Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Saint July 3 : St. Thomas Apostle : Patron of Blind, Architects, India

St. Thomas
Feast: July 3

Feast Day:July 3
Died:72 in India
Patron of:against doubt, architects, blind people, builders, East Indies, geometricians, India, masons, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, surveyors, theologians
Little is recorded of St.Thomas the Apostle, nevertheless thanks to the fourth Gospel his personality is clearer to us than that of some others of the Twelve. His name occurs in all the lists of the Synoptists (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6, cf. Acts 1:13), but in St.John he plays a distinctive part. First, when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit Lazarus, "Thomas" who is called Didymus [the twin], said to his fellow disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Again it was St. Thomas who during the discourse before the Last Supper raised an objection:" Thomas saith to him : Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5). But more especially St. Thomas is remembered for his incredulity when the other Apostles announced Christ's Resurrection to him: " Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25); but eight days later he made his act of faith, drawing down the rebuke of Jesus: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20:29).
This exhausts all our certain knowledge regarding the Apostle but his name is the starting point of a considerable apocryphal literature, and there are also certain historical data which suggest that some of this apocryphal material may contains germs of truth. The principal document concerning him is the "Acta Thomae", preserved to us with some variations both in Greek and in Syriac, and bearing unmistakeable signs of its Gnostic origin. It may indeed be the work of Bardesanes himself. The story in many of its particulars is utterly extravagant, but it is the early date, being assigned by Harnack (Chronologie, ii, 172) to the beginning of the third century, before A. D. 220. If the place of its origin is really Edessa, as Harnack and others for sound reasons supposed (ibid., p. 176), this would lend considerable probability to the statement, explicitly made in "Acta" (Bonnet, cap. 170, p.286), that the relics of Apostle Thomas, which we know to have been venerated at Edessa, had really come from the East. The extravagance of the legend may be judged from the fact that in more than one place (cap. 31, p. 148) it represents Thomas (Judas Thomas, as he is called here and elsewhere in Syriac tradition) as the twin brother of Jesus. The Thomas in Syriac is equivalant to XXXXX in Greek, and means twin. Rendel Harris who exaggerates very much the cult of the Dioscuri, wishes to regards this as a transformation of a pagan worship of Edessa but the point is at best problematical. The story itself runs briefly as follows: At the division of the Apostles, India fell to the lot of Thomas, but he declared his inability to go, whereupon his Master Jesus appeared in a supernatural way to Abban, the envoy of Gundafor, an Indian king, and sold Thomas to him to be his slave and serve Gundafor as a carpender. Then Abban and Thomas sailed away until they came to Andrapolis, where they landed and attended the marriage feast of the ruler's daughter. Strange occurences followed and Christ under the appearence of Thomas exhorted the bride to remain a Virgin. Coming to India Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor, but spend the money entrusted to him on the poor. Gundafor imprisoned him; but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted. Going about the country to preach, Thomas met with strange adventures from dragons and wild asses. Then he came to the city of King Misdai (Syriac Mazdai), where he converted Tertia the wife of Misdai and Vazan his son. After this he was condemed to death, led out of city to a hill, and pierced through with spears by four soldiers. He was buried in the tomb of the ancient kings but his remains were afterwards removed to the West.
Now it is certainly a remarkable fact that about the year A.D. 46 a king was reigning over that part of Asia south of Himalayas now represented by Afghanistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, and Sind, who bore the name Gondophernes or Guduphara. This we know both from the discovery of coins, some of the Parthian type with Greek legends, others of the Indian types with the legends in an Indian dialect in Kharoshthi characters. Despite sundry minor variations the identity of the name with the Gundafor of the "Acta Thomae" is unmistakable and is hardly disputed. Further we have the evidence of the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, which is dated and which the best specialists accept as establishing the King Gunduphara probably began to reign about A.D. 20 and was still reigning in 46. Again there are excellent reasons for believing that Misdai or Mazdai may well be transformation of a Hindu name made on the Iranian soil. In this case it will probably represent a certain King Vasudeva of Mathura, a successor of Kanishka. No doubt it can be urged that the Gnostic romancer who wrote the "Acta Thomae" may have adopted a few historical Indian names to lend verisimilitude to his fabrication, but as Mr. Fleet urges in his severely critical paper "the names put forward here in connection with St.Thomas are distinctly not such as have lived in Indian story and tradition" (Joul. of R. Asiatic Soc.,1905, p.235).
On the other hand, though the tradition that St. Thomas preached in "India" was widely spread in both East and West and is to be found in such writers as Ephraem Syrus, Ambrose, Paulinus, Jerome, and, later Gregory of Tours and others, still it is difficult to discover any adequate support for the long-accepted belief that St. Thomas pushed his missionary journeys as far south as Mylapore, not far from Madras, and there suffered martyrdom. In that region is still to be found a granite bas-relief cross with a Pahlavi (ancient Persian) inscription dating from the seventh century, and the tradition that it was here that St. Thomas laid down his life is locally very strong. Certain it is also that on the Malabar or west coast of southern India a body of Christians still exists using a form of Syriac for its liturgical language. Whether this Church dates from the time of St. Thomas the Apostle (there was a Syro-Chaldean bishop John "from India and Persia" who assisted at the Council of Nicea in 325) or whether the Gospel was first preached there in 345 owing to the Persian persecution under Shapur (or Sapor), or whether the Syrian missionaries who accompanied a certain Thomas Cana penetrated to the Malabar coast about the year 745 seems difficult to determine. We know only that in the sixth century Cosmas Indicopleustes speaks of the existence of Christians at Male (?Malabar) under a bishop who had been consecrated in Persia. King Alfred the Great is stated in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" to have sent an expedition to establish relations with these Christians of the Far East. On the other hand the reputed relics of St. Thomas were certainly at Edessa in the fourth century, and there they remained until they were translated to Chios in 1258 and towards to Ortona. The improbable suggestion that St. Thomas preached in America (American Eccles. Rev., 1899, pp.1-18) is based upon a misunderstanding of the text of the Acts of Apostles (i, 8; cf. Berchet "Fonte italiane per la storia della scoperta del Nuovo Mondo", II, 236, and I, 44).
Besides the "Acta Thomae" of which a different and notably shorter redaction exists in Ethiopic and Latin, we have an abbreviated form of a so-called "Gospel of Thomas" originally Gnostic, as we know it now merely a fantastical history of the childhood of Jesus, without any notably heretical colouring. There is also a "Revelatio Thomae", condemned as apocryphal in the Degree of Pope Gelasius, which has recently been recovered from various sources in a fragmentary condition


