Thursday, January 16, 2020

Saint January 17 : St. Anthony the Abbot and the Patron of Amputees; Butchers; Epilepsy; graveyards; Monks; Pigs; Skin diseases;


Feast Day: January 17
Born: 251, Herakleopolis Magna, Egypt
Died: 356, Mount Colzim, Egypt
Major Shrine: Monastery of Anthony, Egypt; Vienna, Austria His body was at Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, Isère, France
Patron of: against pestilence; amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; butchers; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism; erysipelas; gravediggers; graveyards; hermits; hogs; Hospitallers; monks; pigs; relief from pestilence; shingles; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds


Founder of Christian monasticism. The chief source of information on St. Anthony is a Greek Life attributed to St. Athanasius (ca. 296-373). Anthony was born at Coma, near Heracleopolis Magna in Fayum, about the middle of the third century. He was the son of well-to-do parents, and on their death, in his twentieth year, he inherited their possessions. He had a desire to imitate the life of the Apostles and the early Christians, and one day, on hearing in the church the Gospel words, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all thou hast", he received them as spoken to himself, disposed of all his property and goods, and devoted himself exclusively to religious exercises. Long before this it had been usual for Christians to practice asceticism, abstain from marriage and exercising themselves in self-denial, fasting, prayer, and works of piety; but this they had done in the midst of their families, and without leaving house or home. Later on, in Egypt, such ascetics lived in huts, in the outskirts of the towns and villages, and this was the common practice about 270, when Anthony withdrew from the world. He began his career by practising the ascetical life in this fashion without leaving his native place. He used to visit the various ascetics, study their lives, and try to learn from each of them the virtue in which he seemed to excel. Then he took up his abode in one of the tombs, near his native village, and there it was that the Life records those strange conflicts with demons in the shape of wild beasts, who inflicted blows upon him, and sometimes left him nearly dead.
After fifteen years of this life, at the age of thirty-five, Anthony determined to withdraw from the habitations of men and retire in absolute solitude. He crossed the Nile, and on a mountain near the east bank, then called Pispir, now Der el Memum, he found an old fort into which he shut himself, and lived there for twenty years without seeing the face of man, food being thrown to him over the wall. He was at times visited by pilgrims, whom he refused to see; but gradually a number of would-be disciples established themselves in caves and in huts around the mountain, Thus a colony of ascetics was formed, who begged Anthony to come forth and be their guide in the spiritual life. At length, about the year 305, he yielded to their importunities an emerged from his retreat, and, to the surprise of all, he appeared to be as when he had gone in, not emaciated, but vigorous in body and mind.
For five or six years he devoted himself to the instruction and organization of the great body of monks that had grown up around him; but then he once again withdrew into the inner desert that lay between the Nile and the Red Sea, near the shore of which he fixed his abode on a mountain where still stands the monastery that bears his name, Der Mar Antonios. Here he spent the last forty-five years of his life, in a seclusion, not so strict as Pispir, for he freely saw those who came to visit him, and he used to cross the desert to Pispir with considerable frequency. The Life says that on two occasions he went to Alexandria, once after he came forth from the fort at Pispir, to strengthen the Christian martyrs in the persecution of 311, and once at the close of his life (c. 350), to preach against the Arians. The Life says he died at the age of a hundred and five, and St. Jerome places his death in 356-357. All the chronology is based on the hypothesis that this date and the figures in the Life are correct. At his own request his grave was kept secret by the two disciples who buried him, lest his body should become an object of reverence.
Of his writings, the most authentic formulation of his teaching is without doubt that which is contained in the various sayings and discourses put into his mouth in the Life, especially the long ascetic sermons (16-43) spoken on his coming forth from the fort at Pispir. It is an instruction on the duties of the spiritual life, in which the warfare with demons occupies the chief place. Though probably not an actual discourse spoken on any single occasion, it can hardly be a mere invention of the biographer, and doubtless reproduces St. Anthony's actual doctrine, brought together and co-ordinated. It is likely that many of the sayings attributed to him in the "Apophthegmata" really go back to him, and the same may be said of the stories told of him in Cassian and Palladius. There is a homogeneity about these records, and a certain dignity and spiritual elevation that seem to mark them with the stamp of truth, and to justify the belief that the picture they give us of St Anthony's personality, character, and teaching is essentially authentic. A different verdict has to be passed on the writings that go under his name, to be found in P.G., XL. The Sermons and twenty Epistles from the Arabic are by common consent pronounced wholly spurious. St. Jerome (Illustrious