Wednesday, January 2, 2013

HOLY NAME OF JESUS - PRAYERS - NOVENA - LITANY - FEAST JAN. 3

Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of JESUS. This is celebrated on different dates depending on the rite. However, the 8 days after Christmas signify the date of the Circumcision of Jesus. On that day Jesus was given His name as foretold by the angel. The monogram signifying the Holy Name of Jesus consists of the three letters: IHS. In the Middle Ages the Name of Jesus was written: IHESUS; the monogram contains the first and last letter of the Holy Name. (IMAGE SOURCE/SHARE GOOGLE)
NOVENA TO THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS
O Merciful Jesus, Who didst in Thy early infancy commence Thy office of Savior by shedding Thy Precious Blood, and assuming for us that name which is above all names; we thank Thee for such early proofs of Thine infinite love. We venerate Thy sacred name, in union with the profound respect of the Angel who first announced it to the earth, and unite our affections to the sentiments of tender devotion which the adorable name of Jesus has in all ages enkindled in the hearts of Thy Saints.

Animated with a firm faith in Thy unerring word, and penetrated with confidence in Thy mercy, we now most humbly remind Thee of the promise Thou hast made, that where two or three should assemble in Thy name, Thou Thyself wouldst be in the midst of them. Come, then, into the midst of us, most amiable Jesus, for it is in Thy sacred name we are here assembled; come into our hearts, that we may be governed by Thy holy spirit; mercifully grant us, through that adorable name, which is the joy of Heaven, the terror of Hell, the consolation of the afflicted, and the solid ground of our unlimited confidence,
all the petitions we make in this novena.

Oh! blessed Mother of our Redeemer! Who didst participate so sensibly in the sufferings of thy dear Son when He shed His Sacred Blood and assumed for us the name of Jesus, obtain for us,through that adorable name, the favors we petition in this novena.

Beg also, that the most ardent love may imprint on our hearts that sacred name, that it may be always in our minds and frequently on our lips; that it may be our defense and our refuge in the temptations and trials of life, and our consolation and support in the hour of death. Amen.
 
LITANY OF THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS

Lord, have mercyLord, have mercy
Christ, have mercyChrist, have mercy
Lord, have mercyLord, have mercy


God our Father in heavenhave mercy on us
God the Son,have mercy on us
Redeemer of the worldhave mercy on us
God the Holy Spirithave mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one Godhave mercy on us
Jesus, Son of the living Godhave mercy on us
Jesus, splendor of the Fatherhave mercy on us
Jesus, brightness of everlasting lighthave mercy on us
Jesus, king of gloryhave mercy on us
Jesus, dawn of justicehave mercy on us
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Maryhave mercy on us
Jesus, worthy of our lovehave mercy on us
Jesus, worthy of our wonderhave mercy on us
Jesus, mighty Godhave mercy on us
Jesus, father of the world to comehave mercy on us
Jesus, prince of peacehave mercy on us
Jesus, all-powerfulhave mercy on us
Jesus, pattern of patiencehave mercy on us
Jesus, model of obediencehave mercy on us
Jesus, gentle and humble of hearthave mercy on us
Jesus, lover of chastityhave mercy on us
Jesus, lover of us allhave mercy on us
Jesus, God of peacehave mercy on us
Jesus, author of lifehave mercy on us
Jesus, model of goodnesshave mercy on us
Jesus, seeker of soulshave mercy on us
Jesus, our Godhave mercy on us
Jesus, our refugehave mercy on us
Jesus, father of the poorhave mercy on us
Jesus, treasure of the faithfulhave mercy on us
Jesus, Good Shepherdhave mercy on us
Jesus, the true lighthave mercy on us
Jesus, eternal wisdomhave mercy on us
Jesus, infinite goodnesshave mercy on us
Jesus, our way and our lifehave mercy on us
Jesus, joy of angelshave mercy on us
Jesus, king of patriarchshave mercy on us
Jesus, teacher of apostleshave mercy on us
Jesus, master of evangelistshave mercy on us
Jesus, courage of martyrshave mercy on us
Jesus, light of confessorshave mercy on us
Jesus, purity of virginshave mercy on us
Jesus, crown of all saintshave mercy on us


Lord, be mercifulJesus, save your people
From all evilJesus, save your people
From every sinJesus, save your people
From the snares of the devilJesus, save your people
From your angerJesus, save your people
From the spirit of infidelityJesus, save your people
From everlasting deathJesus, save your people
From neglect of your Holy SpiritJesus, save your people
By the mystery of your incarnationJesus, save your people
By your birthJesus, save your people
By your childhoodJesus, save your people
By your hidden lifeJesus, save your people
By your public ministryJesus, save your people
By your agony and crucifixionJesus, save your people
By your abandonmentJesus, save your people
By your grief and sorrowJesus, save your people
By your death and burialJesus, save your people
By your rising to new lifeJesus, save your people
By your return in glory to the FatherJesus, save your people
By your gift of the holy EucharistJesus, save your people
By your joy and gloryJesus, save your-people


Christ, hear usChrist, hear us
Lord Jesus, hear our prayerLord Jesus, hear our prayer
Lamb of God, you take away
the sins of the worldhave mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away
the sins of the worldhave mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away
the sins of the worldhave mercy on us

Let us pray.
Lord, may we who honor the holy name of Jesus enjoy his friendship in this life and be filled with eternal joy in the kingdom where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. JAN. 3, 2012 - HOLY NAME OF JESUS


Matthew 1: 18 - 23


18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit;
19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;
21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us).

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 3 : ST. GENEVIEVE

St. Genevieve
VIRGIN, CHIEF PATRONESS OF THE CITY OF PARIS
Feast: January 3


Information:
Feast Day:January 3
Born:
422 at Nanterre near Paris, France
Died:500 at Paris, France
Patron of:Paris
Her father's name was Severus, and her mother's Gerontia: she was born about the year 422, at Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris, near the famous modern stations, or Calvary, adorned with excellent sculptures, representing our Lord's Passion, on Mount Valerien. When St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, went with St. Lupus into Britain to oppose the Pelagian heresy, he lay at Nanterre in his way. The inhabitants flocked about them to receive their blessing, and St. Germanus made them an exhortation, during which he took particular notice of Genevieve, though only seven years of age. After his discourse he inquired for her parents, and addressing himself to them, foretold their daughter's future sanctity, and said that she would perfectly accomplish the resolution she had taken of serving God, and that others would imitate her example. He then asked Genevieve whether it was not her desire to serve God in a state of perpetual virginity, and to bear no other title than that of a spouse of Jesus Christ. The virgin answered that this was what she had long desired, and begged that by his blessing she might be from that moment consecrated to God. The holy prelate went to the church of the place, followed by the people, and, during long singing of psalms and prayers, says Constantius,[1] that is, during the recital of None and Vespers, as the author of the life of St. Genevieve expresses it,[2] he held his hand upon the virgin's head. After he had supped, he dismissed her, giving her a strict charge to her parents to bring her again to him very early the next morning. The father complied with the commission, and St. Germanus asked Genevieve whether she remembered the promise she had made to God. She said she did, and declared she would, by the divine assistance, faithfully perform it. The bishop gave her a brass medal, on which a cross was engraved, to wear always about her neck, to put her in mind of the consecration she had made of herself to God; and at the same time, he charged her never to wear bracelets, or necklaces of pearls, gold or silver, or any other ornaments of vanity. All this she most religiously observed, and considering herself as the spouse of Christ, gave herself up to the most fervent practices of devotion and penance. From the words of St. Germanus, in his exhortation to St. Genevieve never to wear jewels, Baillet and some others infer that she must have been a person of quality and fortune: but the ancient Breviary and constant tradition of the place assure us that her father was a poor shepherd.

