Saturday, February 1, 2014

TODAY'S SAINT : PURIFICATION AND PRESENTATION OF THE CHILD JESUS

Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple
Feast: February 2


Information:
Feast Day:February 2
The law of God, given by Moses to the Jews, to insinuate both to us and to them, that by the sin of Adam man is conceived and born in sin, and obnoxious to his wrath, ordained that a woman, after childbirth, should continue for a certain time in a state which that law calls unclean; during which she was not to appear in public, nor presume to touch any thing consecrated to God. This term was of forty days upon the birth of a son, and the time was double for a daughter: on the expiration of which, the mother was to bring to the door of the tabernacle, or temple, a lamb of a year old. and a young pigeon or turtle-dove. The lamb was for a holocaust, or burnt-offering, in acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God, and in thanksgiving for her own happy delivery; the pigeon or turtle-dove was for a sin-offering. These being sacrificed to Almighty God by the priest, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity, and reinstated in her former privileges.

A young pigeon, or turtle-dove, by way of a sin-offering, was required of all, whether rich or poor: but whereas the charge of a lamb might be too burdensome on persons of narrow circumstances, in that case, nothing more was required, then two pigeons, or two turtle-doves, one for a burnt, the other for a sin-offering.
Our Saviour having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and his blessed Mother remaining always a spotless virgin, it is most evident from the terms of the law, that she was, in reality, under no obligation to it, nor within the intent of it. She was, however, within the letter of the law, in the eye of the world, who were as yet strangers to her miraculous conception. And her humility making her perfectly resigned, and even desirous to conceal her privilege and dignity, she submitted with great punctuality and exactness to every humbling circumstance which the law required. Pride indeed proclaims its own advantages, and seeks honors not its due; but the humble find their delight in obscurity and abasement, they shun all distinction and esteem which they clearly see their own nothingness and baseness to be most unworthy of: they give all glory to God alone, to whom it is due. Devotion also and zeal to honor God by every observance prescribed by his law, prompted Mary to perform this act of religion, though evidently exempt from the precept. Being poor herself; she made the offering appointed for the poor: accordingly is this part of the law mentioned by St. Luke, as best agreeing with the meanness of her worldly condition. But her offering, however mean in itself, was made with a perfect heart, which is what God chiefly regards in all that is offered to him. The King of Glory would appear everywhere in the robes of poverty, to point out to us the advantages of a suffering and lowly state, and to repress our pride, by which, though really poor and mean in the eyes of God, we covet to appear rich, and, though sinners, would be deemed innocents and saints.
A second great mystery is honored this day, regarding more immediately the person of our Redeemer, viz. his presentation in the temple. Besides the law which obliged the mother to purify herself, there was another which ordered that the first-born son should be offered to God: and in these two laws were included several others, as, that the child, after its presentation, should be ransomed with a certain sum of money, and peculiar sacrifices offered on the occasion.
Mary complies exactly with all these ordinances. She obeys not only in the essential points of the law, as in presenting herself to be purified, and in her offering her first-born, but has strict regard to all the circumstances. She remains forty days at home, she denies herself all this time the liberty of. entering the temple, she partakes not of things sacred, though the living temple of the God of Israel; and on the day of her purification, she walks several miles to Jerusalem, with the world's Redeemer in her arms. She waits for the priest at the gate of the temple, makes her offerings of thanksgiving and expiation, presents her divine Son by the hands of the priest to his eternal Father, with the most profound humility, adoration, and thanksgiving. She then redeems him with five shekels, as the law appoints, and receives him back again as a depositum in her special care, till the Father shall again demand him for the full accomplishment of man's redemption. It is clear that Christ was not comprehended in the law; "The king's son, to whom the inheritance of the crown belongs, is exempt from servitude:- much more Christ, who was the Redeemer