THE STORY OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE On December 9, 1531, in Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor humble Aztec Indian who had recently converted to the Catholic faith. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him to build a church where she said “I will show and offer all of my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to my people.” Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop asked for a sign that this message was really from Our Lady. Mary granted his request. On December 12, she showed Juan where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in bloom because there was frost on the ground, and the ground was an infertile place where only cactus and thistles grew. After he gathered them, she helped arrange them in his tilma, or poncho, and told him to show them to the Bishop. When he brought them to the Bishop, the Bishop was amazed at the roses, but was even more amazed at what began to happen to Juan Diego’s tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our Lady began to form on the cloth. The picture of Mary was beautiful and the Bishop fell to his knees. He had the church built at her request. The tilma is still intact after 470 years. The colors have not faded and the cloth has not deteriorated. It has been on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for all this time. The manner in which Our Lady appeared on the tilma was very significant to the Aztec Indians. God had her dressed in a way that they would understand who she was. She was dressed in royal clothes that showed that she was very important, perhaps a queen. She also had the symbol of the cross at her neck which was the same symbol the Spaniards had on their ships and in the churches they built. She had a sash tied around her waist which meant that she was with child, for this was the way the Aztec women dressed when they were pregnant. And on her beautiful dress were all sorts of designs and flowers. But there was one flower on her dress that was very significant. It had only four petals. To the Aztecs, the four petal flower was the symbol for the true God, the God above all gods. This flower was located on her abdomen, right over the place where Jesus was growing inside of her. The Aztecs immediately understood that this was the mother of the true God! This appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was very important to the history of our continent. You see, the Aztec Indians and the Spaniards were on the brink of war. The Aztec Indians’ culture and religion were very different from the Spaniards. They worshipped gods, to whom they would offer human sacrifices, often killing 50,000 people a year. The Spaniards, who were Catholic, were naturally disgusted by this. But they were cruel to the Aztecs too, treating them like animals and sometimes killing them for no reason. If a war had occurred, it would have been very brutal and the Spaniards and Christianity would have been totally wiped out. Mary’s appearance changed everything, however. It helped the Indians to embrace Christianity and it helped the Spaniards to treat the Indians with respect and as human beings. In the course of seven years, 6,000,000 Indians converted to the Catholic faith. This was the biggest conversion in the history of the Church! This is why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas. Juan Diego, the humble man to whom she appeared, was canonized in the summer of 2002. Mary’s appearance also put an end to the worship of stone gods and the ritual of human sacrifice. We pray for Mary’s help today to bring an end to the human sacrifice of God’s children through abortion and to convert non-believers. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also called the Patroness of the Unborn.
Shared from the Archdiocese of Baltimore
GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
to the PILGRIMAGE of the Eparchy of Mukachevo of the Byzantine Rite (UKRAINE)
Vatican Basilica, Altar of the Chair
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dear brother Bishops, dear priests, men and women religious, dear brothers and sisters.
You have come to Rome to celebrate together with the Successor of Peter the 30th anniversary of the eparchy of Mukachevo leaving the underground.
I am pleased to welcome you to the Tomb of St. Peter, and together with you I wish to thank the infinitely good Lord who with his powerful hand freed your Church from the long oppression of the Soviet regime.
The Church of Mukachevo is the mother of many martyrs, who with their own blood confirmed their fidelity to Christ, to the Catholic Church and to the Bishop of Rome.
In particular, we commemorate Blessed Bishop Martyr Teodor Romža, who in the darkest moments of your history was able to guide the people of God with evangelical wisdom and courage, a tireless man, following the example of Christ the Good Shepherd, to the point of giving his own life for the sheep.
I also want to remember your ancestors, grandparents and grandmothers, fathers and mothers, who in the intimacy of their homes, and often under the surveillance of the hostile regime, risking their freedom and life, transmitted the teaching of the truth of Christ and they offered to future generations, of whom you are representatives, an eloquent testimony of firm faith, of living faith, of the Catholic faith.
I thank you from my heart, dear brothers and sisters, for your fidelity to Jesus Christ and I invite each of you, "wherever and whenever you are, to renew today your personal encounter with Jesus Christ or, at least, to take the decision to let Him meet, to look for him every day without stopping. There is no reason why anyone might think that this invitation is not for him, because no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord "(Esort. Ap. Evangelii gaudium, 3).
In this solemn circumstance I pray the Lord to protect the Eparchy of Mukachevo from the dangers of evil and give them all prosperity.