About fifteen years of age, she was presented to the Bishop of Paris to receive the religious veil at his hand, together with two other persons of the same sex. Though she was the youngest of the three, the bishop placed her first, saying that heaven had already sanctified her; by which he seems to have alluded to the promise she had already made, in the presence of SS. Germanus and Lupus, of consecrating herself to God. From that time she frequently ate only twice in the week, on Sundays and Thursdays. Her food was barley bread with a few beans. At the age of fifty, by the command of certain bishops, she mitigated this austerity so far as to allow herself a moderate use of fish and milk. Her prayer was almost continual, and generally attended with a large flow of tears. After the death of her parents she left Nanterre, and settled with her grandmother at Paris, but sometimes undertook journeys upon motives of charity, and illustrated the cities of Meaux, Laon, Tours, Orleans, and all other places wherever she went, with miracles and remarkable predictions. God permitted her to meet with some severe trials; for at a certain time all persons indiscriminately seemed TO be in a combination against her, and persecuted her under the opprobrious names of visionary, hypocrite, and the like imputations, all tending to asperse her innocency. The arrival of St. Germanus at Paris, probably on his second journey to Britain, for some time silenced her calumniators; but it was not long ere the storm broke out anew. Her enemies were fully determined to drown her, when the Archdeacon of Auxerre arrived with <Eulogies>, or blessed bread, sent her by St. Germanus, as a testimony of his particular esteem for her virtues, and a token of communion. This seems to have happened whilst St. Germanus was absent in Italy in 449, a little before his death. This circumstance, so providentially opportune, converted the prejudices of her calumniators into a singular veneration for her during the remainder of her life. The Franks or French had then possessed themselves of the better part of Gaul, and Childeric, their king, took Paris. During the long blockade of that city, the citizens being extremely distressed by famine, St. Genevieve, as the author of her life relates, went out at the head of a company who were sent to procure provisions, and brought back from Arcis-sur-Aube and Troyes several boats laden with corn. Nevertheless, Childeric, when he had made himself master of Paris, though always a pagan, respected St. Genevieve, and, upon her intercession, spared the lives of many prisoners, and did several other acts of clemency and bounty. Our saint, out of her singular devotion to St. Dionysius and his companions, the apostles of the country, frequently visited their tombs at the borough of Catulliacum, which many think the borough since called St. Denys. She also excited the zeal of many pious persons to build there a church in honour of St. Dionysius, which King Dagobert I afterwards rebuilt with a stately monastery in 629. St. Genevieve likewise performed several pilgrimages, in company with other holy virgins, to the shrine of St. Martin at Tours. These journeys of devotion she sanctified by the exercises of holy recollection and austere penance.

King Clovis, who embraced the faith in 496, listened often with deference to the advice of St. Genevieve, and granted liberty to several captives at her request. Upon the report of the march of Attila with his army of Huns, the Parisians were preparing to abandon their city, but St. Genevieve persuaded them, in imitation of Judith and Hester, to endeavour to avert the scourge, by fasting, watching, and prayer. Many devout persons of her sex passed many days with her in prayer in the baptistry; from whence the particular devotion to St. Genevieve, which is practiced at St. John-le-rond, the ancient public baptistry of the church of Paris, seems to have taken rise. She assured the people of the protection of heaven, and their deliverance; and though she was long treated by many as an impostor, the event verified the prediction, that barbarian suddenly changing the course of his march, probably by directing it towards Orleans.

Our authority attributes to St. Genevieve the first design of the magnificent church which Clovis began to build in honour of SS. Peter and Paul, by the pious counsel of his wife Saint Clotilda, by whom it was finished several years after; for he only laid the foundation a little before his death, which happened in 511 . St. Genevieve died about the same year, probably five weeks after that prince, on the 3rd of January, 512, being eighty-nine years old. Some think she died before King Clovis. The tombs of St. Genevieve and King Clovis were near together. Immediately after the saint was buried, the people raised an oratory of wood over her tomb, as her historian assures us, and this was soon changed into the stately church built under the invocation of SS. Peter and Paul. From this circumstance, we gather that her tomb was situated in a part of this church, which was only built after her death. Her tomb, though empty, is still shown in the subterraneous church, or vault, betwixt those of Prudentius, and St. Ceraunus, Bishop of Paris. But her relics were enclosed by St. Eligius in a costly shrine, adorned with gold and silver, which he made with his own hands about the year 630, as St. Owen relates in his life. The author of the original life of St. Genevieve concludes it by a description of the basilic which Clovis and St. Clotilda erected, adorned with a triple portico, in which were painted the histories of the patriarchs, prophets, martyrs, and confessors. This church was several times plundered, and at length burnt, by the Normans. When it was rebuilt, soon after the year 856, the relics of St. Genevieve were brought back. The miracles which were performed there from the time of her burial rendered this church famous all over France, so that at length it began to be known only by her name. The city of Paris has frequently received sensible proofs of the divine protection through her intercession. The most famous instance is that called the miracle of Des Ardens, or of the burning fever. In 1129, in the reign of Louis VI, a pestilential fever, with a violent inward heat, and pains in the bowels, swept off, in a short time, fourteen thousand persons, nor could the art of physicians afford any relief. Stephen, Bishop of Paris, with the clergy and people, implored the divine mercy, by fasting and supplications. Yet the distemper began not to abate till the shrine of St. Genevieve was carried in a solemn procession to the cathedral. During that ceremony many sick persons were cured by touching the shrine, and of all that then lay ill of that distemper in the whole town, only three died, the rest recovered, and no others fell ill. Pope Innocent II coming to Paris the year following, after having passed a careful scrutiny on the miracle, ordered an annual festival in commemoration of it on the 26th of November, which is still kept at Paris. A chapel near the cathedral, called anciently St. Genevieve's the Little, erected near the house in which she died, afterwards from this miracle, though it was wrought not at this chapel, but chiefly at the cathedral, as Le Beuf demonstrates, was called St. Genevieve Des Ardens, which was demolished in 1747 to make place for the Foundling Hospital.[3] Both before and since that time, it is the custom in extraordinary public calamities to carry the shrine of St. Genevieve, accompanied by those of St. Marcel, St. Aurea, St. Lucan martyr, St. Landry, St. Merry, St. Paxentius, St. Magloire, and others, in a solemn procession to the cathedral; on which occasion the regular canons of St. Genevieve walk barefoot, and at the right hand of the chapter of the cathedral, and the abbot walks on the right hand of the archbishop. The present rich shrine of St. Genevieve was made by the abbot, and the relics enclosed in it in 1242. See the " Ancient Life of St. Genevieve," written by an anonymous author, eighteen years after her death, of which the best edition is given by F. Charpentier, a Genevevan regular canon, in octavo, in 1697. It is interpolated in several editions.

SOURCE: EWTN.COM

VATICAN : POPE : TRUE ORIGIN OF JESUS - HE COMES FROM GOD

Vatican Radio REPORT-  Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his first general audience of the Year of Faith with a question: “Where do we believe Jesus comes from? How can the small and weak child have brought such radical novelty to the world to change the course of history?”After the audience he tweeted a message to his millions of followers: “When we entrust ourselves to the Lord completely, everything changes. We are children of a Father who loves us, and never leaves us.
Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

the Nativity of the Lord once again illuminates the darkness that often surrounds our world and our hearts with his light, bringing hope and joy. Where does this light come from? From the stable in Bethlehem, where the shepherds found "Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger" (Lk 2:16). Before this Holy Family, another and deeper question arises: how can the small and weak child have brought such radical novelty to the world to change the course of history? Is there not something mysterious in its origin that goes beyond that stable?

Again and again the question of the origin of Jesus emerges, the same one posed by the prosecutor Pontius Pilate during the trial: "Where are you from?" (Jn 19:29). Yet the origin is very clear. In the Gospel of John, when the Lord says: "I am the bread which came down from heaven," the Jews react muttering, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" (Jn 6.42). And, a little later, the citizens of Jerusalem are deeply opposed to Jesus’ claim Messiahship, stating “But we know where he is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from." (Jn 7 , 27). Jesus himself points out how inadequate their claim to know his origin, and with this already offers an indication to know where he comes from: "You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true"(Jn 7:28). Of course, Jesus was from Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, but what is known about his true origin?

In the four Gospels answer to the question "where" Jesus is from clearly emerges, his true origin is the Father, He comes entirely from Him, but in a different way from any prophet sent by God who preceded him. This originates in the mystery of God, who "no one knows", it is already contained in the infancy narratives of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which we are reading in this Christmas season. The angel Gabriel announces: "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God"(Lk 1:35). We repeat these words every time we recite the Creed, the profession of faith: "et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto, ex Maria Virgine," "by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary". In this sentence we bow our heads for the veil that hid God is, so to speak, lifted and his unfathomable and inaccessible mystery touches us directly: God becomes Emmanuel, "God with us." When we listen to the Masses composed by the great masters of sacred music, I think of the example of Mozart's Great Mass, we immediately notice how they linger especially on this phrase, as if to try to express in the universal language of music that which words can not: the great mystery of God who becomes incarnate, who becomes man.

If we carefully consider the expression "through the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary," we find that it includes four subjects that interact. The Holy Spirit and Mary are explicitly mentioned, but it is understood "He," that is, the Son, became flesh in the womb of the Virgin. In the profession of faith, the Creed, Jesus is referred to by different names: "Lord, ... Christ, the only Son of God ... God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God ... consubstantial with the Father" (Nicene- Constantinople Creed). We see then that "He" refers to another person, the Father. The first subject of this sentence is, therefore, the Father who with the Son and the Holy Spirit, is the one God.

