see Pope Urban that very evening. He was converted to Catholicism and baptized into the faith. Wearing his baptismal gown, he returned to his new bride, finding her accompanied by the angel she had promised. The angel, as emissary from the Lord, bestowed upon them both the golden crowns of heaven. Together, they lived in celibacy, and grew in love for the Lord, eventually converting Valerian’s brother, Tiburtius, a man of some importance in Rome—who upon seeing their heavenly crowns was moved to accept Jesus Christ.
Together the brothers made it their mission to find and provide a decent burial to the Christian martyrs being executed throughout Rome. It was not long, however, until word spread of their endeavor. The Governor of Rome, learning of their Christianity through Tiburtius, summoned the brothers before him. When questioned, they refused to recant their faith, stating: "We are Christians and we believe in Jesus Christ, the One and only true God!"
Upon hearing this, the Governor ordered them martyred. Saint Cecilia, assisted by her angel, recovered and buried the bodies. But soon, she was called before the Governor as well. Courageously, she, too, declared her faith: "I too am a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ, the One and only true God!"
The Governor was not furious. He sentenced her to death, stating: "Cecilia! You are condemned to die for loving the poor and for adoring Christ crucified!"
But Cecilia was not to be harmed. The soldiers tried to scald and suffocated her in the steam bath in her own home, but rather than suffer, she could be heard singing to the Lord, seemingly accompanied by the choir of angels. After 36 hours, in which she should not have been able to survive, she was released. The Governor then ordered her head cut off, but the guard who attempted sliced her neck three times with a sword, but was unable to sever it. Scared, he ran away, leaving her wounded and in great pain.
Cecilia survived for three days, bleeding and injured, but cared for by her angel and the Christians in the small community that had developed. During that time, she preached, converting many, gave away all that she had to the poor, and prayed incessantly. Many came to visit her, soaking up her blood with cloths and sponges, reporting miracles at her intercession later. On the last day of her life, Pope Urban traveled to her home, bestowing upon her the Last Rites, and seeing her to Heaven. On her wishes, Pope Urban ordered Cecilia's house converted into a church, with the steam bath—the site of the start of her martyrdom—the chapel. To this day, one can still see the pipes where the hot steam poured in, and the stone floor where Cecilia was struck with the sword.
The mysteries of Saint Cecilia’s life did not end in death, but continued. After some years, a grand church was built in Rome to honor her. Pope Pascal I, who undertook to rebuild the church many years later, was troubled that the saints holy body had never been recovered. One Sunday, while praying in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Cecilia appeared to him, consoling him, and declaring that he would find her body. Inspired by her words, a search was begun, and Saint Cecilia’s body was discovered, buried in a cemetery now named after her. Gold cloth wrapped the incorrupt body, and the blood-soaked linens that had bound her neck wound were preserved within the tomb. Nearby, the body of her husband, Saint Valerian, was also discovered. The relics of these saints were moved to Saint Cecilia’s Church in 821.
Nearly 800 years later, in 1599, the tomb of Saint Cecilia was opened, and her body was found to be perfectly persevered and incorrupt. At that time, a sculptor was called in to examine and sculpt the body prior to resealing the tomb. A likeness was made with the following carved into the floor at the alter at the base of the statue:
“Behold the body of the most holy virgin Cecilia, whom I myself saw lying incorrupt in the tomb. I have in this marble expressed for you the same saint in the very same posture.”
The life of Saint Cecilia is one of great mystery, as we are left uncertain of the actual events of her marriage and martyrdom. What we do know, from Holy Legend, is that Cecilia was called by the Lord to devote herself to Him—in service to others, in practice of virtues, and in praise and music—all of which she did gladly and with abandon. Despite many obstacles, Saint Cecilia remained pure in the eyes of the Lord, a heavenly instrument of His love on earth!
Lord of mercy, be close to those who call upon you. With St. Cecilia to help us hear and answer our prayers. Grant 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. (Source: 365RosariesBlog)

