Monday, March 3, 2014

TODAY'S SAINT : MARCH 4 : ST. CASIMIR PRINCE OF POLAND

St. Casimir
PRINCE OF POLAND
Feast: March 4


Information:
Feast Day:March 4
Born:
October 3, 1458(1458-10-03), Wawel, Kraków
Died:March 4, 1484, Hrodna, Belarus
Canonized:
1522, Rome by Pope Adrian VI
Major Shrine:Vilnius Cathedral
Patron of:patron saint of Poland and Lithuania
St Casimir was the third among the thirteen children of Casimir III, King of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter to the Emperor Albert II, a most virtuous woman, who died in 1505. He was born in 1458, on the 3rd of October. From his childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. His preceptor was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of Cracow, a man of extraordinary learning and piety, who constantly refused all bishoprics and other dignities of the church and state which were pressed upon him. Uladislas, the eldest son, was elected King of Bohemia in 1471, and became King of Hungary in 1490. Our saint was the second son; John Albert the third son, succeeded the father in the kingdom of Poland in 1492; and Alexander, the fourth son, was called to the same in 1501. Casimir and the other princes were so affectionately attached to the holy man, who was their preceptor, that they could not bear to be separated from him. But Casimir profited most by his pious maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his age to the exercises of devotion and penance, and had a horror of that softness and magnificence which reign in courts His clothes were very plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. His bed was frequently the ground, and he spent a considerable part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. He often went out in the night to pray before the church-doors; and in the morning waited before them till they were opened to assist at matins. By living always under a sense of the divine presence he remained perpetually united to, and absorbed in, his Creator, maintained an uninterrupted cheerfulness of temper, and was mild and affable to all. He respected the least ceremonies of the church: everything that tended to promote piety was dear to him. He was particularly devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the very thought of which excited him to tears, and threw him into transports of love. He was no less piously affected towards the sacrifice of the altar, at which he always assisted with such reverence and attention that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or at least frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His love for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the poor, who are his members, to whose relief he applied whatever he had, and employed his credit with his father, and his brother Uladislas, King of Bohemia, to procure them succour. His compassion made him feel in himself the afflictions of every one.
The Palatines and other nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with Matthias Corvin, their king, son of the great Huniades, begged the King of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on the throne. The saint, not then quite fifteen years of age, was very unwilling to consent; but in compliance with his father's will he went, at the head of an army of twenty thousand men, to the frontiers in 1471. There hearing that Matthias had formed an army of sixteen thousand men to defend him, and that all differences were accommodated between him and his people, and that Pope Sixtus IV had sent an embassy to divert his father from that expedition, he joyfully returned, having with difficulty obtained his father's consent so to do. However, as his dropping this project was disagreeable to the king his father, not to increase his affliction by appearing before him he did not go directly to Cracow, but retired to the Castle of Dobzki, three miles from that city, where he continued three months in the practice of penance. Having learned the injustice of the attempt against the King of Hungary, in which obedience to his father's command prevailed upon him to embark when he was very young, he could never be engaged to resume it by fresh pressing invitation of the Hungarians, or the iterated orders and entreaties of his father. The twelve years he lived after this he spent in sanctifying himself in the same manner as he had done before. He observed to the last an untainted chastity, notwithstanding the advice of physicians who excited him to marry, imagining, upon some false principle, this to be a means necessary to preserve his life. Being wasted with a lingering consumption, he foretold his last hour, and having prepared himself for it by redoubling his exercises of piety, and receiving the sacraments of the church, he made a happy end at Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, on the 4th of March, 1484, being twenty-three years and five months old. He was buried in the Church of St. Stanislas. So many were the miracles wrought by his intercession that Swiecicki, a canon of Vilna, wrote a whole volume of them from good memoirs in 1604. He was canonized by Pope Leo X, whose legate in Poland, Zachary Ferrier, wrote the saint's life. His body, and all the rich stuffs it was wrapped in, were found quite entire, and exhaling a sweet smell one hundred and twenty years after his death, notwithstanding the excessive moisture of the vault. It is honoured in a large rich chapel of marble, built on purpose in that church. St. Casimir is the patron of Poland and several other places, and is proposed to youth as a particular pattern of purity. His original picture is to be seen in his chapel in St. German des Prez in Paris, built by John Casimir, King of Poland, the last of the family of Waza, who, renouncing his crown, retired to Paris, and died Abbot of St. Germain's in 1668.
What is there on earth which can engage the affections of a  Christian, or be the object of his ambition, in whose soul God desires to establish his kingdom? Whoever has conceived a just idea of this immense happiness and dignity must look upon all the glittering bubbles of this world as empty and vain, and consider every thing in this life barely as it can advance or hinder the great object of all his desires. Few arrive at this happy and glorious state, because scarce any one seeks it with his whole heart, and has the courage sincerely to renounce all things and die to himself: and this precious jewel cannot be purchased upon any other terms. The kingdom of God can only be planted in a soul upon the ruins of self-love: so long as this reigns, it raises insuperable obstacles to the perfect establishment of the empire of divine love. The amiable Jesus lives in all souls which he animates by his sanctifying grace, and the Holy Ghost dwells in all such. But in most of these how many worldly maxims and inclinations diametrically opposite to those of our most holy heavenly king, hold their full sway! how many secret disorders and irregular attachments are cherished! how much is found of self-love, with which sometimes their spiritual exercises themselves are infected! The sovereign King of men and their merciful Redeemer is properly said to reign only in those souls which study effectually, and without reserve, to destroy in their affections whatever is opposite to his divine will, to subdue all their passions, and to subject all their powers to his holy love. Such fall not into any venial sins with full deliberation, and wipe away those of frailty into which they are betrayed, by the compunction and penance in which they constantly live, and by the constant attention with which they watch daily over themselves. They pray with the utmost earnestness that God deliver them from all the power of the enemy, and establish in all their affections the perfect empire of his grace and love; and to fulfil his will in the most perfect manner in all their actions is their most earnest desire and hearty endeavour. How bountifully does God reward, even in this life, those who are thus liberal toward him! St. Casimir, who had tasted of this happiness, and learned truly to value the heavenly grace, loathed all earthly pomp and delights. With what joy ought not all Christians, both rich and poor, to be filled when they hear: The kingdom of God is within you! With what ardor ought they not to devote themselves to make God reign perfectly in their hearts! How justly did St. Casimir prefer this pursuit to earthly kingdoms!