both of our souls and bodies, was not subject to any law by which he was to be himself redeemed," as St. Hilary observes. But he would set an example of humility, obedience, and devotion: and would renew, in a solemn and public manner, and in the temple, the oblation of himself to his Father for the accomplishment of his will, and the redemption of man, which he had made privately in the first moment of his Incarnation. With what sentiments did the divine Infant offer himself to his Father at the same time! the greatest homage of his honour and glory the Father could receive, and a sacrifice of satisfaction adequate to the injuries done to the Godhead by our sins, and sufficient to ransom our souls from everlasting death! With what cheerfulness  and charity did he offer himself to all his torments! to be whipped, crowned with thorns, and ignominiously put to death for us!
Let every Christian learn hence to offer himself to God with this divine victim, through which he may be accepted by the Father; let him devote himself with all his senses and faculties to his service. If sloth, or any other vice, has made us neglectful of this essential duty, we must bewail past omissions, and make a solemn and serious consecration of ourselves this day to the divine majesty with the greater fervor, crying out with St. Austin, in compunction of heart: "Too late have I known thee, too late have I begun to love thee, O beauty more ancient than the world!" But our sacrifice, if we desire it may be accepted, must not be lame and imperfect. It would be an insult to offer to God, in union with his Christ, a divided heart, or a heart infected with wilful sin. It must therefore first be cleansed by tears of sincere compunction: its affections must be crucified to the world by perfect mortification. Our offering must be sincere and fervent, without reserve, allowing no quarter to any of our vicious passions and inclinations, and no division in any of our affections. It must also be universal; to suffer and to do all for the divine honor. If we give our hearts to Christ in this manner, we shall receive him with his graces and benedictions. He would be presented in the temple by the hands of his mother: let us accordingly make the offering of our souls through Mary and beg his graces through the same channel.
The ceremony of this day was closed by a third mystery, the. meeting in the temple of the holy persons, Simeon and Anne, with Jesus and his parents, from which this festival was anciently called by the Greeks Hypante, the meeting. Holy Simeon, on that occasion, received into his arms the object of all his desires and sighs, and praised God in raptures of devotion for being blessed with the happiness of beholding the so much longed-for Messias. He foretold to Mary her martyrdom of sorrow; and that Jesus brought redemption to those who would accept of it on the terms it was offered them; but a heavy judgment on all infidels who should obstinately reject it, and on Christians also whose lives were a contradiction to his holy maxims and example. Mary, hearing this terrible prediction, did not answer one word, felt no agitation of mind from the present, no dread for the future; but courageously and sweetly committed all to God's holy will. Anne also, the prophetess, who, in her widowhood, served God with great fervor, had the happiness to acknowledge and adore in this great mystery the world's Redeemer. Amidst the crowd of priests and people, the Saviour of the world is known only by Simeon and Anne. Even when he disputed with the doctors, and when he wrought the most stupendous miracles, the learned, the wise, and the princes did not know him. Yet here, while a weak, speechless child, carried in the arms of his poor mother, he is acknowledged and adored by Simeon and Anne. He could not hide himself from those who sought him with fervor, humility, and ardent love. Unless we seek him in these dispositions, he will not manifest himself, nor communicate his graces to us. Simeon, having beheld his Saviour in the flesh, desired no longer to see the light of this world, nor any creatures on earth If we truly love God, our distance from him must be a continual pain: and we must sigh after that desired moment which will free us from the danger of ever losing him by sin, and will put us in possession of Him who is the joy of the blessed, and the infinite treasure of heaven. Let us never cease to pray that he purify our hearts from all earthly dross, and draw them to himself: that he heal, satiate, and inflame our souls, as he only came upon earth to kindle in all hearts the fire of his love


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/presentationofchildjesusinthetemple.asp#ixzz1lF56YaHM

NOVENA PRAYER FOR THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS - PLENARY INDULGENCE