Pope Francis at Mass in Thailand says Evangelization "...is about opening doors in order to experience and share the merciful and healing embrace of God the Father, which makes of us one family." Video - Full Text Homily


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THAILAND AND JAPAN
(19-26 NOVEMBER 2019)
HOLY MASS
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS
National Stadium (Bangkok)
Thursday, 21 November 2019

“Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?” (Mt 12:48).
With this question, Jesus challenged the crowd of his hearers to reflect on something apparently obvious and self-evident: Who are the members of our family, our relatives and loved ones? After allowing time for the question to sink in, Jesus then replies, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother” (v. 50). In this way, he subverts not only the religious and legal certitudes of the time, but also every undue claim on the part of those who thought themselves above him. The Gospel is an invitation and a freely bestowed right for all those who want to hear it.
It is surprising to see how full the Gospel is of questions that attempt to unsettle and stir the heart of the disciples, inviting them to set out to discover the truth that is capable of giving and generating life. Questions that challenge us to open our hearts and minds to encounter a newness much more beautiful than we could possibly imagine. The questions of the Master are always meant to renew our lives and those of our communities with incomparable joy (Evangelii Gaudium, 11).
Such was the case with the missionaries who first set foot in these lands. By hearing the Lord’s word and responding to its demands, they came to realize that they were part of a family much larger than any based on blood lines, cultures, regions or ethnic groups. Impelled by the power of the Spirit, their bags filled with the hope brought by the good news of the Gospel, they set out in search of family members they did not yet know. They set out to seek their faces. Their hearts had to be opened to a new way of thinking capable of overcoming the “adjectives” that create division; this enabled them to discover the many Thai “mothers and brethren” who were still absent from their Sunday table. Not only to share with them everything that they themselves could offer, but also to receive what they needed to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Scriptures (cf. Dei Verbum, 8).
Without that encounter, Christianity would have lacked your face. It would have lacked the songs and dances that portray the Thai smile, so typical in your lands. The missionaries came to understand more fully the Father’s loving plan, which is not limited to a select few or a specific culture, but is greater than all our human calculations and predictions. A missionary disciple is not a mercenary of the faith or a producer of proselytes, but rather a humble mendicant who feels the absence of brothers, sisters and mothers with whom to share the irrevocable gift of reconciliation that Jesus grants to all. “Behold I have made ready my dinner; go therefore to the streets and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find” (cf. Mt 22:4.9). For us, this invitation is a source of joy, gratitude and immense happiness, for it enables us to “let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization” (Evangelii Gaudium, 8).
This year marks the 350th anniversary of the creation of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam (1669-2019), a sign of the fraternal embrace brought forth in these lands. Two missionaries alone were able to sow the seed that, from that distant time, has grown and flourished in a variety of apostolic initiatives that have contributed to the life of the nation. This anniversary is not a celebration of nostalgia for the past, but a fire of hope to enable us, here and now, to respond with similar determination, strength and confidence. A festive and grateful commemoration that helps us to go forth joyfully to share the new life born of the Gospel with all the members of our family whom we do not yet know.
All of us become missionary disciples when we choose to be a living part of the Lord’s family. We do this by sharing with others as he did. He ate with sinners, assuring them that they too had a place at the Father’s table and the table of this world; he touched those considered to be unclean and, by letting himself be touched by them, he helped them to realize the closeness of God and to understand that they were blessed (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, 11).
Here I think of children and women who are victims of prostitution and human trafficking, humiliated in their essential human dignity. I think of young people enslaved by drug addiction and a lack of meaning that makes them depressed and destroys their dreams. I think of migrants, deprived of their homes and families, and so many others, who like them can feel orphaned, abandoned, “without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life” (Evangelii Gaudium, 49). I think also of exploited fishermen and bypassed beggars.
All of them are part of our family. They are our mothers, our brothers and sisters. Let us not deprive our communities of seeing their faces, their wounds, their smiles and their lives. Let us not prevent them from experiencing the merciful balm of God’s love that heals their wounds and pains. A missionary disciple knows that evangelization is not about gaining more members or about appearing powerful. Rather, it is about opening doors in order to experience and share the merciful and healing embrace of God the Father, which makes of us one family.
Dear communities of Thailand, let us continue to go forward in the footsteps of the first missionaries, in order to encounter, discover and recognize with joy the faces of all those mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, whom the Lord wants to give us and who are absent from our Sunday table.
Full Text Source: Vatican.va - Official Translatin - Image source: Screen Shot