This affirmation in the Creed is not about the eternal being of God, but rather speaks of an action which takes part in the three divine Persons and that is realised “ex Maria Virgine”. Without her, the entry of God into human history would not have come to its end and that which is central to our profession of faith, would not have taken place: God is a God with us. Thus Mary belongs in an essential way to our faith in the God who acts, who intervenes in history. She offers her whole person, "agrees" to become the dwelling place of God.

Sometimes, even in the journey and life of faith we can feel our poverty, our inadequacy in the face of the witness to offer the world. But God chose a humble woman, in an unknown village, in one of the most distant provinces of the great Roman Empire. Always, even in the midst of the most difficult problems to face, we must trust in God, renewing faith in His presence and action in our history, like in that of Mary. Nothing is impossible with God! With him, our lives always walk on solid ground and are open to a future of firm hope.

Profess in the Creed: "through the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary," we affirm that the Holy Spirit as the power of the Most High God has worked in a mysterious way in the Virgin Mary's conception of the Son of God. The Evangelist Luke records the words of the Archangel Gabriel: "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (1.35). Two references are obvious: first, at the time of creation. At the beginning of the Book of Genesis we read that "the spirit of God was hovering over the waters" (1.2), it is the Creator Spirit who gave life to all things and human beings. What happens in Mary, through the working of the divine Spirit, is a new creation: God, who called being from nothing, with the Incarnation gives life to a new beginning of humanity. The Church Fathers often speak of Christ as the new Adam, to mark the beginning of the new creation of the birth of the Son of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This makes us reflect on how the faith brings even to us a novelty so powerful as to make us be born anew. In fact, Baptism is the beginning of Christian life, when we are born again as children of God, to share in the filial relationship that Jesus has with the Father. And I would like to point out that Baptism is received, we "are baptized" – it is passive - because no one is capable of becoming a child on their own: it is a gift that is freely given. St. Paul recalls this adoptive sonship of Christians in a central passage of the Letter to the Romans, he writes: "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God"(8:14-16). Only if we open ourselves to God, like Mary, only if we entrust our lives to the Lord as a friend in whom we trust completely, everything changes, our life takes on a new meaning and a new face: that of the children of a Father who loves us and never abandons us.
Finally, I would add a further element in the words of the Annunciation. The angel says to Mary: "The power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow." It 'a reminder of the holy cloud that during the Exodus journey, stopped over the Tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant, which the people of Israel brought with them, and that indicated the presence of God (cf. Ex 40 ,40,34-38). Mary is the new holy tabernacle, the new Ark of the Covenant: with her "yes" to the words of the Archangel, God receives a home in this world, He whom the universe can not contain comes to dwell in the womb of a virgin.

So let us return to the question with which we began, the origin of Jesus, synthesized by Pilate's question: "Where are you?". From these considerations it appears clear from the beginning of the Gospels, what the true origin of Jesus is: He is the Only Begotten of the Father, he comes from God. We are before the great and disconcerting mystery that we celebrate at Christmas time: the Son of God, through the Holy Spirit, was born of the Virgin Mary. This is an announcement that always sounds new and carries hope and joy to our hearts, because each time it gifts us the certainty that, even though we often feel weak, poor, unable to face the challenges and evil of the world, the power of God always works and works wonders in weakness. His grace is our strength (cf. 2 Cor 12:9-10).
* * * * *
When we profess the mystery of the incarnation in the Creed, we bow our heads in awe and adoration. We acknowledge that the incarnation is the work of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, brought about through Mary’s free cooperation. The incarnation is the beginning of the new creation. Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ is the new Adam who offers humanity rebirth in the waters of Baptism, by which we become sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. During this holy season, may we welcome the Saviour into our hearts, allow God’s power to strengthen and transform our weakness, and bear joyful witness to the dawning of the new creation.

I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking visitors present, including pilgrims from Norway, Japan, Vietnam and the United States. Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy, peace and prosperity for the year which has just begun. Happy New Year!

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA
BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR JANUARY 2013
Vatican City, 28 December 2012 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for January 2013 is: "That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him".
His mission intention is: "That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance".

JERUSALEM : LATIN PATRIARCH - MESSAGE FOR WORLD DAY OF PEACE

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT

Jerusalem: Latin Patriarch on World Day of Peace |  Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, World Day of Peace

Archbishop Fouad Twal
In his homily on the Feast of Mary, Mother of God yesterday, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal said Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day of Peace also celebrated on January 1, “encourages each of us to feel responsible for building peace.”
He also urged people to reflect on the Pope's reflection that the hotbeds of tension and conflict are caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism.”
The full text of Patriarch Twal’s homily at the Co-Cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, January 1, 2013 follows below:
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Fathers, dear Sisters, dear Friends,
Thank you for coming together to start the year 2013. I greet all of you with my best wishes for peace within us and peace around us. The greetings we mutually exchange commit us to work together, so that together, in the joys and struggles, in successes and failures, we can live this new year in the service of Mother Church, sharing with each other, our gifts, charism, and prayers. For this reason, I promptly express and reaffirm my appreciation and gratitude, because you have done so much. Nor can we forget those who have left us over the last year. May prayer unite us on earth and in heaven.
As you know, in the Catholic Church, January 1st is World Day of Peace. This day is dedicated to the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother. She will know better than anyone to intercede for her sons and daughters who live in the Holy Land and who desire peace in the Middle East. For today’s special celebration, Pope Benedict XVI sent a message full of wisdom and petition, the theme of which is taken from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Mt 5:9) The Holy Father invites all men and women of good will to work together to build a society with a more human and sympathetic expression. In this perspective, the Pope has devoted much of his message to “true” workers of peace, namely, “those who love, defend and promote life in its entirety.” His annual Message encourages each of us to feel responsible for building peace.
What I want to share with you is a small and practical vademecum (handbook) offered to us by Pope Benedict XVI for a commitment by Catholics to social, economic and political life, based on the Beatitudes. He provides a tool for reflection to overcome “violent conflicts” and “the hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism.”
The Pope does not fail to reference the “varied forms of terrorism and international crime, fundamentalism and fanaticism, which distort the true nature of religion.” Our Middle East and our beloved Holy Land suffer from the escalation of religious fundamentalism, which endangers the prospects of dialogue and coexistence among religions.
For the Holy Father, the answer to these challenges relating to peace is found precisely in the Beatitudes, from which, it is possible to build a society “based on truth, freedom, love and justice.” But, he adds, true peace is “the gift of God and the work of man.” In his book “Jesus of Nazareth”, Pope Benedict also comments on the Sermon on the Mount. With regard to the seventh Beatitude, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God,” he points out that “this brings to the fore a connection between divine Sonship and the kingship of peace.”
He continues: “Jesus is the Son, and he is truly the Son… Establishing peace is part of the very essence of Sonship.. The seventh Beatitude thus invites us to be and to do what the Son does, so that we ourselves may become ‘sons of God.’ This applies, the Pope continues, first of all in the context of each person’s life … Only the man who is reconciled with God can also be reconciled and in harmony with himself, and only man who is reconciled with God and with himself can establish peace around him and throughout the world … That there be peace on earth (Lk 2:14), is the will of God and, for that reason, it is a task given to man as well.”
The shepherds were the first to believe in the words of the angels: “Peace to men.” Peace among peoples can only be born and develop if it is first in every person, every family, every religious community, in every nation. Beyond the manger of Bethlehem, we must take a comprehensive look at the Holy Land. The successful outcome of the UN vote of Palestine as non-member State should promote peace throughout the land of Christ. With you, I am of the opinion that all means to achieve peace must come through justice and dialogue, and never through violence. The path itself is full of obstacles, but hope guides us and the song of the angels reassures us.
Two weeks ago, Pope Benedict XVI received in audience, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and invited the various Middle Eastern concerned parties present to have the “courage of reconciliation and peace.” Commenting on his visit to the Vatican, President Abbas told me of his amazement at seeing the joy of the Holy Father over the vote in favor of the State of Palestine.
How fervently we long for peace in Syria and an end to the blockade of Gaza! Let us pray without ceasing to encourage benevolent people to persevere to the end in their efforts of saying ‘NO’ to hatred and respecting legitimate religious, cultural and historical differences.
We Christians in the Middle East must be peacemakers, instruments of reconciliation. Here we have our place. Our history teaches us the important and essential role often played by the Christian communities in interreligious and intercultural dialogue. For this, we joyfully welcome the initiatives that unite us as Christians and that give us more strength. We have decided this year to celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar. Anglicans and Lutherans have joined this initiative. I hope that one day the Orthodox will make a courageous step to celebrate Christmas according to our Gregorian calendar.
The shepherds were the first worshipers and the first heralds of the Good News of salvation. The Gospel tells us: “And when they saw this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child” (Luke 2:17). God had chosen them as the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus. Filled with the love and peace of God, they returned to their fields, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
In the wake of the Synod on the New Evangelization, it is up to us today to be these shepherds starting again from the beginning, from the manger of Bethlehem. During this Year of Faith that the Church gives us to live, may we be faithful to the Child of the manger as were the shepherds. In this Year of Faith, we may ask ourselves: “Lord, increase our faith” (Lk 17:5).Lord, increase our understanding and cooperation.
Lord, increase in us unity and communion. Amen.
A Happy New Year of peace to all!
+ Fouad Twal
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH ST. RITA - PART 17