NOVENA PRAYER FOR THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS - PLENARY INDULGENCE
from Raccolta
Veni Sancte Spiritus, Veni Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur.
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.
Oremus.
Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.
TRANSLATION.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
O God, who hast taught the hearts of Thy faithful people by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant us in the same Spirit to relish what is right, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
i. Most holy Mary, bright Mirror of all virtue, the forty days after thy delivery were no sooner past than thou, though the purest of all virgins, didst will to be presented in the Temple to be purified; O, help us, then, by imitating thee, to keep our hearts unstained by sin, that so we too may be made worthy one day to be presented to our God in Heaven.
Ave Maria.
ii. Virgin most obedient, at thy Presentation in the Temple, thou didst willingly offer the accustomed sacrifice of women; enable us so to follow thy example, that we may make ourselves a living sacrifice to God, by practising every virtue.
Ave Maria.
iii. Virgin most pure, thou didst despise the reproach of men whilst observing the precept of the Law; ask for his grace always to keep our hearts pure, what ever the world may think of us.
Ave Maria.
iv. Virgin most holy, by offering thy Son, the Divine Word, to His Eternal Father, thou didst makeHeaven glad; present our poor hearts to God, that by His grace they may be kept free from mortal sin.
Ave Maria.
v. Virgin most humble, in consigning Jesus into the arms of the holy old man Simeon, thou didst fill His spirit full of heavenly joy; consign our hearts to God, that He may fill them full of His Holy Spirit.
Ave Maria.
vi. Virgin most diligent, in ransoming thy Son Jesus according the Law, thou didst cooperate in the salvation of the world; ransom our pour hearts from the slavery of sin, that they may be ever pure in the sight of God.
Ave Maria.
vii. Virgin most meek, on hearing the prophecy of Simeon foretelling thy woes, thou didst humbly resign thyself to the good pleasure of thy God; make us always resigned to the dispositions of His Providence, and enable us to bear all troubles with patience.
Ave Maria.
viii. Virgin most compassionate, when thou didst fill the soul of Anna the prophetess with light, by means of thy divine Son, thou didst make her magnify the mercies of God by recognising Jesus for the Redeemer of the world; enrich our spirit too with heavenly grace, that we may joyfully reap in full measure the fruits of our Lord’s Redemption.
Ave Maria.
ix. Virgin most resigned, although thou didst feel thine own soul transfixed with sorrow, foreseeing all the bitter Passion of thy Son, yet knowing the grief of Joseph thy Spouse for all thy sufferings, thou didst console him with holy words; pierce through and through our souls with true sorrow for our sins, that we may one day come to rejoice with thee in everlasting bliss, partakers of thy glory.
Ave Maria.
Then the Litanies, and the following Responses, &c.
V. Responsum accepit Simeon a Spiritu Sancto.
R. Non visurum ei mortem nisi videret Christum Domini.
Oremus.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, majestatem tuam supplices exoramus, ut sicut unigenitus Filius tuus cum nostrae carnis substantia in Templo est Praesentatus, ita nos facias purificatis tibi mentibus praesentati.
Deus omnium fidelium pastor, &c. with the other Prayers, as above.
TRANSLATION.
V. Simeon received answer from the Holy Spirit.
R. That he should not see death till he had seen the Christ of God.
Let us pray.
Almighty, everlasting God, we humbly pray Thy Majesty, that as Thine only-begotten Son was presented in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, so Thou wouldst enable us to present ourselves before Thee with clean hearts. Through, &c.
O God, the Shepherd, &c., as above.
PLENARY INDULGENCE
To all faithful Christians who, in private or public, in church or in their own houses, shall keep any of the following Novenas, in preparation for the principal feasts of most holy Mary, Pope Pius VII., at the prayer of several holy persons, granted, by Rescripts issued through his Eminence the Cardinal-Vicar, Aug. 4 and Nov. 24, 1808, and Jan. 11, 1800 (all of which are kept in the Segretaria of the Vicariate) -
i. An indulgence of 300 days, daily.
ii. A plenary indulgence to all who shall assist at these Novenas every day, and who shall afterwards, either on the Feast-day itself, to which each Novena respectively has reference, or on some one day in its Octave, after Confession and Communion, pray to our Lord and to the Blessed Virgin ac cording to the pious intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