Near the Christmas holidays, entrusting your Pastors and all of you, dear faithful, to the protection of the Blessed Virgin of Mukachevo, I wish you a Holy Christmas: may the Son of God be born in your hearts!
Give my cordial greetings to all your loved ones, especially to children and sick and suffering people. And please don't forget to pray for me. God bless you all!
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation
GENERAL AUDIENCE Paul VI Hall Wednesday, 11 December 2019 Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles - 18. "Still a little and convince me to become a Christian" (Acts 26,28). Paul prisoner before King Agrippa Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! In reading the Acts of the Apostles, the journey of the Gospel in the world continues and the testimony of St. Paul is increasingly marked by the seal of suffering. But this is something that grows with the time in Paul's life. Paul is not only the evangelizer full of ardor, the intrepid missionary among the pagans who gives life to new Christian communities, but he is also the suffering witness of the Risen One (see Acts 9: 15-16). The arrival of the Apostle in Jerusalem, described in chapter 21 of the Acts, unleashes a fierce hatred towards him, which reproaches him: "But, this was a persecutor! Don't trust! ". As it was for Jesus, even for him Jerusalem is the hostile city. Having gone to the temple, he was recognized, led out to be lynched and saved in extremis by Roman soldiers. Accused of teaching against the Law and the temple, he is arrested and begins his prison wanderings, first in front of the Sanhedrin, then before the Roman procurator at Caesarea, and finally before King Agrippa. Luke highlights the similarity between Paul and Jesus, both hated by the adversaries, publicly accused and recognized as innocent by the imperial authorities; and so Paul is associated with the passion of his Master, and his passion becomes a living gospel. I come from the Basilica of St. Peter and there I had a first hearing this morning with the Ukrainian pilgrims from a Ukrainian diocese. How these people were persecuted; how they suffered for the Gospel! But they did not negotiate faith. They are an example. Today in the world, in Europe, many Christians are persecuted and give their lives for their faith, or they are persecuted with white gloves, that is left aside, marginalized ... Martyrdom is the air of the life of a Christian, of a community Christian. There will always be martyrs among us: this is the signal that we are going on the road of Jesus. It is a blessing from the Lord, whether there is in the people of God, someone or someone who gives this testimony of martyrdom. Paul is called to defend himself against accusations, and in the end, in the presence of King Agrippa II, his apologia turns into an effective witness of faith (see Acts 26,1-23). Then Paul recounts his own conversion: the Risen Christ made him a Christian and entrusted him with the mission among the nations, "that they may turn from darkness to the light and power of Satan to God, and obtain forgiveness of sins and inheritance, in the midst of those who were sanctified by faith "in Christ (v. 18). Paul obeyed this task and did nothing but show how the prophets and Moses foretold what he now announces: that "the Christ should suffer and that, first among the resurrected from the dead, he would announce the light to the people and to the nations "(v. 23). Paul's passionate testimony touches the heart of King Agrippa, who lacks only the decisive step. And he says thus, the king: "Still a little and convince me to become a Christian!" (V. 28). Paul is declared innocent, but he cannot be released because he appealed to Caesar. Thus continues the unstoppable journey of the Word of God towards Rome. Paolo, in chains, will end up here in Rome. From this moment on, the portrait of Paul is that of the prisoner whose chains are the sign of his fidelity to the Gospel and of the testimony given to the Risen One. The chains are certainly a humiliating test for the Apostle, who appears to the eyes of the world as a "criminal" (2 Tim 2: 9). But his love for Christ is so strong that even these chains are read with the eyes of faith; faith that for Paul is not "a theory, an opinion on God and the world", but "the impact of God's love on his heart, [...] is love for Jesus Christ" (Benedict XVI, Homily on the occasion of the Pauline Year, 28 June 2008). Dear brothers and sisters, Paul teaches us perseverance in the trial and the ability to read everything with the eyes of faith. Today we ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Apostle, to revive our faith and to help us be faithful to the end of our vocation as Christians, as disciples of the Lord, as missionaries ***********
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes venus de France. Paul nous enseigne la persévérance dans l’épreuve et la capacité de les lire avec les yeux de la foi. Demandons au Seigneur, en ce temps de l’Avent, de raviver en nous cette foi au Christ qui vient nous sauver, afin de nous aider à être toujours fidèles à notre vocation de disciples missionnaires. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from the United States of America. I pray that each of you, and your families, may experience a blessed Advent, in preparation for the coming of the newborn Saviour at Christmas. May God bless you!