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/stcasimir.asp#ixzz1oBH2qOYL

POPE FRANCIS “Faith is not a mere cultural heritage, but a present, a gift that comes from a personal encounter with Jesus..."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday met with the Spanish bishops who were in Rome this week on the ad limina visit. He spoke to them about the current situation of the Church in Spain and the western world.

“At this time when you are suffering the difficult experience of the indifference of many of the baptized and you must cope with a worldly culture, which squeezes God into the private life, and excludes him from the public sphere, one must not forget your history,” Pope Francis said. “From it, we learn that the grace of God is never extinguished, and the Holy Spirit continues to work in the present reality with generosity.”

The Holy Father told the bishops to trust the Holy Spirit to plant seeds in the hearts of those whom he has entrusted to their pastoral care.

“Therefore, dear brothers, spare no efforts in opening new paths to the gospels, that reach the hearts of all people, so that they discover what is already nestled within: Christ as a friend and brother,” said the Pope.

He asked them to put their Churches in a state of “permanent mission” to help strengthen the faith, especially of children, and to bring back into the fold those who have left.

“Faith is not a mere cultural heritage, but a present, a gift that comes from a personal encounter with Jesus, and the free and joyful acceptance of the new life it offers,” said the Pope.

The Pope also called “an evangelized family…a valuable agent of evangelization”, and encouraged the Spanish bishops ongoing efforts to develop priestly vocations.

In conclusion, Pope Francis stressed that love and service to the poor are a sign of the Kingdom of God, and the Church is a mother who “can never forget her most deprived children.”


Text from Vatican Radio website 

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : MON. MARCH 3, 2014

Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 347


Reading 1         1 PT 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

Responsorial Psalm PS 111:1-2, 5-6, 9 AND 10C

R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel                      MK 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother
.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”

PRAYER VIGIL IN CHINA FOR 29 KILLED IN TRAIN STATION MASSACRE

ASIA NEWS IT REPORT: A hundred people gathered spontaneously in the station where the massacre took place. The gang raided the station armed with curved swords and meat cleavers and stabbed people randomly. Beijing says the leaders are ethnic Uyghur "separatists", but there is no evidence to support this thesis.