FREE CATHOLIC MOVIES - RELUCTANT SAINT - STARS MAXIMILIAN SCHELL

The Reluctant Saint (1962) 105 min - Comedy | Drama - 2 November 1962 (West Germany)
Saint Joseph of Cupertino was born Giuseppe Maria Desa in Copertino, Puglia, Kingdom of Naples. (June 17, 1603 — September 18, 1663) Joseph of Cupertino, a simple young man thought by many in his village to be an idiot, is pressured to enter a monastery. He does so, and surprises everyone by passing the entrance exam to study for the priesthood. But this is only the first of many surprises from the man who would become Saint Joseph Cupertino. (Review by Internet IMDB)
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Writers: John Fante, Joseph Petracca
Stars: Maximilian Schell, Ricardo Montalban, Lea Padovani
RIP Maximilian Schell

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY HAS A DIRTY SECRET

This Sunday February 2, 2014 is Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA. This is one of the largest sports weekends of the year. Many warn that this will also be the largest sex trafficking event where young girls are recruited and forced into the sex trade. Sex trafficking is a $32 billion dollar per year industry globally, and a $9.5 billion dollar industry in the United States alone. It is estimated that about 400,000 children are affected by sex trafficking in the U.S. each year. The average victim is 12 years of age. According to research, in 2010, an estimated 10,000 prostitutes were transported to Miami, Florida for the the Super Bowl, and 133 minors were arrested in 2011 in Dallas.  Therefore, this year, billboards have been launched in Times Square to help raise awareness surrounding human trafficking in the nation. Also the Transportation Authority has also launched an awareness campaign. The police are trying to be vigilant this year to enforce laws surrounding prostitution.

RIP MAXIMILIAN SCHELL FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD ACTOR AND OSCAR WINNER OF AUSTRIA

The Famous Hollywood Actor and Oscar winner Maximilian Schell has died on Sat. Feb.1, 2014. He was 83 years old. Maximilian Konrad Maria Immaculata Schell (8 December 1930 – 1 February 2014) was born in Vienna, Austria. He was the son of Margarethe (née Noe von Nordberg) an actress who also ran an acting school. His father was Hermann Ferdinand Schell, a Swiss poet, novelist, playwright and pharmacy owner. He came from a Roman Catholic family. His sister was a famous German actress Maria Schell. Maximilian made his acting debue at the age of 3 in Vienna. Schell's family fled Austria in 1938 and moved to Zurich, Switzerland. Schell served in the Swiss army for 1 year. He later attended the University of Zurich for a year and worked as a journalist. Schell moved to Germany after the war and studied at the University of Munic. He won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a defense lawyer in "Judgment at Nuremberg". He also won a Golden Globe Award. Schell directed the 1984 documentary on Marlene Dietrich entitle "Marlene." He married actress Natalya Andrejchenko (1985–2005) and then Iva Mihanovic (2013–2014). Schell and his wife Natalya had 1 daughter Anastasia Schell. He is the Godfather of Actress Angelina Jolie.
LIST OF MOVIES BY MAXIMILIAN SCHELL
2009 Darkness
2009         Flores negras
2008         The Brothers Bloom
2007         Die Rosenkönigin 
2007         Giganten
2003-2007     Der Fürst und das Mädchen 
2006         The Shell Seekers
2006         House of the Sleeping Beauties
2006         Die Alpenklinik
2005         Die Liebe eines Priesters 
2004         The Return of the Dancing Master 
2003         Alles Glück dieser Erde 
2003         Coast to Coast 
2002         Der Bestseller - Mord auf italienisch 
2002         Love, Lies, Passions 
2001         Festival in Cannes
2001         The Song of the Lark
2000         Just Messing About
2000         I Love You, Baby
1999         Joan of Arc 
1999         On the Wings of Love
1998         Deep Impact
1998         Vampire
1998         Left Luggage
1998         The Eighteenth Angel
1997         Telling Lies in America
1997         Biography
1997         Through Roses
1997         The Song of the Lark
1996         The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years 
1996         The Vampyre Wars
1994         Little Odessa
1993         Abraham
1993         Candles in the Dark
1993         Justiz
1993         A Far Off Place
1992         Stalin
1992         Miss Rose White
1991         Young Catherine 
1990         Wiseguy
1990         The Freshman
1989         The Rosegarden
1986         Peter the Great
1985         The Assisi Underground
1984         Morgen in Alabama
1983         The Islands
1983         The Phantom of the Opera
1981         The Chosen
1980         The Diary of Anne Frank 
1979         The Black Hole
1979         Amo non amo
1979         Tales from the Vienna Woods
1979         Avalanche Express
1979         Players
1977         Julia
1977         A Bridge Too Far
1977         Cross of Iron
1976         St. Ives
1975         The Day That Shook the World
1975         End of the Game
1975         The Man in the Glass Booth
1974         The Odessa File
1974         The Rehearsal
1973         The Pedestrian
1972         Paulina 188
1972         Pope Joan
1970         First Love
1969         Simón Bolívar
1969         Krakatoa, East of Java
1968         Heidi 
1968         The Castle
1968         Beyond the Mountains
1967         Counterpoint
1967         Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
1966         Die venezianischen Zwillinge 
1966         The Deadly Affair
1965         Return from the Ashes
1965         Der seidene Schuh
1964         Topkapi
1964         Letters of Mozart - Briefe Mozarts
1962         The Reluctant Saint
1962         The Condemned of Altona
1962         Five Finger Exercise
1961         Judgment at Nuremberg
1961         Hamlet 
1960         Family Classics: The Three Musketeers
1960         Alcoa Theatre 
1960         Sunday Showcase 
1960         Buick-Electra Playhouse 
1960         The Fifth Column
1959         Eine Dummheit macht auch der Gescheiteste
1959         Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse 
1959         Playhouse 90 
1958         Die Bernauerin
1958         Kinder der Berge
1958         The Young Lions
1958         Der Meisterdieb
1957         The Last Ones Shall Be First
1957         Taxi Driver Baenz
1956         Ein Herz kehrt heim
1956         Marriage of Dr. Danwitz
1956         The Girl from Flanders
1955         Ripening Youth
1955         The Plot to Assassinate Hitler
1955         Children, Mother, and the General 