Ein herzliches Willkommen den Pilgern deutscher Sprache. Fassen wir mit der Hilfe des Heiligen Geistes Mut, um allen den Herrn zu verkünden, der kommt, um uns von den Fesseln unserer Sünden zu befreien.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y de Latinoamérica. Pidamos a Dios nuestro Padre que nos conceda perseverar en los momentos de prueba y que nos dé también la capacidad de leer todos los acontecimientos de nuestra vida con los ojos de la fe, para mantenernos fieles en nuestra vocación de discípulos misioneros. Que Dios los bendiga.
Saúdo de coração os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, particularmente os fiéis brasileiros do Instituto Dique de Santos. Queridos amigos, não vos esqueçais que todo o batizado está chamado a ser evangelizador. O Espírito Santo tornar-vos-á capazes de viver e testemunhar a vossa fé e iluminará o coração das pessoas que encontrardes. Deixai-vos guiar por Ele, sem medo daquilo que vos peça ou aonde vos mande. Nossa Senhora acompanhe e proteja a vós todos e aos vossos entes queridos!
[I cordially greet the Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, in particular the Brazilian faithful of the Dique de Santos Institute. Dear friends, do not forget that every baptized person is called to be an evangelizer. The Holy Spirit will enable you to live and witness your faith and illuminate the hearts of the people you meet. Let yourself be guided by Him, without fear of what he asks of you and where he sends you. May Our Lady accompany and protect you and your loved ones!]
أرحبُ بالحاضرينَ الناطقينَ باللغة العربية، وخاصةً القادمينَ من العراق، ومن لبنان، ومن سوريا، ومن الشرق الأوسط. أدعوكم ألّا تخافوا، وأن تحافظوا على إيمانكم في وجه كلّ المحن، وأن تتحلّوا بالشَّجاعة من أجل المسيح، واثقين بأنَّ لا شدّة ولا ضيق ولا اضطهاد يفصلنا عن محبته. ليُبارِكَكم الرّبُّ جميعًا ويَحرسَكُم دائِمًا مِن الشِّرّيرِ!
[I cordially welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and the Middle East. I invite you not to be afraid, to keep your faith in the face of all the trials and to be bold for Christ, certain that neither tribulation, nor anguish, nor persecution could separate us from His love. May the Lord bless you all and always protect you from the evil one!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Wczoraj obchodziliśmy wspomnienie Matki Bożej Loretańskiej, a w niedzielę rozpoczęliśmy Rok Jubileuszowy poświęcony Jej, jako patronce lotników i podróżujących samolotami. Życzę wam wszystkim byście uczyli się patrzeć na życie z wysoka, z perspektywy nieba, byście widzieli rzeczy oczami Boga, przez pryzmat Ewangelii. Niech Maryja opiekuje się wami i was prowadzi. Z serca wam błogosławię.
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Yesterday we celebrated the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto and last Sunday we started the Jubilee Year dedicated to her, as patroness of pilots and those traveling by plane. I wish all of you to learn to look at life from above, from the perspective of heaven, to see things with the eyes of God, through the prism of the Gospel. May Mary take care of you and guide you. I bless you from my heart.]
I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the Missionaries of Charity; and the parish groups, especially those of Mendicino and Faro-Fiumicino. I also greet the personnel of the Crotone Police Headquarters; the Festival Committee of Mesagne; the delegations of the Municipalities of Introd and Bolsena; the group of professionals and doctors in optometry; and the Friends of the Beata Pellesi Association, of San Michele dei Mucchietti-Sassuolo. Finally, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. Next Friday is the memory of Saint Lucia, Virgin and Martyr. I wish all of you that the light of the Child Jesus, now on the horizon, invades your life with his blessing.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation
Born: 304 in Rome, Italy Died: 11 December, 384 in Rome, Italy Patron of: archeologists
Born about 304; died 11 December, 384. His father, Antonius, was probably a Spaniards; the name of his mother, Laurentia, was not known until quite recently. Damasus seems to have been born at Rome; it is certain that he grew up there in the service of the church of the martyr St. Laurence. He was elected pope in October, 366, by a large majority, but a number of over-zealous adherents of the deceased Liberius rejected him, chose the deacon Ursinus (or Ursicinus), had the latter irregularly consecrated, and resorted to much violence and bloodshed in order to seat him in the Chair of Peter. Many details of this scandalous conflict are related in the highly prejudiced "Libellus Precum" (P.L., XIII, 83-107), a petition to the civil authority on the part of Faustinus and Marcellinus, two anti-Damasan presbyters (cf. also Ammianus Marcellinus, Rer. Gest., XXVII, c. iii). Valentinian recognized Damasus and banished (367) Ursinus to Cologne, whence he was later allowed to return to Milan, but was forbidden to come to Rome or its vicinity. The party of the antipope (later at Milan an adherent of the Arians and to the end a contentious pretender) did not cease to persecute Damasus. An accusation of adultery was laid against him (378) in the imperial court, but he was exonerated by Emperor Gratian himself (Mansi, Coll. Conc., III, 628) and soon after by a Roman synod of forty-four bishops (Liber Pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, s.v.; Mansi, op. cit., III, 419) which also excommunicated his accusers.