Pope Francis says at Hospital "You are missionary disciples in the field of health....of finding God in every human being, of tolerating the nuisances of life..." Video


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THAILAND AND JAPAN
(19-26 NOVEMBER 2019)
MEETING WITH THE MEDICAL STAFF OF ST. LOUIS HOSPITAL
GREETING OF HIS HOLINESS
Bangkok - Thursday, 21 November 2019

Dear Friends,
I am happy to have this opportunity to meet you, the medical, nursing and support staff of St. Louis Hospital and other Catholic hospitals and charitable agencies. I thank the Director for his kind words of introduction. It is a blessing for me to witness at first hand this valuable service that the Church offers to the Thai people, especially to those most in need. With affection, I greet the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres and all the other women religious present today, and I thank them for their quiet and joyful dedication to this apostolate over these many years. You enable us to contemplate the maternal face of God who bends down to anoint and raise up his children: thank you.
I was pleased to hear the Director speak of the principle by which this Hospital operates: Ubi caritas, Deus ibi est – where love is, there God is. It is precisely in the exercise of charity that we Christians are called not only to demonstrate that we are missionary disciples, but also to take stock of our own fidelity, and that of our institutions, to the demands of that discipleship. “Truly, I say to you”, says the Lord, “all that you have done to one of these my little brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). You are missionary disciples in the field of health care, for you open your hearts to “a mystical fraternity, a contemplative fraternity, capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbour, of finding God in every human being, of tolerating the nuisances of life in common by clinging to the love of God, of opening the heart to divine love and seeking the happiness of others, just as their heavenly Father does”(Evangelii Gaudium, 92).
Seen in this way, you carry out one of the greatest works of mercy, for your commitment to health care goes far beyond the simple and praiseworthy practice of medicine. This is not only a matter of procedures and programs; rather, it has to do with our readiness to embrace whatever each new day sets before us. It is about welcoming and embracing human life as it arrives at the Hospital’s emergency room, needing to be treated with the merciful care born of love and respect for the dignity of each human person. The healing process should rightly be seen as a powerful anointing capable of restoring human dignity in every situation, a gaze that grants dignity and provides support.
All of you, as members of this hospital community, are missionary disciples whenever you look at your patients and you learn to call them by name. I know that at times your service can prove burdensome and tiring; you work under extreme circumstances, and for this reason you need to be accompanied and supported in your work. This speaks to us of the need for a health care ministry in which not only patients but every member of this community can feel cared for and supported in his or her mission. Please know that your efforts and the work of the many institutions that you represent are a living testimony of the care and concern that all of us are called to show to everyone, especially the elderly, the young and those most vulnerable.
This year St. Louis Hospital celebrates the 120th anniversary of its foundation. How many people have received relief from their pain, comfort in their sorrow and companionship in their loneliness! As I give thanks to God for the gift of your presence over these years, I ask you to ensure that this and similar apostolates may increasingly become a sign and emblem of a Church on the move, which, in carrying out her mission, finds the courage to bring Christ’s healing love to all those who suffer.
At the end of this meeting, I will be visiting the sick and the disabled, as a way of accompanying them, however briefly, in their pain.
Each of us knows how illness brings with it questions that dig deep. Our first reaction may be to rebel and even experience moments of bewilderment and desolation. We cry out in pain, and rightly so: Jesus himself shared in that suffering and made it his own. With prayer, we too want to join in his own cry of pain.
By uniting ourselves to Jesus in his passion, we discover the power of his closeness to our frailty and our wounds. We are invited to cling to him and to his sacrifice. If at times we feel deeply “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction”, let us also pray that we can find, in an outstretched hand, the help needed to discover the comfort that comes from “the Lord who does not hide himself” (cf. Is 30:20), but remains ever close to us and accompanies us at every moment.
Let us place this meeting and our lives under the protective mantle of Mary. May she turn her eyes of mercy toward you, especially at times of pain, illness and vulnerability. May she obtain for you the grace of encountering her Son in the wounded flesh of all those whom you serve.
I bless all of you and your families. And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.
Thank you!

Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation

Novena for the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Special Prayers honoring the Mother of Jesus


Novena for the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - a Novena is a prayer that is recited once a day for 9 days.
Start with:
Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Gracious and lovable art thou in thy splendor, O holy Mother of God! Show me thy countenance. Let thy words sound in my ears, for thy voice is sweet and thy countenance is beautiful. Turn to us in thy beauty and loveliness! Come forth in majesty and reign!
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen
O blessed Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, Temple of the Lord, sanctuary of the Holy Ghost, thou alone, without an equal, hast pleased our Lord Jesus Christ!
Hail Mary…
Blessed indeed art thou, O holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise, for from thee arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our Lord. Draw us, O Immaculate Virgin; we shall come after thee, breathing the sweet fragrance of thy virtues!
Hail Mary…
[Here state your petition.]
Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and every shall be world without end. Amen.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother! To thee to do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Pope Francis says to Buddhist Patriarch "..my personal commitment, and that of the whole Church, to furthering an open and respectful dialogue..."


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THAILAND AND JAPAN
(19-26 NOVEMBER 2019)
VISIT TO THE SUPREME BUDDHIST PATRIARCH
GREETING OF HIS HOLINESS
Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple (Bangkok)
Thursday, 21 November 2019

Your Holiness,
I thank you for your gracious words of welcome. At the beginning of my visit to this nation, I am pleased to come to this Royal Temple, a symbol of the values and teachings that characterize this beloved people. The majority of Thais have drunk deeply from the sources of Buddhism, which have imbued their way of venerating life and their ancestors, and leading a sober lifestyle based on contemplation, detachment, hard work and discipline (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, 6). These traits nurture your distinctive characteristic as a “smiling people”.
Our meeting takes place as part of the journey of esteem and mutual recognition initiated by our predecessors. I would like this visit to follow in their footsteps, in order to increase respect but also friendship between our communities. Almost fifty years have passed since the seventeenth Supreme Patriarch, Somdej Phra Wanarat (Pun Punnasiri), together with a group of distinguished Buddhist monks, visited Pope Paul VI in the Vatican. This represented a very significant turning point in the development of the dialogue between our religious traditions, which subsequently enabled Pope John Paul II to visit this Temple and the Supreme Patriarch, His Holiness Somdej Phra Ariyavongsagatanana (Vasana Vasano).
I myself recently had the honour of welcoming a delegation of monks from the Wat Pho temple, who presented me with a translation of an ancient Buddhist manuscript in the Pali language kept in the Vatican Library. These are small steps which help testify that the culture of encounter is possible, not only within our communities but also in our world, so prone to creating and spreading conflict and exclusion. When we have the opportunity to appreciate and esteem one another in spite of our differences (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 250), we offer a word of hope to the world, which can encourage and support those who increasingly suffer the harmful effects of conflict. Occasions like this remind us how important it is for religions to become more and more beacons of hope, as promoters and guarantors of fraternity.
In this regard, I am grateful to the people of this land, because, since the arrival of Christianity in Thailand some four and a half centuries ago, Catholics have enjoyed freedom in religious practice, despite their being in a minority, and for many years have lived in harmony with their Buddhist brothers and sisters.
On this path of mutual trust and fraternity, I wish to reiterate my personal commitment, and that of the whole Church, to furthering an open and respectful dialogue in the service of the peace and well-being of this people. Thanks to scholarly exchanges, which lead to greater mutual understanding, as well as the exercise of contemplation, mercy and discernment – common to both our traditions – we can grow and live together as good “neighbors”. We will likewise be able to promote among the followers of our religions the development of new charitable projects, capable of generating and multiplying practical initiatives on the path of fraternity, especially with regard to the poor and our much-abused common home. In this way, we will contribute to the formation of a culture of compassion, fraternity and encounter, both here and in other parts of the world (cf. ibid.). I am sure, Your Holiness, that this journey will continue to bear fruit in abundance.
Once again, I thank Your Holiness for this meeting. I pray that you may be granted every divine blessing for your own health and well-being, and for your high responsibility of guiding the followers of Buddhism in the ways of peace and concord.
Thank you!

Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation

Quote to SHARE by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen "The secret (to my preaching) is that I have never...missed spending an hour in the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.....That's where every good thought is conceived."


"The secret (to my preaching) is that I have never in fifty-five years missed spending an hour in the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. That's where the power comes from. That's where sermons are born. That's where every good thought is conceived."
Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Pope Francis to Government Authorities in Thailand "... the Thai people, as evoked in your national anthem: peaceful and loving, but not cowardly." - Video


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THAILAND AND JAPAN
(19-26 NOVEMBER 2019)
MEETING WITH AUTHORITIES, CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS
"Inner Santi Maitri" Hall of the Government House (Bangkok)
Thursday, 21 November 2019

Mr Prime Minister,
Members of the Government and the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Political, Civil and Religious Leaders,
Ladies and Gentlemen
,
I am grateful for this opportunity to be with you and to be able to visit this land so rich in natural beauty, and the splendid guardian of age-old spiritual and cultural traditions, like that of the hospitality I have personally experienced, and which I would like in turn to spread, thus increasing bonds of greater friendship between peoples.
I thank you, Mr Prime Minister, for your welcome and for your kind words of introduction, and for your attentive and humble gesture. I am grateful that this afternoon I will have the opportunity to pay a courtesy visit to His Majesty King Rama X and the royal family. I once more thank His Majesty for his gracious invitation to visit Thailand and I renew my best wishes for his reign, while paying sincere homage to the memory of his late father.
I am happy to be able to greet and address you, governmental, religious and civil leaders, and through you to greet the entire Thai people. I likewise address a respectful greeting to the diplomatic corps. On this occasion, I readily offer my good wishes in the wake of the recent elections, which signified a return to the normal democratic process.
I thank, too, all those who worked to make this visit possible.
We know that the challenges facing our world today are indeed global problems, embracing the entire human family and calling for a firm commitment to international justice and solidarity between peoples. I consider it significant to note that, in these days, Thailand will conclude its chairmanship of ASEAN, an expression of its historic engagement with the broader issues and challenges facing the peoples of the entire South East Asia region and also its continuing interest in fostering political, economic and cultural cooperation in the region.
As a multi-ethnic and diverse nation, Thailand has long known the importance of building harmony and peaceful coexistence between its numerous ethnic groups, while showing respect and appreciation for different cultures, religious groups, thoughts and ideas. Our age is marked by a globalization that is all too often viewed in narrowly economic terms, tending to erase the distinguishing features that shape the beauty and soul of our peoples. Yet the experience of a unity that respects and makes room for diversity serves as an inspiration and incentive for all those concerned about the kind of world we wish to leave to our children.
I am pleased to know of your initiative to create a social ethics commission and to invite the traditional religions of the country to take part, so as to receive their contributions and to keep alive the spiritual memory of your people. In this regard, I will have the opportunity to meet with the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch as a sign of the importance and urgency of promoting friendship and interreligious dialogue, also in the service of social harmony and the building of just, responsive and inclusive societies. I would like personally to assure you of the full commitment of Thailand’s small but vibrant Catholic community to maintain and promote the distinctive characteristics of the Thai people, as evoked in your national anthem: peaceful and loving, but not cowardly. They are likewise firmly resolved to confront all that would lead us to be insensitive to the cry of our many brothers and sisters who yearn to be freed from the yoke of poverty, violence and injustice. This land bears the name “freedom”. We know that freedom is possible only if we are capable of feeling co-responsible for one another and of eliminating every form of inequality. Hence the need to ensure that individuals and communities can have access to education, dignified labour and health care, and in this way attain the indispensable minimal levels of sustainability that can enable an integral human development.
Here I would like to dwell briefly on the movements of migration that are one of the defining signs of our time. Not so much for the movements in themselves, as for the conditions in which they take place, a phenomenon that represents one of the principal moral issues facing our generation. The global crisis of migration cannot be ignored. Thailand itself, known for the welcome it has given to migrants and refugees, has experienced this crisis as a result of the tragic flight of refugees from nearby countries. Once more, I express my hope that the international community will act with responsibility and foresight, will work to resolve the issues that have led to this tragic exodus, and will promote safe, orderly and regulated migration. May every nation devise effective means for protecting the dignity and rights of migrants and refugees, who face dangers, uncertainty and exploitation in their quest for freedom and a decent life for their families. It is not just about migrants; it is also about the face we want to give to our societies.
Here I think, too, of all those women and children of our time, especially those who are wounded, violated and exposed to every form of exploitation, enslavement, violence and abuse. I express my appreciation for the Thai government’s efforts to extirpate this scourge, and for all those private individuals and organizations working to uproot this evil and to provide ways to restore their dignity. In this year that marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Adolescent, we are all invited to reflect on the need to protect the welfare of our children, their social and intellectual development, their access to schooling, and their physical, psychological and spiritual growth (cf. Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 7 January 2019). The future of our peoples is linked in large measure to the way we will ensure a dignified future to our children.
Dear friends, today, more than ever, our societies need “artisans of hospitality”, men and women committed to the integral development of all peoples within a human family committed to dwelling in justice, solidarity and fraternal harmony. Each of you, in various ways, has devoted your life to enabling the service of the common good to reach every corner of this nation; this is one of the noblest tasks any person can undertake. With these sentiments, and with prayerful good wishes that you may persevere in the mission entrusted to you, I invoke every divine blessing on this beloved nation, on its leaders and its people. And I ask the Lord to guide each of you, and your families, in the ways of wisdom, justice and peace. Thank you!
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, November 21, 2019 - #Eucharist - Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 499