ASIA : PAKISTAN : 7 KILLED - 5 WOMEN TEACHERS BY GUNMEN

UCAN NEWS REPORT:
The NGO workers were attached to a charity that has experience of polio vaccination programs.
VOA News
Pakistan
2013-01-02 12:16:23
 
Catholic Church News Image of
Gunmen have ambushed a vehicle carrying Pakistani aid workers, killing seven people in northwest Pakistan.
A spokesman for the Pakistani NGO Support With Working Solutions, Mohammad Rafiq, said six of the victims were women. One male health worker was killed and the driver was wounded in the shooting.
The aid workers were on their way home when their vehicles were ambushed by gunmen on motorcycles Tuesday in the Swabi district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, about 75 kilometers northwest of Islamabad.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The NGO spokesman said the workers had not been threatened before and this was the first time such an incident had taken place.
Support With Working Solutions director Javed Akhtar later told reporters the aid workers may have been targeted for the charity's efforts to help vaccinate children against polio. The charity has been operating in the region for the past two decades.
Last month, nine polio vaccination workers were killed in attacks throughout Pakistan. The killings prompted the United Nations to halt work on the nationwide vaccination campaign.
In southern Pakistan on Tuesday, authorities say a bomb blast ripped through Karachi, killing at least four people and wounding at least 41 others. The explosion took place in the port city's Aisha Manzil area.
Police say the bomb was planted on a motorcycle close to the site of a political rally. It is unclear who was targeted in the blast.
Karachi, the country's economic hub, has seen both sectarian and militant violence.
UCAN REPORT

EUORPE : ARCHBISHOP ENDS SOHO MASSES - GRANTS ORDINARIATE CHURCH

CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: By Mark Greaves on Wednesday, 2 January 2013
Archbishop Nichols (Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has announced that Masses in Soho organised for gay people are to end.
He also revealed that the church where the Masses took place will be entrusted to the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
The fortnightly “Soho Masses” at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Warwick Street were established by the diocese almost six years ago. They were intended to be “particularly welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, their parents, friends and families”.
Archbishop Nichols said today that, while the Masses will stop, pastoral care of the community will continue at the Jesuit Farm Street church in Mayfair on Sunday evenings.
He also announced that in Lent Our Lady of the Assumption church will be “dedicated to the life” of the ordinariate. The archbishop said: “I hope that the use of this beautiful church, in which the young John Henry Newman first attended Mass, will enable Catholics in the ordinariate to prosper and to offer to others the particular gifts of the ordinariate.”
Statement from the Diocese of Westminster
2 January 2013

Pastoral Care
1. Many people come to the Church with the hope of finding understanding, compassion, mercy and truth. The Church endeavours to respond to their hope through the provision of pastoral care. For many years now the Diocese of Westminster has sought to extend the pastoral care of the Church to those who experience same-sex attraction. This care has been motivated by an awareness of the difficulties and isolation they can experience and by the imperative of Christ’s love for all. In recent years this pastoral care has focused on the celebration of Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Warwick Street.
2. Over these years, the situation of people with same-sex attraction has changed both socially and in civil law. However the principles of the pastoral care to be offered by the Church and the Church’s teaching on matters of sexual morality have not. First among the principles of pastoral care is the innate dignity of every person and the respect in which they must be held. Also, of great importance, is the teaching of the Church that a person must not be identified by their sexual orientation . The moral teaching of the Church is that the proper use of our sexual faculty is within a marriage, between a man and a woman, open to the procreation and nurturing of new human life. As I stated in March 2012, this means ‘that many types of sexual activity, including same-sex sexual activity, are not consistent with the teaching of the Church. No individual, bishop, priest or lay-person, is in a position to change this teaching of the Church which we hold to be God-given.’ (Catholic Herald article 17 March 2012). This is the calling to which we must all strive.
3. At this point, and after six years of the pastoral care offered at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, it is time for a new phase. Two considerations give shape to this new phase. The first is to recall that the original aim of this pastoral provision at Warwick Street was to enable people with same-sex attraction ‘to enter more fully into the life of the Church’ ‘specifically within the existing parish structures’ (Diocese of Westminster press statement 2 Feb 2007). The second is the importance of recognising that there is a distinction to be made between the pastoral care of a particular group and the regular celebration of the Mass. The Mass is always to retain its essential character as the highest prayer of the whole Church. This ‘universal’ character of the Mass is to be nurtured and clearly expressed in the manner of every celebration. The purpose of all pastoral care, on the other hand, is to encourage and enable people, especially those who are in difficult circumstances, to come to participate fully and worthily in the celebration of the Mass in the midst of the whole Church, the people summoned by the Lord to give him, together, worthy service and praise.
4. I am, therefore, asking the group which has, in recent years, helped to organise the celebration of Mass on two Sundays of each month at Warwick Street now to focus their effort on the provision of pastoral care. This includes many of the activities which have recently been developed and it is to be conducted fully in accordance with the teaching of the Church. Such pastoral care will include support for growth in virtue and holiness, the encouragement of friendship and wider community contacts, always with the aim of helping people to take a full part in the life of the Church in their local parish community. It will not include the organisation of a regular Mass. In order to assist in this important work, I am grateful to the Jesuit Fathers of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street who have agreed to make premises available on Sunday evenings and are ready to extend a welcome to this group. I have asked Mgr Seamus O’Boyle to continue to offer my support and guidance for this group.
5. At the same time, the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption is being dedicated to the life of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for their groups in central London. I hope that the use of this beautiful Church, in which the young John Henry Newman first attended Mass, will enable Catholics in the Ordinariate to prosper and to offer to others the particular gifts of the Ordinariate.
6. These new arrangements are to come into effect during Lent 2013.
An account of how the “gay-friendly” Masses first began can be read here.
SHARED FROM CATHOLIC HERALD

AFRICA : CENTRAL : CHURCH CALLS FOR PEACE WITH DIALOGUE

Agenzia Fides REPORT - There is growing concern in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, before the advancing of rebels of the coalition Seleka. "At the moment the situation is calm in the city, but one lives in the anxiety of uncertainty after the rebels took the strategic center of Sibut (160 km from Bangui)" say local sources to Fides Agency from Bangui, where a curfew was declared.
At a political and military level, the Countries of Central Africa have decided to send the Multinational Force of Central Africa (FOMAC) and urged the government and the rebels in Bangui to negotiations to be held in Gabon. The commander of the FOMAC has issued an ultimatum to the leadership of Seleka to prevent any advance on Bangui. The rebels, on their behalf, have announced that they have stopped military operations and to be open to dialogue.
The Church has launched several appeals for peace so that the path of negotiation and not a military one prevail. "Wisdom leads us to moderation and dialogue. Whatever the misunderstanding, a compromise is always possible through dialogue, " Mgr. Nestor Désiré Nongo Aziagbia, Bishop of Bossangoa writes in his New Year message. The Bishop recalls that the poor are the first victims of civil wars that have bloodied the history of Central Africa and denounces violence against civilians in areas of his diocese (Kabo and Batangafo) captured by the rebels.
Even the Archbishop of Bangui, Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, has launched an appeal for dialogue. In an interview with France-Presse, Mgr. Nzapalainga said he was confident because he sees "messages of hope". (L.M.)