Damasus defended with vigour the Catholic Faith in a time of dire and varied perils. In two Roman synods (368 and 369) he condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism; he also sent his legates to the Council of Constantinople (381), convoked against the aforesaid heresies. In the Roman synod of 369 (or 370) Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, was excommunicated; he held the see, however, until his death, in 374, made way for St. Ambrose. The heretic Priscillian, condemned by the Council of Saragossa (380) appealed to Damasus, but in vain. It was Damasus who induced Saint Jerome to undertake his famous revision of the earlier Latin versions of the Bible (see VULGATE). St. Jerome was also his confidential secretary for some time (Ep. cxxiii, n. 10). An important canon of the New Testament was proclaimed by him in the Roman synod of 374. The Eastern Church, in the person of St. Basil of Cæsarea, besought earnestly the aid and encouragement of Damasus against triumphant Arianism; the pope, however, cherished some degree of suspicion against the great Cappadocian Doctor. In the matter of the Meletian Schism at Antioch, Damasus, with Athanasius and Peter of Alexandria, sympathized with the party of Paulinus as more sincerely representative of Nicene orthodoxy; on the death of Meletius he sought to secure the succession for Paulinus and to exclude Flavian (Socrates, Church History V.15). He sustained the appeal of the Christian senators to Emperor Gratian for the removal of the altar of Victory from the Senate House (Ambrose, Ep. xvii, n. 10), and lived to welcome the famous edict of Theodosius I, "De fide Catholica" (27 Feb., 380), which proclaimed as the religion of the Roman State that doctrine which St. Peter had preached to the Romans and of which Damasus was supreme head (Cod. Theod., XVI, 1, 2).
When, in 379, Illyricum was detached from the Western Empire, Damasus hastened to safeguard the authority of the Roman Church by the appointment of a vicar Apostolic in the person of Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica; this was the origin of the important papal vicariate long attached to that see. The primacy of the Apostolic See, variously favoured in the time of Damasus by imperial acts and edicts, was strenuously maintained by this pope; among his notable utterances on this subject is the assertion (Mansi, Coll. Conc., VIII, 158) that the ecclesiastical supremacy of the Roman Church was based, not on the decrees of councils, but on the very words of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18). The increased prestige of the early papal decretals, habitually attributed to the reign of Siricius (384-99), not improbably belongs to the reign of Damasus ("Canones Romanorum ad Gallos"; Babut, "La plus ancienne décrétale", Paris, 1904). This development of the papal office, especially in the West, brought with it a great increase of external grandeur. This secular splendour, however, affected disadvantageously many members of the Roman clergy, whose worldly aims and life, bitterly reproved by St. Jerome, provoked (29 July, 370) and edict of Emperor Valentinian addressed to the pope, forbidding ecclesiastics and monks (later also bishops and nuns) to pursue widows and orphans in the hope of obtaining from them gifts and legacies. The pope caused the law to be observed strictly.