GREAT NEWS THE ONLY CATHOLIC ADOPTION AGENCY OF SCOTLAND IS SAVED

Archbishop Tartaglia (Photo: PA)
Archbishop Tartaglia (Photo: PA)
CATHOLIC HERALD CO UK REPORT: St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society has been successful in its appeal to keep its charitable status.
In a unanimous ruling, the Scottish Charity Appeal Panel has decided in favour of the adoption agency, and overturned a ruling by OSCR (the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) that St Margaret’s must lose its charitable status.
A spokesman for St Margaret’s said: “We are delighted and relieved that the threat hanging over us has been lifted. Our only wish is to continue to do the good work for which we have been recognised by the authorities, of placing children in need of families with loving parents.”
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, president of St Margaret’s, said: “We are grateful for this wise decision. It means that families who are ready to adopt can look forward to the future with a little more serenity, and children in great need can be placed into loving homes. St Margaret’s is a small agency which does great work for the wider community and helps transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in society. It would have been have been a great pity if it had been forced to close.”
SHARED FROM CATHOLIC HERALD CO UK

ON THE VIRTUES OF BEING SNOWED IN A REFLECTION BY FR. DENIS

FR. DENIS LEMIEUX BLOG: If we were tomorrow snowed up in the street in which we live, we should step suddenly into a much larger and much wilder world than we have ever known. And it is the whole effort of the typically modern person to escape from the street in which he lives.

First he invents modern hygiene and goes to Margate. Then he invents modern culture and goes to Florence. Then he invents modern imperialism and goes to Timbuctoo. He goes to the fantastic borders of the earth. He pretends to shoot tigers. He almost rides a camel.

And in all this he is still essentially fleeing from the street in which he was born; and of this flight he is always ready with his own explanation. He says he is fleeing from his street because it is dull; he is lying. He is really fleeing from his street because it is a great deal too exciting. It is exciting because it is exacting; it is exacting because it is alive.

He can visit Venice because to him the Venetians are only Venetians; the people in his own street are men. He can stare at the Chinese because for him the Chinese are a passive thing to be stared at; if he stares at the old lady in the next garden, she becomes active.