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WED. JAN. 2, 2012

John 1: 19 - 28
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"
20 He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."
21 And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" And he answered, "No."
22 They said to him then, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
23 He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said."
24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
25 They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"
26 John answered them, "I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know,
27 even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."
28 This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 2 : ST. GREGORY NAZIANZEN

St. Gregory Nazianzen
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: January 2


Information:
Feast Day:January 2
Born:
325, Arianzum, Cappadocia
Died:January 25, 389, Arianzum, Cappadocia
Major Shrine:Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George in the Fanar
Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389. He was son -- one of three children -- of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus (329-374), in the south-west of Cappadocia, and of Nonna, a daughter of Christian parents. The saint's father was originally a member of the heretical sect of the Hypsistarii, or Hypsistiani, and was converted to Catholicity by the influence of his pious wife. His two sons, who seem to have been born between the dates of their father's priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, were sent to a famous school at Caesarea, capital of Cappadocia, and educated by Carterius, probably the same one who was afterwards tutor of St. John Chrysostom. Here commenced the friendship between Basil and Gregory which intimately affected both their lives, as well as the development of the theology of their age. From Caesarea in Cappadocia Gregory proceeded to Caesarea in Palestine, where he studied rhetoric under Thespesius; and thence to Alexandria, of which Athanasius was then bishop, through at the time in exile. Setting out by sea from Alexandria to Athens, Gregory was all but lost in a great storm, and some of his biographers infer -- though the fact is not certain -- that when in danger of death he and his companions received the rite of baptism. He had certainly not been baptized in infancy, though dedicated to God by his pious mother; but there is some authority for believing that he received the sacrament, not on his voyage to Athens, but on his return to Nazianzus some years later. At Athens Gregory and Basil, who had parted at Caesarea, met again, renewed their youthful friendship, and studied rhetoric together under the famous teachers Himerius and Proaeresius. Among their fellow students was Julian, afterwards known as the Apostate, whose real character Gregory asserts that he had even then discerned and thoroughly distrusted him. The saint's studies at Athens (which Basil left before his friend) extended over some ten years; and when he departed in 356 for his native province, visiting Constantinople on his way home, he was about thirty years of age.
Arrived at Nazianzus, where his parents were now advanced in age, Gregory, who had by this time firmly resolved to devote his life and talents to God, anxiously considered the plan of his future career. To a young man of his high attainments a distinguished secular career was open, either that of a lawyer or of a professor of rhetoric; but his yearnings were for the monastic or ascetic life, though this did not seem compatible either with the Scripture studies in which he was deeply interested, or with his filial duties at home. As was natural, he consulted his beloved friend Basil in his perplexity as to his future; and he has left us in his own writings an extremely interesting narrative of their intercourse at this time, and of their common resolve (based on somewhat different motives, according to the decided differences in their characters) to quit the world for the service of God alone. Basil retired to Pontus to lead the life of a hermit; but finding that Gregory could not join him there, came and settled first at Tiberina (near Gregory's own home), then at Neocæsarea, in Pontus, where he lived in holy seclusion for some years, and gathered round him a brotherhood of cenobites, among whom his friend Gregory was for a time included. After a sojourn here for two or three years, during which Gregory edited, with Basil some of the exegetical works of Origen, and also helped his friend in the compilation of his famous rules, Gregory returned to Nazianzus, leaving with regret the peaceful hermitage where he and Basil (as he recalled in their subsequent correspondence) had spent such a pleasant time in the labour both of hands and of heads. On his return home Gregory was instrumental in bringing back to orthodoxy his father who, perhaps partly in ignorance, had subscribed the heretical creed of Rimini; and the aged bishop, desiring his son's presence and support, overruled his scrupulous shrinking from the priesthood, and forced him to accept ordination (probably at Christmas, 361). Wounded and grieved at the pressure put upon him, Gregory fled back to his solitude, and to the company of St. Basil; but after some weeks' reflection returned to Nazianzus, where he preached his first sermon on Easter Sunday, and afterward wrote the remarkable apologetic oration, which is really a treatise on the priestly office, the foundation of Chrysostom's "De Sacerdotio", of Gregory the Great's "Cura Pastoris", and of countless subsequent writings on the same subject.
During the next few years Gregory's life at Nazianzus was saddened by the deaths of his brother Caesarius and his sister Gorgonia, at whose funerals he preached two of his most eloquent orations, which are still extant. About this time Basil was made bishop of Caesarea and Metropolitan of Cappadocia, and soon afterwards the Emperor Valens, who was jealous of Basil's influence, divided Cappadocia into two provinces. Basil continued to claim ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as before, over the whole province, but this was disputed by Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, the chief city of New Cappadocia. To strengthen his position Basil founded a new see at Sasima, resolved to have Gregory as its first bishop, and accordingly had him consecrated, though greatly against his will. Gregory, however, was set against Sasima from the first; he thought himself utterly unsuited to the place, and the place to him; and it was not long before he abandoned his diocese and returned to Nazianzus as coadjutor to his father. This episode in Gregory's life was unhappily the cause of an estrangement between Basil and himself which was never altogether removed; and there is no extant record of any correspondence between them subsequent to Gregory's leaving Sasima. Meanwhile he occupied himself sedulously with his duties as coadjutor to his aged father, who died early in 374, his wife Nonna soon following him to the grave. Gregory, who was now left without family ties, devoted to the poor the large fortune which he had inherited, keeping for himself only a small piece of land at Arianzus. He continued to administer the diocese for about two years, refusing, however, to become the bishop, and continually urging the appointment of a successor to his father. At the end of 375 he withdrew to a monastery at Seleuci, living there in solitude for some three years, and preparing (though he knew it not) for what was to be the crowning work of his life. About the end of this period Basil died. Gregory's own state of health prevented his being present either at the deathbed or funeral; but he wrote a letter of condolence to Basil's brother, Gregory of Nyssa, and composed twelve beautiful memorial poems or epitaphs to his departed friend.
Three weeks after Basil's death, Theodosius was advanced by the Emperor Gratian to the dignity of Emperor of the East. Constantinople, the seat of his empire, had been for the space of about thirty years (since the death of the saintly and martyred Bishop Paul) practically given over too Arianism, with an Arian prelate, Demophilus, enthroned at St. Sophia's. The remnant of persecuted Catholics, without either church or pastor, applied to Gregory to come and place himself at their head and organize their scattered forces; and many bishops supported the demand. After much hesitation he gave his consent, proceeded to Constantinople early in the year 379, and began his mission in a private house which he describes as "the new Shiloh where the Ark was fixed", and as "an Anastasia, the scene of the resurrection of the faith". Not only the faithful Catholics, but many heretics gathered in the humble chapel of the Anastasia, attracted by Gregory's sanctity, learning and eloquence; and it was in this chapel that he delivered the five wonderful discourses on the faith of Nicaea -- unfolding the doctrine of the Trinity while safeguarding the Unity of the Godhead -- which gained for him, alone of all Christian teachers except the Apostle St. John, the special title of Theologus or the Divine. He also delivered at this time the eloquent panegyrics on St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius, and the Machabees, which are among his finest oratorical works. Meanwhile he found himself exposed to persecution of every kind from without, and was actually attacked in his own chapel, whilst baptizing his Easter neophytes, by a hostile mob of Arians from St. Sophia's, among them being Arian monks and infuriated women. He was saddened, too, by dissensions among his own little flock, some of whom openly charged him with holding Tritheistic errors. St. Jerome became about this time his pupil and disciple, and tells us in glowing language how much he owed to his erudite and eloquent teacher. Gregory was consoled by the approval of Peter, Patriarch of Constantinople (Duchesne's opinion, that the patriarch was from the first jealous or suspicious of the Cappadocian bishop's influence in Constantinople, does not seem sufficiently supported by evidence), and Peter appears to have been desirous to see him appointed to the bishopric of the capital of the East. Gregory, however, unfortunately allowed himself to be imposed upon by a plausible adventurer called Hero, or Maximus, who came to Constantinople from Alexandria in the guise (long hair, white robe, and staff) of a Cynic, and professed to be a convert to Christianity, and an ardent admirer of Gregory's sermons. Gregory entertained him hospitably, gave him his complete confidence, and pronounced a public panegyric on him in his presence. Maximus's intrigues to obtain the bishopric for himself found support in various quarters, including Alexandria, which the patriarch Peter, for what reason precisely it is not known, had turned against Gregory; and certain Egyptian bishops deputed by Peter, suddenly, and at night, consecrated and enthroned Maximus as Catholic Bishop of Constantinople, while Gregory was confined to bed by illness. Gregory's friends, however, rallied round him, and Maximus had to fly from Constantinople. The Emperor Theodosius, to whom he had recourse, refused to recognize any bishop other than Gregory, and Maximus retired in disgrace to Alexandria.