Today's Mass Readings Online : Wed. July 2, 2014

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 379

Reading 1AM 5:14-15, 21-24

Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
Then truly will the LORD, the God of hosts,
be with you as you claim!
Hate evil and love good,
and let justice prevail at the gate;
Then it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
will have pity on the remnant of Joseph.

I hate, I spurn your feasts, says the LORD,
I take no pleasure in your solemnities;
Your cereal offerings I will not accept,
nor consider your stall-fed peace offerings.
Away with your noisy songs!
I will not listen to the melodies of your harps.
But if you would offer me burnt offerings,
then let justice surge like water,
and goodness like an unfailing stream.

Responsorial Psalm PS 50:7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 16BC-17

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Hear, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you;
God, your God, am I.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“For mine are all the animals of the forests,
beasts by the thousand on my mountains.
I know all the birds of the air,
and whatever stirs in the plains, belongs to me.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“If I were hungry, I should not tell you,
for mine are the world and its fullness.
Do I eat the flesh of strong bulls,
or is the blood of goats my drink?”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Gospel MT 8:28-34

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
“If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
And he said to them, “Go then!”
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.

Casting Crowns Thrive - Viral Music Video - Christian Inspiration

Here is the Viral Song Thrive by Casting Crowns. WikiPedia: Casting Crowns is a contemporary Christian and Christian rock band started in 1999 by youth pastor Mark Hall, who serves as the band's lead vocalist, as part of a youth group at First Baptist Church in Downtown Daytona Beach, Florida. Lead singer: Mark Hall (1999–) Members: Mark Hall, Megan Garrett, Melodee Devevo, more Origin: Atlanta, Georgia, United States, Daytona Beach, Florida, United States "We were made to thrive'
Casting Crowns - 'Thrive' lyric video.
Get the new album, Thrive, in stores and online:

A Mother's Love - How Devaluation of Motherhood hurts Society

Early nurturing essential to ability to love
JULY 2, 2014  |  by LIBBY SIMON, RSW, MSW
IMFC Release: It is blatantly obvious that without mothers there would be no life on the planet. There would be no civilization. Human beings simply would not exist.
Now, I must acknowledge mothers can't do it alone, but it is the mother who bears the child and traditionally has also provided the necessary child care to ensure its survival. There is an essential value of mothers to all of us.
Yet a distinction should be made between the mother and the act of 'mothering'-- one is a noun, the other, a verb.
Historically and biologically driven, the role of mothering has been, and to a large extent still is, primarily fulfilled by the biological mother. But with changes in family structures and shifts in values and priorities, this role is now often carried out by a variety of mother substitutes such as fathers, grandparents, adoptive, foster, step-parents or paid caregivers.
In Every Child's Birthright: In Defense of Mothering (1977) author Selma Fraiberg writes this: "mothering... is the nurturing of the human potential of every baby to love, to trust and to bind himself to human partnerships in a lifetime of love."
Mothering, whoever takes on the responsibility of raising the child, requires a strong and prolonged commitment toward the goal of maximizing human potential. Fraiberg notes the evidence from various sources converges to a consensus that the human capacity to love is formed in infancy and this bond should not only be considered as a “gift” of love to the baby, but a right -- "a birthright for every child."
Unfortunately, the recognition and awareness of the crucial role of mothering in a child's healthy development, and consequently, to future generations, is gradually being eroded. It is often seen as a secondary role in the scheme of our busy lives.