Men 88) knew seven epistles translated from the Coptic into Greek; the Greek appears to be lost, but a Latin version exists (ibid.), and Coptic fragments exist of three of these letters, agreeing closely with the Latin; they may be authentic, but it would be premature to decide. Better is the position of a Greek letter to Theodore, preserved in the "Epistola Ammonis ad Theophilum", sect. 20, and said to be a translation of a Coptic original; there seems to be no sufficient ground for doubting that it really was written by Anthony (see Butler, Lausiac History of Palladius, Part I, 223). The authorities are agreed that St. Anthony knew no Greek and spoke only Coptic. There exists a monastic Rule that bears St. Anthony's name, preserved in Latin and Arabic forms (P.G., XL, 1065). While it cannot be received as having been actually composed by Anthony, it probably in large measure goes back to him, being for the most part made up out of the utterances attributed to him in the Life and the "Apophthegmata"; it contains, however, an element derived from the spuria and also from the "Pachomian Rules". It was compiled at an early date, and had a great vogue in Egypt and the East. At this day it is the rule followed by the Uniat Monks of Syria and Armenia, of whom the Maronites, with sixty monasteries and 1,100 monks, are the most important; it is followed also by the scanty remnants of Coptic monachism. It will be proper to define St. Anthony's place, and to explain his influence in the history of Christian monachism. He probably was not the first Christian hermit; it is more reasonable to believe that, however little historical St. Jerome's "Vita Pauli" may be, some kernel of fact underlies the story (Butler, op. cit., Part I, 231, 232), but Paul's existence was wholly unknown unknown till long after Anthony has become the recognized leader of Christian hermits. Nor was St. Anthony a great legislator and organizer of monks, like his younger contemporary Pachomius; for, though Pachomius's first foundations were probably some ten or fifteen years later than Anthony's coming forth from his retreat at Pispir, it cannot be shown that Pachomius was directly influenced by Anthony, indeed his institute ran on quite different lines. And yet it is abundantly evident that from the middle of the fourth century throughout Egypt, as elsewhere, and among the Pachomian monks themselves, St. Anthony was looked upon as the founder and father of Christian monachism.
This great position was no doubt due to his commanding personality and high character, qualities that stand out clearly in all the records of him that have come down. The best study of his character is Newman's in the "Church of the Fathers" (reprinted in "Historical Sketches"). The following is his estimate: "His doctrine surely was pure and unimpeachable; and his temper is high and heavenly, without cowardice, without gloom, without formality, without self-complacency. Superstition is abject and crouching, it is full of thoughts of guilt; it distrusts God, and dreads the powers of evil. Anthony at least had nothing of this, being full of confidence, divine peace, cheerfulness, and valorousness, be he (as some men may judge) ever so much an enthusiast" (op. cit., Anthony in Conflict). Full of enthusiasm he was, but it did not make him fanatical or morose; his urbanity and gentleness, his moderation and sense stand out in many of the stories related of him. Abbot Moses in Cassian (Coll. II) says he had heard Anthony maintaining that of all virtues discretion was the most essential for attaining perfection; and the little known story of Eulogius and the Cripple, preserved in the Lausiac History (xxi), illustrates the kind of advice and direction he gave to those who sought his guidance.
The monasticism established under St. Anthony's direct influence became the norm in Northern Egypt, from Lycopolis (Asyut) to the Mediterranean. In contradistinction to the fully coenobitical system, established by Pachomius in the South, it continued to be of a semi-eremetical character, the monks living commonly in separate cells or huts, and coming together only occasionally for church services; they were left very much to their own devices, and the life they lived was not a community life according to rule, as now understood (see Butler, op. cit., Part I, 233-238). This was the form of monastic life in the deserts of Nitria and Scete, as portrayed by Palladius and Cassian. Such groups of semi-independent hermitages were later on called Lauras, and have always existed in the East alongside of the Basilian monasteries; in the West St. Anthony's monachism is in some measure represented by the Carthusians. Such was St. Anthony's life and character, and such his role in Christian history. He is justly recognized as the father not only of monasticism, strictly so called, but of the technical religious life in every shape and form. Few names have exercised on the human race an influence more deep and lasting, more widespread, or on the whole more beneficent.
Edited from The Catholic Encyclopedia - Image SHARED from Google Images
Prayer:
God our Father,
You gave St Anthony of Egypt
the courage and belief of an apostle
to give up his wealth,
living a life of poverty and solitude,
and to found monasteries.
Help us to be zealous in imitating his virtues
and to follow in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Grant this through the same Christ Our Lord
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Pope Francis recommends a Prayer to be Repeated Daily “Lord, I am a sinner, have mercy on me, have compassion on me"


