Thursday, February 13, 2020

Saint February 14 : St. Valentine, a Martyr and the Patron of Love and Marriage


 In the early martyrologies, three different St. Valentines are mentioned, all sharing Feb. 14 for a feast day. 

The 1st -
A Roman Priest during the reign  of Emperor Claudias II who persecuted the church at that particular time," an edict prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died." Valentine was caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius II.  "One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter, Julia, was blind.  Valentine gave Julia lessons because she needed someone to read material for her to learn it. Valentine then became friends with Julia through his work with her when she came to visit him in jail.
Emperor Claudius came to like Valentine, too, so he offered to pardon Valentine and set him free if Valentine would renounce his Christian faith and agree to worship the Roman gods. Not only did Valentine refuse to leave his faith, he also encouraged Emperor Claudius to place his trust in Christ. Valentine’s faithful choices cost him his life. Emperor Claudius was so enraged at Valentine’s response that he sentenced Valentine to die. Valentine prayed with and healedJulia,and Asterius himself became Christian as a result.

Valentine used his time in jail to continue to reach out to people with the love that he said Jesus Christ gave him for others.
Before he was killed, Valentine wrote a last note to encourage Julia to stay close to Jesus and to thank her for being his friend. He signed the note: “From your Valentine.” That note inspired people to begin writing their own loving messages to people on Valentine’s Feast Day.

SEE ALSO:
Easy Novena to St. Valentine - Patron of Love, Marriage and Fiancees - Prayers to SHARE https://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2018/02/easy-novena-to-st-valentine-patron-of.html
In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius' daughter. He inspired today's romantic missives by signing it, "from your Valentine." Eventually, St. Valentine was also arrested, condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on Feb. 14, AD 270. He was buried on the Flaminian Way. Later, Pope Julius I (333-356) built a basilica at the site which preserved St. Valentine's tomb. Archeological digs in the 1500s and 1800s have found evidence of the tomb of St. Valentine. However, in the thirteenth century, his relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where they remain today. Also, a small church was built near the Flaminian Gate of Rome which is now known as the Porta del Popolo but was called in the 12th century "the Gate of St. Valentine," as noted by the early British historian William Somerset (also known as William of Malmesbury, d. 1143), who ranks after St. Bede in authority.

The second St. Valentine was the Bishop of Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). Under the orders of Prefect Placidus, he too was arrested, scourged, and decapitated, again suffering persecution during the time of Emperor Claudius II.

The third St. Valentine suffered martyrdom in Africa with several companions. However, nothing further is known about this saint. In all, these men, each named St. Valentine, showed heroic love for the Lord and His Church.
The popular customs of showing love and affection on St. Valentine's Day is almost a coincidence with the feast day of the saint: During the Medieval Age, a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on Feb.14, "half-way through the second month of the year." Chaucer wrote in his "Parliament of Foules" (in Old English): "For this was on Seynt Valentyne's day, When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." For this reason, the day was dedicated to "lovers" and prompted the sending of letters, gifts, or other signs of affection.
Another literary example of St. Valentine's Day remembrances is found in Dame Elizabeth Brews "Paston Letters" (1477), where she writes to the suitor, John Paston, of her daughter, Margery: "And, cousin mine, upon Monday is St. Valentine's day and every bird chooseth himself a mate, and if it like you to come on Thursday night, and make provision that you may abide till then, I trust to God that ye shall speak to my husband and I shall pray that we may bring the matter to a conclusion." In turn, Margery wrote to John: "Unto my right well beloved Valentine John Paston, Squyer, be this bill delivered. Right reverend and worshipful and my right well beloved Valentine, I recommend me unto you, full heartily desiring to hear of your welfare, which I beseech Almighty God long for to preserve until His pleasure and your heart's desire." While speaking of the amorous flavour of Valentine's Day, no mention is made of the saint. The love of our Lord, depicted beautifully in the image of His most Sacred Heart, is a sacrificial, self-less, and unconditional love. Such is the love that each Christian is called to express in his own life, for God and neighbour. Clearly, St. Valentine-no matter which one-showed such a love, bearing witness to the faith in his dedication as a priest and in the offering of his own life in martyrdom. On this Valentine's day, looking to the example of this great saint, each person should offer again his love to the Lord, for only by doing so can he properly love those who are entrusted to his care and any other neighbour. Each person should again pledge his love to those loved ones, praying for their intentions, promising fidelity to them, and thanking them for their love in return. Never forget Jesus said, "This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15:12-13). St. Valentine fulfilled this command, and may we do the same. 


SOURCE: Edited with info from Catholic Enclopedia - Updated Feb 14

Pope Francis Warns us not to say "‘Everyone is doing it'....We justify ourselves with these words, at the price of losing our faithfulness.."


Pope at Mass: Beware of ‘slippery slide’ toward worldliness
In his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis warns against letting our hearts wander unwittingly into apostasy.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis reflected on the First Reading (1 Kgs 11:4-13), which tells of the “apostasy of Solomon” as he turns away from the Lord in his old age.

“When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods,” the passage says of King David’s son.