The devaluation of nurturing harms children

According to Fraiberg, "we are seeing a devaluation of parental nurturing and commitment to babies in our society, which may affect the quality and stability of the child's human attachments in ways that cannot yet be predicted."
Fraiberg warned deprivation of a mother or mother substitute will diminish the child's capacity for life, and that the numbers of such children are growing in our society.
One doesn't need to look far to see the truth in her words in today's world. Her cautionary notice is already apparent in the ever-growing numbers of troubled youth and young children as reflected in mental health issues and criminal behaviours.
In 2006, drug-related crimes among young people climbed dramatically compared with 10 years earlier making the rate of drug offences among youth nearly double (an increase of 97 per cent) during that period.
Canada has the ninth-highest rate of bullying in the 13-year-old category on a scale of 35 countries. At least one in three adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied recently and 47 per cent of Canadian parents report having a child who is a victim of bullying. Most disturbing is any participation in bullying increases the risk of suicidal thoughts in youth.
Time and again, social scientists have emphasized the importance of attachment in the early years to long-term healthy emotional, social and intellectual development. Time and again, they have told us what we can do to maximize the well-being of children. Yet, time and again, we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear.

The role of mothering continues to be eroded when it is, in fact, the most important contribution to society that can be made.

Fraiberg's words are as true today as they were in her time. The basic needs of children have not changed -- our values have. Our priorities have been rearranged as advertisers shape our wants into needs.
We did not invent childhood. We are only discovering what has likely existed since the beginning of time. As Doris Lessing pointed out in the CBC Massey Lectures, "... what we have, we take for granted. What we are used to, we cease to value."
The contradiction lies in the fact that, while we rightly honour our mothers annually on Mother's Day, at the same time we devalue their role. We have only one childhood and it provides the only opportunity to give our children the legacy by which they can change the future.
As Lloyd deMause says, "... the psychic structure of childhood must always be passed from generation to generation through the narrow funnel of childhood."
Mothering is a labour of love, and an investment, not only for the next generation, but for the future of civilization.
Libby Simon, RSW, MSW, worked in child welfare services for several years prior to joining the Child Guidance Clinic in Winnipeg as a School Social Worker for 20 years, from which she evolved as a freelance writer. Her works have appeared in Canada and U.S. in a variety of periodicals, such as Canadian Living, Winnipeg Free Press and OISE.
A version of this was published in the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2014, A17
Permission granted to reprint in full with attribution to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

Girls are Not Safe - 8 Year Old Disabled Girl Raped in Bangladesh

AsiaNewsReprt: by Sumon Corraya
The victim, who is disabled, has survived and is in hospital. Catholic, is the niece of a local priest. Her abuser is a young Muslim of 25 is currently in prison. 

Mymensingh (AsiaNews) - Catholics in the Diocese of Mymensingh in Bangladesh are calling for a exemplary punishment and no impunity for the man who raped Balsree Chambugong, a disabled 8 years old Catholic girl. She was attacked June 27: the rapist, Sahab Ali, a Muslim of 25, is currently in prison. The little girl has been hospitalized for her injuries.

Initial reports reveal that the young man took advantage of a moment when the child was alone in her home. He dragged her out to a nearby bamboo field, where he raped her. Some neighbors heard Balsree screaming and managed to stop the man, and then call the police.

The little girl, a tribal of Garo ethnicity, is a member of the parish of St. George, Mariamnagar (district of Sherpur) and is the niece of Fr. Biolen Chambugong, a Catholic priest who works in Baluchora, another parish in the diocese.

Yesterday, students and local Catholics organized a protest to demand action. Fr. Shimon Hacha, senior priest of the Diocese of Mymensingh, told AsiaNews: "Christian Women and girls are not safe in their homes. We need security from the local authorities".

Asia News

Saint July 2 : St. Bernardino Realino : Jesuit

St. Bernardino Realino
Feast: July 2

Feast Day:July 2
Born:Modena, Italy, in 1530
Canonized:1947 by Pope Pius XII
Patron of:Lecce, Italy
Born in Modena, Italy, in 1530, he trained as an attorney. At the age of thirty-four, Bernardine became a member of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. He was appointed years later to the post of rector of the Jesuit college at Lecce, remaining there until death. Bernardine was canonized in 1947.