Damasus restored his own church (now San Lorenzo in Damaso) and provided for the proper housing of the archives of the Roman Church (see VATICAN ARCHIVES). He built in the basilica of St. Sebastian on the Appian Way the (yet visible) marble monument known as the "Platonia" (Platona, marble pavement) in honour of the temporary transfer to that place (258) of the bodies of Sts. Peter and Paul, and decorated it with an important historical inscription (see Northcote and Brownlow, Roma Sotterranea). He also built on the Via Ardeatina, between the cemeteries of Callistus and Domitilla, a basilicula, or small church, the ruins of which were discovered in 1902 and 1903, and in which, according to the "Liber Pontificalis", the pope was buried with his mother and sister. On this occasion the discoverer, Monsignor Wilpert, found also the epitaph of the pope's mother, from which it was learned not only that her name was Laurentia, but also that she had lived the sixty years of her widowhood in the special service of God, and died in her eighty-ninth year, having seen the fourth generation of her descendants. Damasus built at the Vatican a baptistery in honour of St. Peter and set up therein one of his artistic inscriptions (Carmen xxxvi), still preserved in the Vatican crypts. This subterranean region he drained in order that the bodies buried there (juxta sepulcrum beati Petri) might not be affected by stagnant or overflowing water. His extraordinary devotion to the Roman martyrs is now well known, owing particularly to the labours of Giovanni Battista De Rossi. For a good account of his architectural restoration of the catacombs and the unique artistic characters (Damasan Letters) in which his friend Furius Dionysius Filocalus executed the epitaphs composed by Damasus, see Northcote and Brownlow, "Roma Sotterranea" (2nd ed., London, 1878-79). The dogmatic content of the Damasan epitaphs (tituli) is important (Northcote, Epitaphs of the Catacombs, London, 1878). He composed also a number of brief epigrammata on various martyrs and saints and some hymns, or Carmina, likewise brief. St. Jerome says (Ep. xxii, 22) that Damasus wrote on virginity, both in prose and in verse, but no such work has been preserved. For the few letters of Damasus (some of them spurious) that have survived, see P.L., XIII, 347-76, and Jaffé, "Reg. Rom. Pontif." (Leipzig, 1885), nn. 232-254.
Text from the Catholic Encyclopedia - Image source Google Images
Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent Lectionary: 183
Reading 1 IS 40:25-31
To whom can you liken me as an equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things: He leads out their army and numbers them, calling them all by name. By his great might and the strength of his power not one of them is missing! Why, O Jacob, do you say, and declare, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"?
Do you not know or have you not heard? The LORD is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint nor grow weary, and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny. He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak he makes vigor abound. Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.
Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 AND 10
R.(1) O bless the Lord, my soul! Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. R. O bless the Lord, my soul! He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion. R. O bless the Lord, my soul! Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes. R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Behold, the Lord comes to save his people; blessed are those prepared to meet him. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus said to the crowds: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
Saint Eulalia of Mérida is the best-known virgin martyr of Spain. She is praised by the Christian poets Prudentius and St Venantius Fortunatus. Praised by two Christian poets Two Christian poets Prudentius (348-413), a Spaniard, and St Venantius Fortunatus (535-605), who lived at Poitiers, France, have written poems about Eulalia. She is also the subject of a sermon by St Augustine and is mentioned in the Calendar of Carthage and Martyrology of Jerome. Prudentius’s account presents her as a consecrated virgin of noble family, who despised frivolity and luxury and showed austerity and strictness worthy of an older person. Eulalia’s story The 7th century Acta present Eulalia as a girl of twelve, who was hidden by her mother in the countryside when the edict of Diocletian demanded that everyone sacrifice to the Roman gods (in AD 304). Eulalia, however, ran to the law court of the governor Dacian at Merida, professed herself a Christian, insulted the pagan gods and emperor Maximian, and challenged the authorities to martyr her. The judge’s attempts at flattery and bribery failed. Prudentius says that for her: Isis Apollo Venus nihil est, Maximianus et ipse nihil: illa nihil, quia factu manu; hic, manuum quia facta colit. (Isis, Apollo and Venus are nothing, Even Maximian himself is nothing; They are nothing because they are made by hand, He, for he worships things made by hands). SPANISH MARTYRShe was then stripped by the soldiers, tortured with hooks and torches, and burnt at the stake, suffocating from smoke inhalation. She taunted her torturers all the while, and as she died a dove flew out of her mouth. This frightened away the soldiers and allowed a miraculous snow to cover her nakedness, its whiteness indicating her sainthood. A shrine over her tomb was soon erected. Her veneration Veneration of Eulalia was already popular with Christians by AD 350; relics from her were distributed through Iberia. Bishop Fidelis of Merida rebuilt a basilica in her honour around 560 AD. Her shrine was the most popular in Visigothic Spain. In 780 her body was transferred to Oviedo by King Silo. It lies in a coffin of Arab silver donated by Afonso VI in 1075. In 1639, she was made patron saint of Oviedo. Edited from Catholic Ireland.net