Theodosius received Christian baptism early in 380, at Thessalonica, and immediately addressed an edict to his subjects at Constantinople, commanding them to adhere to the faith taught by St. Peter, and professed by the Roman pontiff, which alone deserved to be called Catholic. In November, the emperor entered the city and called on Demophilus, the Arian bishop, to subscribe to the Nicene creed: but he refused to do so, and was banished from Constantinople. Theodosius determined that Gregory should be bishop of the new Catholic see, and himself accompanied him to St. Sophia's, where he was enthroned in presence of an immense crowd, who manifested their feelings by hand-clappings and other signs of joy. Constantinople was now restored to Catholic unity; the emperor, by a new edict, gave back all the churches to Catholic use; Arians and other heretics were forbidden to hold public assemblies; and the name of Catholic was restricted to adherents of the orthodox and Catholic faith.
Gregory had hardly settled down to the work of administration of the Diocese of Constantinople, when Theodosius carried out his long-cherished purpose of summoning thither a general council of the Eastern Church. One hundred and fifty bishops met in council, in May, 381, the object of the assembly being, as Socrates plainly states, to confirm the faith of Nicaea, and to appoint a bishop for Constantinople (see CONSTANTINOPLE, THE FIRST COUNCIL OF). Among the bishops present were thirty-six holding semi-Arian or Macedonian opinions; and neither the arguments of the orthodox prelates nor the eloquence of Gregory, who preached at Pentecost, in St. Sophia's, on the subject of the Holy Spirit, availed to persuade them to sign the orthodox creed. As to the appointment of the bishopric, the confirmation of Gregory to the see could only be a matter of form. The orthodox bishops were all in favor, and the objection (urged by the Egyptian and Macedonian prelates who joined the council later) that his translation from one see to another was in opposition to a canon of the Nicene council was obviously unfounded. The fact was well known that Gregory had never, after his forced consecration at the instance of Basil, entered into possession of the See of Sasima, and that he had later exercised his episcopal functions at Nazianzus, not as bishop of that diocese, but merely as coadjutor of his father. Gregory succeeded Meletius as president of the council, which found itself at once called on to deal with the difficult question of appointing a successor to the deceased bishop. There had been an understanding between the two orthodox parties at Antioch, of which Meletius and Paulinus had been respectively bishops that the survivor of either should succeed as sole bishop. Paulinus, however, was a prelate of Western origin and creation, and the Eastern bishops assembled at Constantinople declined to recognize him. In vain did Gregory urge, for the sake of peace, the retention of Paulinus in the see for the remainder of his life, already fare advanced; the Fathers of the council refused to listen to his advice, and resolved that Meletius should be succeeded by an Oriental priest. "It was in the East that Christ was born", was one of the arguments they put forward; and Gregory's retort, "Yes, and it was in the East that he was put to death", did not shake their decision. Flavian, a priest of Antioch, was elected to the vacant see; and Gregory, who relates that the only result of his appeal was "a cry like that of a flock of jackdaws" while the younger members of the council "attacked him like a swarm of wasps", quitted the council, and left also his official residence, close to the church of the Holy Apostles.
Gregory had now come to the conclusion that not only the opposition and disappointment which he had met with in the council, but also his continued state of ill-health, justified, and indeed necessitated, his resignation of the See of Constantinople, which he had held for only a few months. He appeared again before the council, intimated that he was ready to be another Jonas to pacify the troubled waves, and that all he desired was rest from his labours, and leisure to prepare for death. The Fathers made no protest against this announcement, which some among them doubtless heard with secret satisfaction; and Gregory at once sought and obtained from the emperor permission to resign his see. In June, 381, he preached a farewell sermon before the council and in presence of an overflowing congregation. The peroration of this discourse is of singular and touching beauty, and unsurpassed even among his many eloquent orations. Very soon after its delivery he left Constantinople (Nectarius, a native of Cilicia, being chosen to succeed him in the bishopric), and retired to his old home at Nazianzus. His two extant letters addressed to Nectarius at his time are noteworthy as affording evidence, by their spirit and tone, that he was actuated by no other feelings than those of interested goodwill towards the diocese of which he was resigning the care, and towards his successor in the episcopal charge. On his return to Nazianzus, Gregory found the Church there in a miserable condition, being overrun with the erroneous teaching of Apollinaris the Younger, who had seceded from the Catholic communion a few years previously, and died shortly after Gregory himself. Gregory's anxiety was now to find a learned and zealous bishop who would be able to stem the flood of heresy which was threatening to overwhelm the Christian Church in that place. All his efforts were at first unsuccessful, and he consented at length with much reluctance to take over the administration of the diocese himself. He combated for a time, with his usual eloquence and as much energy as remained to him, the false teaching of the adversaries of the Church; but he felt himself too broken in health to continue the active work of the episcopate, and wrote to the Archbishop of Tyana urgently appealing to him to provide for the appointment of another bishop. His request was granted, and his cousin Eulalius, a priest of holy life to whom he was much attached, was duly appointed to the See of Nazianzus. This was toward the end of the year 383, and Gregory, happy in seeing the care of the diocese entrusted to a man after his own heart, immediately withdrew to Arianzus, the scene of his birth and his childhood, where he spent the remaining years of his life in retirement, and in the literary labours, which were so much more congenial to his character than the harassing work of ecclesiastical administration in those stormy and troubled times.
Looking back on Gregory's career, it is difficult not to feel that from the day when he was compelled to accept priestly orders, until that which saw him return from Constantinople to Nazianzus to end his life in retirement and obscurity, he seemed constantly to be placed, through no initiative of his own, in positions apparently unsuited to his disposition and temperament, and not really calculated to call for the exercise of the most remarkable and attractive qualities of his mind and heart. Affectionate and tender by nature, of highly sensitive temperament, simple and humble, lively and cheerful by disposition, yet liable to despondency and irritability, constitutionally timid, and somewhat deficient, as it seemed, both in decision of character and in self-control, he was very human, very lovable, very gifted -- yet not, one might be inclined to think, naturally adapted to play the remarkable part which he did during the period preceding and following the opening of the Council of Constantinople. He entered on his difficult and arduous work in that city within a few months of the death of Basil, the beloved friend of his youth; and Newman, in his appreciation of Gregory's character and career, suggests the striking thought that it was his friend's lofty and heroic spirit which had entered into him, and inspired him to take the active and important part which fell to his lot in the work of re-establishing the orthodox and Catholic faith in the eastern capital of the empire. It did, in truth, seem to be rather with the firmness and intrepidity, the high resolve and unflinching perseverance, characteristic of Basil, than in his own proper character, that of a gentle, fastidious, retiring, timorous, peace-loving saint and scholar, that he sounded the war-trumpet during those anxious and turbulent months, in the very stronghold and headquarters of militant heresy, utterly regardless to the actual and pressing danger to his safety, and even his life which never ceased to menace him. "May we together receive", he said at the conclusion of the wonderful discourse which he pronounced on his departed friend, on his return to Asia from Constantinople, "the reward of the warfare which we have waged, which we have endured." It is impossible to doubt, reading the intimate details which he has himself given us of his long friendship with, and deep admiration of, Basil, that the spirit of his early and well-loved friend had to a great extent moulded and informed his own sensitive and impressionable personality and that it was this, under God, which nerved and inspired him, after a life of what seemed, externally, one almost of failure, to co-operate in the mighty task of overthrowing the monstrous heresy which had so long devastated the greater part of Christendom, and bringing about at length the pacification of the Eastern Church.
During the six years of life which remained to him after his final retirement to his birth-place, Gregory composed, in all probability, the greater part of the copious poetical works which have come down to us. These include a valuable autobiographical poem of nearly 2000 lines, which forms, of course, one of the most important sources of information for the facts of his life; about a hundred other shorter poems relating to his past career; and a large number of epitaphs, epigrams, and epistles to well-known people of the day. Many of his later personal poems refer to the continuous illness and severe sufferings, both physical and spiritual, which assailed him during his last years, and doubtless assisted to perfect him in those saintly qualities which had never been wanting to him, rudely shaken though he had been by the trails and buffetings of his life. In the tiny plot of ground at Arianzus, all (as has already been said) that remained to him of his rich inheritance, he wrote and meditated, as he tells, by a fountain near which there was a shady walk, his favourite resort. Here, too, he received occasional visits from intimate friends, as well as sometimes from strangers attracted to his retreat by his reputation for sanctity and learning; and here he peacefully breathed his last. The exact date of his death is unknown, but from a passage in Jerome (De Script. Eccl.) it may be assigned, with tolerable certainty, to the year 389 or 390.
Some account must now be given of Gregory's voluminous writings, and of his reputation as an orator and a theologian, on which, more than on anything else, rests his fame as one of the greatest lights of the Eastern Church. His works naturally fall under three heads, namely his poems, his epistles, and his orations. Much, though by no means all, of what he wrote has been preserved, and has been frequently published, the editio princeps of the poems being the Aldine (1504), while the first edition of his collected works appeared in Paris in 1609-11. The Bodleian catalogue contains more than thirty folio pages enumerating various editions of Gregory's works, of which the best and most complete are the Benedictine edition (two folio volumes, begun in 1778, finished in 1840), and the edition of Migne (four volumes XXXV - XXXVIII, in P.G., Paris, 1857 - 1862