Reading 1RV 4:1-11

I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven,
and I heard the trumpetlike voice
that had spoken to me before, saying,
"Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards."
At once I was caught up in spirit.
A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one
whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian.
Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald.
Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones
on which twenty-four elders sat,
dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads.
From the throne came flashes of lightning,
rumblings, and peals of thunder.
Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne,
which are the seven spirits of God.
In front of the throne was something that resembled
a sea of glass like crystal.

In the center and around the throne,
there were four living creatures
covered with eyes in front and in back.
The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf,
the third had a face like that of a man,
and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight.
The four living creatures, each of them with six wings,
were covered with eyes inside and out.
Day and night they do not stop exclaiming:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty,
who was, and who is, and who is to come."
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks
to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
the twenty-four elders fall down
before the one who sits on the throne
and worship him, who lives forever and ever.
They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming:

"Worthy are you, Lord our God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things;
because of your will they came to be and were created."

Responsorial PsalmPS 150:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise the LORD in his sanctuary,
praise him in the firmament of his strength.
Praise him for his mighty deeds,
praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with the blast of the trumpet,
praise him with lyre and harp,
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Praise him with sounding cymbals,
praise him with clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

AlleluiaSEE JN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 19:11-28

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
"A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, 'Engage in trade with these until I return.'
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
'We do not want this man to be our king.'
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
'Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.'
He replied, 'Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.'
Then the second came and reported,
'Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.'
And to this servant too he said,
'You, take charge of five cities.'
Then the other servant came and said,
'Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.'
He said to him,
'With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.'
And to those standing by he said,
'Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.'
But they said to him,
'Sir, he has ten gold coins.'
He replied, 'I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.'"

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.