He is forced to flee, in short, from the too stimulating society of his equals—of free men, perverse, personal, deliberately different from himself. The street in Brixton is too glowing and overpowering. He has to soothe and quiet himself  among tigers and vultures, camels and crocodiles…

The complaint we commonly make of our neighbors is that they will not, as we express it, mind their own business. We do not really mean that they will not mind their own business. If our neighbors did not mind their own business, they would be asked abruptly for their rent, and would rapidly cease to be our neighbors… What we really mean… [is that] we do not dislike them because they have so little force and fire that they cannot be interested in themselves. We dislike them because they have so much force and fire that they can be interested in us as well. What we dread about our neighbors, in short, is not the narrowness of their horizons but their superb tendency to broaden it.
GK Chesterton, Heretics

Reflection – ‘On the virtues of being snowed in’ – that is a timely seasonal subject for a blog post. Oddly enough, while we’ve had no shortage of severe cold weather up our way this winter, and plenty of snow, we’ve had very few real winter storms—all of that has been going on to the south of us. But oh my, it has certainly gone on to the south of us with a vengeance—Mother Nature appears to be in quite a temper this year, over a great deal of continental North America.

So GKC gives us one good perspective on this, as this winter forcibly confines us to quarters, ‘sends us to our room to think about what we’ve done’, so to speak. Namely, how about going out and getting to know your next door neighbors? Not because they’re all such wonderful people and you’ll all get along marvelously once you break the ice (no pun intended). But precisely as he says, because they are quite different from us, may be quite gloriously uncongenial to us and constantly challenge our notions, our habits, our comfortable assumptions about things.

There is nothing quite as bracing as being ‘stuck’ with a bunch of people who are really very different from you, and trying to forge some kind of human society out of the clash of personality and individuality. There is nothing quite so stifling as living one’s life either among people who are virtual echo chambers for oneself, continually reflecting back one’s own temper and mind, or the kind of shallow cosmopolitanism Chesterton critiques here, where one races about the world and in doing so skims along the surface of life and relationships, essentially alone and unengaged in so doing.

Again, I can allude to my own experience of Madonna House, where we really are cooped up together by the exigencies of our communal way of life and the work we are doing here. Yes, we are all a bunch of Catholics, and so come together on some fundamental levels. But. My goodness. It is truly amazing how much room Catholicism provides for differences of opinion on just about everything besides those fundamentals of faith, and even within the shared fundamentals, the mode of expression and emphasis.

I can testify that it is not the weakness and dullness of my brothers and sisters that challenges me, but their forceful, fiery, boundless strength. We are just all so… very different, and it never ceases to amaze me what a constant work it is to stick it out with each other and work things through.

Patience, flexibility, humility, forgiveness, and perhaps above all a darned good sense of humor—all of this is profoundly needed if we are going to be ‘snowed in’ together, stay in proximity to the people you happen to find yourself with in the street where you live, and endeavor to get along with them. Frankly, the jungles of Borneo do in fact start to look tamer in comparison. GKC is precisely right on this point, and it is a point worth pondering in this long winter of 2014 when we are all feeling, maybe, a bit pinned down and immobilized.


POPE FRANCIS TALKS TO NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY TO ADVANCE MISSIONS

(Vatican Radio) Build and preserve ecclesial communion, be mindful of the cultural context to which you are sent, and evangelize with love. These were some of the recommendations Pope Francis gave to members of the Neocatechumenal Way on Saturday, in advance of their evangelizing missions in different countries throughout the world. 

The community commissioned several new “Missio ad Gentes” teams to establish communities of faith in countries, such as China, India, Vietnam, Mongolia, Finland and Ukraine, among others. Each team consists of priests, seminarians, female celibates and up to four families. 

The Pope sent off the missionaries with a special prayer and blessing during an audience in the Paul VI Hall. He thanked the community for their joy, generosity, witness, missionary zeal and work in the Church. 

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with about 8,000 members of the Neocatechumenal Way on Saturday in the Paul VI Hall. During the audience, with a solemn prayer and blessing, the Pope sent off members of the community on mission to countries throughout the world. Prior to the blessing, he addressed the members of the Neocatechumenal Way. 