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/G/stgregorynazianzen.asp#ixzz1iJgV4Mig

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 2 : ST. BASIL THE GREAT

St. Basil the Great
CONFESSOR, ARCHBISHOP OF CAESAREA
Feast: January 2


Information:
Feast Day:January 2
Born:
329 at Caesarea, Asia Minor (modern Turkey)
Died:14 June 379
Patron of:Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists
Bishop of Caesarea, one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church, born probably 329; died 1 January, 379. He ranks after Athanasius as a defender of the Oriental Church against the heresies of the fourth century. With his friend Gregory of Nazianzus and his brother Gregory of Nyssa, he makes up the trio known as "The Three Cappadocians", far outclassing the other two in practical genius and actual achievement.

St. Basil the Elder, father of St. Basil the Great, was the son of a Christian of good birth and his wife, Macrina (Acta SS., January, II), both of whom suffered for the faith during the persecution of Maximinus Galerius (305-314), spending several years of hardship in the wild mountains of Pontus. St. Basil the Elder was noted for his virtue (Acta SS, May, VII) and also won considerable reputation as a teacher in Caesarea. He was not a priest (Cf. Cave, Hist. Lit., I, 239). He married Emmelia, the daughter of a martyr and became the father of ten children. Three of these, Macrina, Basil, an Gregory are honoured as saints; and of the sons, Peter, Gregory, and Basil attained the dignity of the episcopate.

Under the care of his father and his grandmother, the elder Macrina, who preserved the traditions of their countryman, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (c. 213-275) Basil was formed in habits of piety and study. He was still young when his father died and the family moved to the estate of the elder Macrina at Annesi in Pontus, on the banks of the Iris. As a boy, he was sent to school at Caesarea, then "a metropolis of letters", and conceived a fervent admiration for the local bishop, Dianius. Later, he went to Constantinople, at that time "distinguished for its teachers of philosophy and rhetoric", and thence to Athens. Here he became the inseparable companion of Gregory of Nazianzus, who, in his famous panegyric on Basil (Or. xliii), gives a most interesting description of their academic experiences. According to him, Basil was already distinguished for brilliancy of mind and seriousness of character and associated only with the most earnest students. He was able, grave, industrious, and well advanced in rhetoric, grammar, philosophy, astronomy, geometry, and medicine. (As to his not knowing Latin, see Fialon, Etude historique et litteraire sur St. Basile, Paris, 1869). We know the names of two of Basil's teachers at Athens, Prohaeresius, possibly a Christian, and Himerius, a pagan. It has been affirmed, though probably incorrectly, that Basil spent some time under Libanius. He tells us himself that he endeavoured without success to attach himself as a pupil to Eustathius (Ep., I). At the end of his sojourn at Athens, Basil being laden, says St. Gregory of Nazianzus "with all the learning attainable by the nature of man", was well equipped to be a teacher. Caesarea took possession of him gladly "as a founder and second patron" (Or. xliii), and as he tells u (ccx), he refused the splendid offers of the citizens of Neo-Caesarea, who wished him to undertake the education of the youth of their city.

To the successful student and distinguished professor, "there now remained", says Gregory (Or. xliii), "no other need than that of spiritual perfection". Gregory of Nyssa, in his life of Macrina, gives us to understand that Basil's brilliant success both as a university student and a professor had left traces of worldliness and self-sufficiency on the soul of the young man. Fortunately, Basil came again in contact with Dianius, Bishop of Caesarea, the object of his boyish affection, and Dianius seems to have baptized him, and ordained him Reader soon after his return to Caesarea. It was at the same time also that he fell under the influence of that very remarkable woman, his sister Macrina, who has meanwhile founded a religious community on the family estate at Annesi. Basil himself tells us how, like a man roused from deep sleep, he turned his eyes to the marvellous truth of the Gospel, wept many tears over his miserable life, and prayed for guidance from God: "Then I read the Gospel, and saw there that a great means of reaching perfection was the selling of one's goods, the sharing of them with the poor, the giving up of all care for this life, and the refusal to allow the soul to be turned by any sympathy towards things of earth" (Ep. ccxxiii). To learn the ways of perfection, Basil now visited the monasteries of Egypt, Palestine, Coele-Syria, and Mesopotamia. He returned, filled with admiration for the austerity and piety of the monks, and founded a monastery in his native Pontus, on the banks of the Iris, nearly opposite Annesi. (Cf. Ramsay, Hist. Geog. of Asia Minor, London, 1890, p. 326). Eustathius of Sebaste had already introduced the eremitical life into Asia Minor; Basil added the cenobitic or community form, and the new feature was imitated by many companies of men and women. (Cf. Sozomen, Hist. Eccl., VI, xxvii; Epiphanius, Haer., lxxv, 1; Basil, Ep. ccxxiii; Tillemont, Mem., IX, Art. XXI, and note XXVI.) Basil became known as the father of Oriental monasticism, the forerunner of St. Benedict. How well he deserved the title, how seriously and in what spirit he undertook the systematizing of the religious life, may be seen by the study of his Rule. He seems to have read Origen's writings very systematically about this time, for in union with Gregory of Nazianzus, he published a selection of them called the "Philocalia".Basil was drawn from his retreat into the area of theological controversy in 360 when he accompanied two delegates from Seleucia to the emperor at Constantinople, and supported his namesake of Ancyra. There is some dispute as to his courage and his perfect orthodoxy on this occasion (cf. Philostorgius, Hist. Eccl., IV, xii; answered by Gregory of Nyssa, In Eunom., I, and Maran, Proleg., vii; Tillemont, Mem., note XVIII). A little later, however, both qualities seem to have been sufficiently in evidence, as Basil forsook Dianius for having signed the heretical creed of Rimini. To this time (c. 361) may be referred the "Moralia"; and a little later came to books against Eunomius (363) and some correspondence with Athanasius. It is possible, also, that Basil wrote his monastic rules in the briefer forms while in Pontus, and enlarged them later at Caesarea. There is an account of an invitation from Julian for Basil to present himself a court and of Basil's refusal, coupled with an admonition that angered the emperor and endangered Basil's safety. Both incident and and correspondence however are questioned by some critics.

Basil still retained considerable influence in Caesarea, and it is regarded as fairly probable that he had a hand in the election of the successor of Dianius who died in 362, after having been reconciled to Basil. In any case the new bishop, Eusebius, was practically placed in his office by the elder Gregory of Nazianzus. Eusebius having persuaded the reluctant Basil to be ordained priest, gave him a prominent place in the administration of the diocese (363). In ability for the management of affairs Basil so far eclipsed the bishop that ill-feeling rose between the two. "All the more eminent and wiser portion of the church was roused against the bishop" (Greg. Naz., Or. xliii; Ep. x), and to avoid trouble Basil again withdrew into the solitude of Pontus. A little later (365) when the attempt of Valens to impose Arianism on the clergy and the people necessitated the presence of a strong personality, Basil was restored to his former position, being reconciled to the bishop by St. Gregory of Nazianzus. There seems to have been no further disagreement between Eusebius and Basil and the latter soon became the real head of the diocese. "The one", says Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. xliii), "led the people the other led their leader". During the five years spent in this most important office, Basil gave evidence of being a man of very unusual powers. He laid down the law to the leading citizens and the imperial governors, settled disputes with wisdom and finality, assisted the spiritually needy, looked after "the support of the poor, the entertainment of strangers, the care of maidens, legislation written and unwritten for the monastic life, arrangements of prayers, (liturgy?), adornment of the sanctuary" (op. cit.). In time of famine, he was the saviour of the poor.