Slow slide into apostasy
Pope Francis said King Solomon began as a “good boy”, who asked the Lord for wisdom and received it. Judges, and even the Queen of Sheba in Africa, came bearing gifts because they had heard of his wisdom.

At that time, said the Pope, it was possible to have more than one wife, even though, he explained, that did not mean it was licit to be “a womanizer”.

But Solomon’s heart became weak not because he married several women, but because they came from other peoples who served other gods. He fell into “a trap” by letting his wives convince him to adore their idols, “entering into paganism”.

“His wasn’t an apostasy from one day to the next,” said Pope Francis. “It was a slow apostasy.” King Solomon did not just sin once but “slid” into sin.

“The women led his heart astray, and the Lord rebuked him: ‘You turned away your heart.’ This happens in our own lives. None of us is a criminal; none of us commits great sins like David did with the wife of Uriah. But wherein lies the danger? Letting ourselves slide slowly, because it is an anesthetized fall. You don’t even realize it, but slowly you slip. Things get relativized, and faithfulness to God is lost. These women were from other peoples – they had their own gods – and how often do we forget the Lord and begin to deal with other gods: money, vanity, pride. But this is done slowly, and without the grace of God everything is lost.”

Beware of worldliness
Pope Francis then recalled Psalm 106, to underline how “mingling with the nations” and serving their idols means becoming worldly and pagan.

“For us this slippery slide in life is directed toward worldliness. This is the grave sin: ‘Everyone is doing it. Don’t worry about it; obviously it’s not ideal, but…’ We justify ourselves with these words, at the price of losing our faithfulness to the one and only God. They are modern idols. Let us consider this sin of worldliness, of losing the authenticity of the Gospel, the authenticity of the Word of God, and the love of God who gave His life for us. There is no way to maintain a good relationship with God and with the devil.”

The love of God will save us
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis invited us to ask the Lord for the grace to stop ourselves when we notice that our heart has begun to slip away from Him.

“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to understand when our heart begins to weaken and to slide, so that we can stop. His grace and love will stop that slide if we ask in prayer.”

Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

#BreakingNews Coronavirus Fears cause Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong to Suspend all Holy Masses to Avoid Transmission - Video


The Catholic diocese of Hong Kong has suspended public Holy Mass to avoid transmission of the Coronavirus.
Card. Tong announces special pastoral measures. 



Watch this Video produced by the Diocese of Hong Kong with Cardinal Tong's Message:

Public Holy Mass will be suspended until February 28, in the diocese of Hong Kong.
The only religious activities that will not be suspended are weddings and funerals. Parishes and chapels will remain open; to allow the faithful to adore the Blessed Sacrament and pray for the end of the emergency. The diocese offers 2 alternatives to participation in Sunday Mass: to watch the live online services, broadcast on the diocese's website, or meditate on the readings of the day and pray the Rosary.
FULL TEXT Statement from the Diocese of Hong Kong:


As the situation of the Coronavirus outbreak is becoming more and more critical, Cardinal John TONG has approved the following special arrangements for coming Lent and Easter Time :

• On Ash Wednesday (February 26) there will be no “public” Masses, nor the blessing and distribution of ashes.

• All Lenten works of penance and spiritual exercises, including the Way of the Cross, should be performed personally, not communally.


• As the regular gatherings of the catechumens in preparation for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults have been considerably interrupted by the social unrest in the second half of last year, and again by the recent Coronavirus outbreak, it is not expedient to celebrate the Rite at coming Easter (April 11 and 12). The usual rite of election and the scrutinies will therefore be cancelled, and the celebration of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults will be postponed to Pentecost (May 31)

• In compliance with liturgical norms, the Office of the Diocesan Liturgy Commission will provide —

• the rite (simplified) for the celebration of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation at Pentecost; • the rites (to be celebrated at the gatherings of catechumens) relating to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults to be held at Pentecost.

• The usual Eucharistic celebration for the newly baptized at Pentecost will be cancelled. •


Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, February 13, 2020 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 332
Reading 11 KGS 11:4-13
When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods,
and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God,
as the heart of his father David had been.
By adoring Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians,
and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites,
Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD;
he did not follow him unreservedly as his father David had done.
Solomon then built a high place to Chemosh, the idol of Moab,
and to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites,
on the hill opposite Jerusalem.
He did the same for all his foreign wives
who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon,
because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel,
who had appeared to him twice
(for though the LORD had forbidden him
this very act of following strange gods,
Solomon had not obeyed him).
So the LORD said to Solomon: “Since this is what you want,
and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes
which I enjoined on you,
I will deprive you of the kingdom and give it to your servant.
I will not do this during your lifetime, however,
for the sake of your father David;
it is your son whom I will deprive.
Nor will I take away the whole kingdom.
I will leave your son one tribe for the sake of my servant David
and of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

Responsorial Psalm106:3-4, 35-36, 37 AND 40

R.    (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people;
visit us with your saving help.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But they mingled with the nations
and learned their works.
They served their idols,
which became a snare for them.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance.
R.    Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

AlleluiaJAS 1:21BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 7:24-30

Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, “Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him,
“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.