Pope: asking Jesus 'if you will’ is a challenge and an act of trust
"His compassion, He will take upon Himself our problems, our sins, our inner diseases, everything". " “Compassion gets involved, it comes from the heart and gets involved, and it leads you to do something. Compassion is “suffering with”, taking the suffering of the other person upon yourself in order to resolve it, to heal it."


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The prayer “Lord, if you will”, it is “a challenge, but also it is an act of trust. I know that He can and for this reason I entrust myself to Him "," His compassion will take up our problems, our sins, our inner diseases, everything", said Pope Francis today at mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta, taking inspiration from the passage of the Gospel (Mk 1,40-45) which tells of the healing of the leper who turns to Jesus saying "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”.

In his homily, Pope Francis said that the leper’s request is a simple prayer, “an act of confidence” — but at the same time, “a true challenge”. It is plea that comes from the depths of his heart, which also reveals something about Jesus and His compassion for us. Jesus, the Pope said, suffers “with and for us”, He takes the suffering of others upon Himself, comforting them and healing them in the name the love of the Father.

Reflecting on the “simple” story of the healing of the leper, Pope Francis said that the phrase, “If you will…” is a prayer that “gets God’s attention”. “It is a challenge”, he said, “but also an act of confidence: I know that He can do it, and so I entrust myself to Him”.The leper was able to make this prayer, Pope Francis said, “because he saw how Jesus acted. This man had seen the compassion of Jesus”. Compassion, not pity, is a “refrain in the Gospel” — a common theme seen in the story of the widow of Nain, and in the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son:

Compassion gets involved, it comes from the heart and gets involved, and it leads you to do something. Compassion is “suffering with”, taking the suffering of the other person upon yourself in order to resolve it, to heal it. And this was the mission of Jesus. Jesus did not come to preach the law and then leave. Jesus came in compassion, that is, to suffer with and for us and to give us life itself. The love of Jesus is so great that compassion led Him precisely to the Cross, to give His life.

The Pope invited us to repeat “this little phrase” often. Because Jesus has compassion, the Pope explained, “He is capable of involving Himself in our sorrows, in the problems of others”. Jesus, he said, did not come simply to give a few sermons and then return to heaven; not to wash His hands.  He came to be close to us, and He remains always at our side.

Pope Francis explained how this expression can be turned into a prayer that we can use every day:“Lord, if you will, you can heal me; if you will, you can forgive me; if you will, you can help me.” Or, if you want, [you can make it] a little longer: “Lord, I am a sinner, have mercy on me, have compassion on me”. A simple prayer that can be said many times a day. “Lord, I, a sinner, ask you: have mercy on me”. Many times a day, inwardly, from the heart, without saying it out loud: “Lord, if you will, you can; if you will, you can. Have compassion on me”. Repeat this.