In 370 Basil succeeded to the See of Caesarea, being consecrated according to tradition on 14 June. Caesarea was then a powerful and wealthy city (Soz., Hist. Eccl., V, v). Its bishop was Metropolitan of Cappadocia and Exarch of Pontus which embraced more than half of Asia Minor and comprised eleven provinces. The see of Caesarea ranked with Ephesus immediately after the patriarchal sees in the councils, and the bishop was the superior of fifty chorepiscopi (Baert). Basil's actual influence, says Jackson (Prolegomena, XXXII) covered the whole stretch of country "from the Balkans to the Mediterranean and from the Aegean to the Euphrates". The need of a man like Basil in such a see as Caesarea was most pressing, and he must have known this well. Some think that he set about procuring his own election; others (e. g. Maran, Baronius, Ceillier) say that he made no attempt on his own behalf. In any event, he became Bishop of Caesarea largely by the influence of the elder Gregory of Nazianzus. His election, says the younger Gregory (loc. cit.), was followed by disaffection on the part of several suffragan bishops "on whose side were found the greatest scoundrels in the city". During his previous administration of the diocese Basil had so clearly defined his ideas of discipline and orthodoxy, that no one could doubt the direction and the vigour of his policy. St. Athanasius was greatly pleased at Basil's election (Ad Pallad., 953; Ad Joann. et Ant., 951); but the Arianizing Emperor Valens, displayed considerably annoyance and the defeated minority of bishops became consistently hostile to the new metropolitan. By years of tactful conduct, however, "blending his correction with consideration and his gentleness with firmness" (Greg. Naz., Or. xliii), he finally overcame most of his opponents.

Basil's letters tell the story of his tremendous and varied activity; how he worked for the exclusion of unfit candidates from the sacred ministry and the deliverance of the bishops from the temptation of simony; how he required exact discipline and the faithful observance of the canons from both laymen and clerics; how he rebuked the sinful, followed up the offending, and held out hope of pardon to the penitent. (Cf. Epp. xliv, xlv, and xlvi, the beautiful letter to a fallen virgin, as well as Epp. liii, liv, lv, clxxxviii, cxcix, ccxvii, and Ep. clxix, on the strange incident of Glycerius, whose story is well filled out by Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, New York, 1893, p. 443 sqq.) If on the one hand he strenuously defended clerical rights and immunities (Ep. civ), on the other he trained his clergy so strictly that they grew famous as the type of all that a priest should be (Epp. cii, ciii). Basil did not confine his activity to diocesan affairs, but threw himself vigorously into the troublesome theological disputes then rending the unity of Christendom. He drew up a summary of the orthodox faith; he attacked by word of mouth the heretics near at hand and wrote tellingly against those afar. His correspondence shows that he paid visits, sent messages, gave interviews, instructed, reproved, rebuked, threatened, reproached, undertook the protection of nations, cities, individuals great and small. There was very little chance of opposing him successfully, for he was a cool, persistent, fearless fighter in defence both of doctrine and of principles. His bold stand against Valens parallels the meeting of Ambrose with Theodosius. The emperor was dumbfounded at the archbishop's calm indifference to his presence and his wishes. The incident, as narrated by Gregory of Nazianzus, not only tells much concerning Basil's character but throws a clear light on the type of Christian bishop with which the emperors had to deal and goes far to explain why Arianism, with little court behind it, could make so little impression on the ultimate history of Catholicism.

While assisting Eusebius in the care of his diocese, Basil had shown a marked interest in the poor and afflicted; that interest now displayed itself in the erection of a magnificent institution, the Ptochoptopheion, or Basileiad, a house for the care of friendless strangers, the medical treatment of the sick poor, and the industrial training of the unskilled. Built in the suburbs, it attained such importance as to become practically the centre of a new city with the name of <he kaine polis> or "Newtown". It was the mother-house of like institutions erected in other dioceses and stood as a constant reminder to the rich of their privilege of spending wealth in a truly Christian way. It may be mentioned here that the social obligations of the wealthy were so plainly and forcibly preached by St. Basil that modern sociologists have ventured to claim him as one of their own, though with no more foundation than would exist in the case of any other consistent teacher of the principles of Catholic ethics. The truth is that St. Bail was a practical lover of Christian poverty, and even in his exalted position preserved that simplicity in food and clothing and that austerity of life for which he had been remarked at his first renunciation of the world.

In the midst of his labours, Basil underwent suffering of many kinds. Athanasius died in 373 and the elder Gregory in 374, both of them leaving gaps never to be filled. In 373 began the painful estrangement from Gregory of Nazianzus. Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, became an open enemy, Apollinaris "a cause of sorrow to the churches" (Ep. cclxiii), Eustathius of Sebaste a traitor to the Faith and a personal foe as well. Eusebius of Samosata was banished, Gregory of Nyssa condemned and deposed. When Emperor Valentinian died and the Arians recovered their influence, all Basil's efforts must have seemed in vain. His health was breaking, the Goths were at the door of the empire, Antioch was in schism, Rome doubted his sincerity, the bishops refused to be brought together as he wished. "The notes of the church were obscured in his part of Christendom, and he had to fare on as best he might,—admiring, courting, yet coldly treated by the Latin world, desiring the friendship of Rome, yet wounded by her reserve,—suspected of heresy by Damasus, and accused by Jerome of pride" (Newman, The Church of the Fathers). Had he lived a little longer and attended the Council of Constantinople (381), he would have seen the death of its first president, his friend Meletius, and the forced resignation of its second, Gregory of Nazianzus. Basil died 1 January, 379. His death was regarded as a public bereavement; Jews, pagans, and foreigners vied with his own flock in doing him honour. The earlier Latin martyrologies (Hieronymian and Bede) make no mention of a feast of St. Basil. The first mention is by Usuard and Ado who place it on 14 June, the supposed date of Basil's consecration to the episcopate. In the Greek "Menaea" he is commemorated on 1 January, the day of his death. In 1081, John, Patriarch of Constantinople, in consequence of a vision, established a feast in common honour of St. Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom, to be celebrated on 30 January. The Bollandists give an account of the origin of this feast; they also record as worthy of note that no relics of St. Basil are mentioned before the twelfth century, at which time parts of his body, together with some other very extraordinary relics were reputed to have been brought to Bruges by a returning Crusader. Baronius (c. 1599) gave to the Naples Oratory a relic of St. Basil sent from Constantinople to the pope. The Bollandists and Baronius print descriptions of Basil's personal appearance and the former reproduce two icons, the older copied from a codex presented to Basil, Emperor of the East (877-886).

By common consent, Basil ranks among the greatest figures in church history and the rather extravagant panegyric by Gregory of Nazianzus has been all but equalled by a host of other eulogists. Physically delicate and occupying his exalted position but a few years, Basil did magnificent and enduring work in an age of more violent world convulsions than Christianity has since experienced. (Cf. Newman The Church of the Fathers). By personal virtue he attained distinction in an age of saints; and his purity, his monastic fervour, his stern simplicity, his friendship for the poor became traditional in the history of Christian asceticism. In fact, the impress of his genius was stamped indelibly on the Oriental conception of religious life. In his hands the great metropolitan see of Caesarea took shape as the sort of model of the Christian diocese; there was hardly any detail of episcopal activity in which he failed to mark out guiding lines and to give splendid example. Not the least of his glories is the fact that toward the officials of the State he maintained that fearless dignity and independence which later history has shown to be an indispensable condition of healthy life in the Catholic episcopate.

Some difficulty has arisen out of the correspondence of St. Basil with the Roman See. That he was in communion with the Western bishops and that he wrote repeatedly to Rome asking that steps be taken to assist the Eastern Church in her struggle with schismatics and heretics is undoubted; but the disappointing result of his appeals drew from him certain words which require explanation. Evidently he was deeply chagrined that Pope Damasus on the one hand hesitated to condemn Marcellus and the Eustathians, and on the other preferred Paulinus to Meletius in whose right to the See of Antioch St. Basil most firmly believed. At the best it must be admitted that St. Basil criticized the pope freely in a private letter to Eusebius of Samosata (Ep. ccxxxix) and that he was indignant as well as hurt at the failure of his attempt to obtain help from the West. Later on, however, he must have recognized that in some respects he had been hasty; in any event, his strong emphasis of the influence which the Roman See could exercise over the Eastern bishops, and his abstaining from a charge of anything like usurpation are great facts that stand out obviously in the story of the disagreement. With regard to the question of his association with the Semi-Arians, Philostorgius speaks of him as championing the Semi-Arian cause, and Newman says he seems unavoidably to have Arianized the first thirty years of his life. The explanation of this, as well as of the disagreement with the Holy See, must be sought in a careful study of the times, with due reference to the unsettled and changeable condition of theological distinctions, the lack of anything like a final pronouncement by the Church's defining power, the "lingering imperfections of the Saints" (Newman), the substantial orthodoxy of many of the so-called Semi-Arians, and above all the great plan which Basil was steadily pursuing of effecting unity in a disturbed and divided Christendom.



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