Below is a Vatican Radio translation of his message:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I thank the Lord for the joy of your faith and for the ardor of your Christian witness. Thanks be to God. I greet you all cordially, starting from the International Responsible Team of the Neocatechumenal Way, together with the priests, seminarians and catechists. I send an affectionate greeting to the children, in attendance in great number. My thoughts go out in a special way to the families, who will go out to different parts of the world to proclaim and witness to the Gospel. The Church is grateful for your generosity! I thank you for all that you do in the Church and in the world. And precisely in the name of the Church, our Mother,... I would like to propose to you some simple recommendations.

The first is to have the utmost care to build and to preserve the communion within the particular Churches in which you will work. The Way has its own charism and dynamic, a gift, which like all of the gifts of the Spirit, has a profound ecclesial dimension; this means paying attention to the life of the Churches to which your leaders send you, to enhance the riches, to suffer for the weaknesses if necessary, and to walk together, like one flock, under the guidance of the pastors of the local Churches. Communion is essential sometimes it can be better to renounce living in all the details that your itinerary demands, in order to ensure the unity among those who form one ecclesial community, of which you must always feel that you are part. 

Another recommendation: wherever you may go, it would do you well to think that the Spirit of God always gets there ahead of us. The Lord always precedes us! ... Even in the most faraway places, even in the most diverse cultures, God scatters everywhere the seeds of his Word. From here, flows the necessity to give special attention to the cultural context in which you, families, will go to work: it consists of an environment often very different from the one from which you come. Many of you will have to work hard to learn the local language, sometimes it will be difficult, and this effort is appreciated. Even more important will be your commitment to “learn” the culture you will encounter, knowing how to recognize the need of the Gospel, which is present wherever, but also that action that the Holy Spirit has accomplished in the life and in the history of every people. 

Finally, I exhort you to care lovingly for each other, in a particular way for the weakest. The Neocatechumenal Way, as an itinerary of discovery of one’s own baptism, is a demanding road, along which a brother or a sister can come upon unforeseen difficulties. In these cases, the exercise of patience and of mercy on the part of the community is a sign of maturity in the faith. The freedom of each person must not be forced, and even the eventual choice of someone who decides to seek, outside of the Way, other forms of Christian life that help him to grow in the response to the call of the Lord must be respected.

Dear families, brothers and sisters, I encourage you to bring everywhere, even in the most de-Christianized environments, especially in the existential peripheries, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Evangelize with love, bring to everyone the love of God. Tell everyone you will meet on the streets of your mission that God loves man as he is, even with his limits, with his mistakes, with his sins. For this, he sent his Son, so that he could take our sins upon himself. Be messengers and witnesses of the infinite goodness and the inexhaustible mercy of the Father. I entrust you to the Virgin Mary, that she may inspire and always sustain your apostolate. In the school of this tender Mother, be zealous and joyful missionaries. 
Text from Vatican Radio website 

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : SAT. FEB. 1, 2014

Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 322


Reading 1          2 SM 12:1-7A, 10-17

The LORD sent Nathan to David, and when he came to him,
Nathan said: “Judge this case for me!
In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor.
The rich man had flocks and herds in great numbers.
But the poor man had nothing at all
except one little ewe lamb that he had bought.
He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children.
She shared the little food he had
and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom.
She was like a daughter to him.
Now, the rich man received a visitor,
but he would not take from his own flocks and herds
to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him.
Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb
and made a meal of it for his visitor.”
David grew very angry with that man and said to him:
“As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death!
He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold
because he has done this and has had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David: “You are the man!
Thus says the LORD God of Israel:
‘The sword shall never depart from your house,
because you have despised me
and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.’
Thus says the LORD:
‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house.
I will take your wives while you live to see it,
and will give them to your neighbor.
He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.
You have done this deed in secret,
but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel,
and with the sun looking down.’”

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan answered David: “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin:
you shall not die.
But since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed,
the child born to you must surely die.”
Then Nathan returned to his house.

The LORD struck the child that the wife of Uriah had borne to David,
and it became desperately ill.
David besought God for the child.
He kept a fast, retiring for the night
to lie on the ground clothed in sackcloth.
The elders of his house stood beside him
urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not,
nor would he take food with them.

Responsorial Psalm          PS 51:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God;
then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Gospel                  MK 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”