Kunming ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - Last night a hundred people held a candlelight vigil at the train station in Kunming (Yunnan Province), where March 1 last a bloody attack targeted commuters and passengers. Men and women dressed in black and wearing masks assaulted bystanders with curved swords and meat cleavers, instantly killing 29 people and wounding more than 130. The critically injured includes a woman six months pregnant. According to the Chinese authorities ethnic Uyghur "separatists" are responsible for the attack. However, there is still no evidence against them.
The massacre took place at 21:30 on Saturday evening. The Kunming station, in the capital of Yunnan, is one of the largest and busiest in all of China. The police have described the massacre as "a well-organized terrorist attack": The attackers randomly stabbed those present, in the chest , neck and head. Four of them - three men and one woman - were killed on the spot by police. Another woman suspect is under arrest and is in hospital.
More than 100 people participated in a spontaneous vigil last night. A 53 year old man said he was find"very saddened" by what happened, but urged the government to provide answers to the problems in Xinjiang. "No one ever told us why there is so much tension there - said the man - what did our government do to attract so much anger?".
The Uyghur ethnic group lives in the northern autonomous region of Xinjiang, is of the Turkish language and the Muslim faith, and denounces a strong linguistic, cultural and religious repression by the Chinese central government. Over the years there have been numerous violent clashes between the two sides: Beijing argues the region is home to Islamic extremists and separatists, while local activists pointing the finger at ethnic tensions caused by the Chinese control and "racist" policies in implemented by the central government.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the government "will do everything" to clarify what happened and bring the perpetrators to justice. The governments of Russia, France, the United States and Japan have unanimously condemned the attack and expressed their condolences to the victims. Ban Ki- moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, said that " there is no justification for the murder of innocent civilians."

The attack took place a few days before two important appointments for Chinese politics: the opening of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), scheduled for today, and the National People's Congress (NPC, China's parliament), on March 5.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

POPE FRANCIS "‘Lord, send us nuns and send us priests, defend them from idolatry, the idolatry of vanity..."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday asked the faithful to pray for vocations, so that God may send priests and nuns whose hearts are for Him only; free from the idolatry of vanity, of power and of wealth. 

Speaking during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis took his cue from the Gospel reading of day which tells of a rich man who ran up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. This man – the Pope said – really wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. “He was a good man, a man who had observed the commandments from his youth, but this was not enough for him, he wanted more. The Holy Spirit was pushing him further”. Jesus looked at him, loved him and said to him: ‘Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor; then come, follow me’. At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions:

“His heart was restless, because the Holy Spirit was pushing him to get closer to Jesus and to follow him. But his heart was full and he lacked the courage to empty it. He made his choice: money. His heart was full of money…. But he was not a thief, or a criminal: no, no, no! He was a good man: he had never stolen! He had never cheated anyone: his money had been earned honestly. But his heart was imprisoned, it was attached to money and he lacked the freedom to choose. Money chose for him”.

How many young people – Pope Francis continued – feel this call to get close to Jesus within their hearts, and they are enthusiastic about it. “They are not ashamed to kneel before Him” and to “publically show their faith in Jesus Christ” and “they want to follow Him, but when their hearts are full of something else and they lack the courage to empty their hearts, they turn back and their joy becomes sadness”. There are many young people today – Pope Francis said – who have a vocation, but sometimes there is something that stops them:

“We must pray so that the hearts of these young people may be emptied, emptied of other interests and other sentiments, so that they may become free. This is the prayer for vocations. ‘Lord, send us nuns and send us priests, defend them from idolatry, the idolatry of vanity, the idolatry of pride, the idolatry of power, the idolatry of money’. This prayer of ours is to prepare these hearts so that they are able to follow Jesus closely”.

The man described in the Gospel reading – the Pope said – is “such a good man and then he is so sad”. Today there are many young people like him. This is why we must pray intensely to God:

“Lord, help these young people so that they may be free, not slaves, so that their hearts be for You only; so that the call of the Lord can be heard and can bear fruit. This is the prayer for vocations. We must pray a lot. But we must be careful: there are vocations. We must help them to grow, so that the Lord can enter into those hearts and give this indescribable and glorious joy that belongs to every person who follows Jesus closely”. 


Text Vatican Radio website