The leper, with his simple and “miraculous” prayer, was able to obtain healing thanks to the compassion of Jesus, who loves us despite our sinfulness.He is not ashamed of us. “O Father, I am a sinner, how can I say this?...” [This is] better! For He came precisely for us sinners, and the greater a sinner you are, the closer the Lord is to you, for He has come for you, the greatest sinner; for me, the greatest sinner; for all of us. Let us make a habit of repeating this prayer, always: “Lord, if you will it, you can do it. If you will it, you can do it”, with confidence that the Lord is close to us; and with His compassion, He will take upon Himself our problems, our sins, our inner diseases, everything.
Full Text Source: AsiaNews.IT

#BreakingNews RIP Fr. Jozef Hollanders, OMI - Missionary Priest from Belgium Killed in Robbery Attempt at Age 83 in S. Africa


AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - Belgian missionary killed in alleged robbery attempt
Thursday, 16 January 2020

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - The Oblates of Mary Immaculate in South Africa, OMISA are devastated by the death of Fr. Jozef (Jef) Hollanders, killed in a robbery in the parish of Bodibe, near Mahikeng, in the northwestern province of South Africa, on Sunday night 12 January", says a statement sent to Agenzia Fides. "His body was discovered on Monday afternoon by a parishioner. The police are fully involved in investigating his murder".
"We are deeply affected by what has happened. Jeff was found tied hand and foot and with a rope around his neck. A terrible death for someone who dedicated his whole life to his mission", says Fr. Daniël Coryn, provincial superior of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary, from Blanden in Belgium. According to His Exc. Mgr. Victor Phalana of Klerksdorp, Bishop of Bodibe, the missionary probably died of a heart attack or strangulation.
It is not excluded that Fr. Hollanders suffered a robbery attempt, but according to Archbishop Phalana, the robbers were misinformed: "Everyone knows he had no money. He served a poor community. He used every penny he ever owned for his people. He gave away everything he had". According to the Bishop, the ecclesial community has been hit hard. Fr. Hollanders was "full of enthusiasm, life and dedication" and spoke fluently Afrikaans and Tswana, a Bantu language spoken in South Africa and Botswana. "He was part of people's lives".
Fr. Hollanders was born in Belgium on March 4, 1937. He professed his first vows as an Oblate on September 8, 1958 and was ordained a priest on December 26, 1963. He arrived in South Africa on January 31, 1965.
"For 55 years was a dedicated and faithful missionary in the Tswana-speaking area, now North West Province of South Africa", underlines the statement. "He liked to create new Christian communities, which have become parishes or parish stations in what has become the diocese of Klerksdorp."
"We were reminded that Jesus died at the hands of others and we imagined that Father Jef would say:" Forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing", concludes the OMISA statement.
The funeral of Fr. Hollanders will take place on Wednesday 22 January, at 10 am, in the cathedral of Klerksdorp. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/1/2020)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, January 16, 2020 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
 Lectionary: 308
 Reading 11 SM 4:1-11
The Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel.
Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.
The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel.
After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines,
who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.
When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said,
“Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the LORD from Shiloh
that it may go into battle among us
and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”
So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there
the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.
When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.
The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked,
“What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”
On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were frightened.
They said, “Gods have come to their camp.”
They said also, “Woe to us! This has never happened before. Woe to us!
Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?
These are the gods that struck the Egyptians
with various plagues and with pestilence.
Take courage and be manly, Philistines;
otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews,
as they were your slaves.
So fight manfully!”
The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated;
every man fled to his own tent.
It was a disastrous defeat,
in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured,
and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead.

Responsorial Psalm44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25

R.    (27b)  Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Yet now you have cast us off and put us in disgrace,
and you go not forth with our armies.
You have let us be driven back by our foes;
those who hated us plundered us at will.
R.    Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
You made us the reproach of our neighbors,
the mockery and the scorn of those around us.
You made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
R.    Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.
Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth.
R.    Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

AlleluiaMT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.