Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saint July 23 : St. Bridget of Sweden : Patron of Widows

St. Bridget of Sweden
WIFE AND FOUNDRESS
Feast: July 23


Information:
Feast Day:July 23
Born:1303 at Finsta Castle, Uppsala, Sweden
Died:23 July 1373 at Rome, Italy
Canonized:7 October 1391 by Pope Boniface IX
Major Shrine:Vadstena
Patron of:Europe, Sweden, Widows
The most celebrated saint of the Northern kingdoms, born about 1303; died 23 July, 1373.
She was the daughter of Birger Persson, governor and provincial judge (Lagman) of Uppland, and of Ingeborg Bengtsdotter. Her father was one of the wealthiest landholders of the country, and, like her mother, distinguished by deep piety. St. Ingrid, whose death had occurred about twenty years before Bridget's birth, was a near relative of the family. Birger's daughter received a careful religious training, and from her seventh year showed signs of extraordinary religious impressions and illuminations. To her education, and particularly to the influence of an aunt who took the place of Bridget's mother after the latter's death (c. 1315), she owed that unswerving strength of will which later distinguished her.
In 1316, at the age of thirteen, she was united in marriage to Ulf Gudmarsson, who was then eighteen. She acquired great influence over her noble and pious husband, and the happy marriage was blessed with eight children, among them St. Catherine of Sweden. The saintly life and the great charity of Bridget soon made her name known far and wide. She was acquainted with several learned and pious theologians, among them Nicolaus Hermanni, later Bishop of Linköping, Matthias, canon of Linköping, her confessor, Peter, Prior of Alvastrâ, and Peter Magister, her confessor after Matthias. She was later at the court of King Magnus Eriksson, over whom she gradually acquired great influence. Early in the forties (1341-43) in company with her husband she made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. On the return journey her husband was stricken with an attack of illness, but recovered sufficiently to finish the journey. Shortly afterwards, however, he died (1344) in the Cistercian monastery of Alvastrâ in East Gothland.
Bridget now devoted herself entirely to practices of religion and asceticism, and to religious undertakings. The visions which she believed herself to have had from her early childhood now became more frequent and definite. She believed that Christ Himself appeared to her, and she wrote down the revelations she then received, which were in great repute during the Middle Ages. They were translated into Latin by Matthias Magister and Prior Peter.
St. Bridget now founded a new religious congregation, the Brigittines, or Order of St. Saviour, whose chief monastery, at Vadstena, was richly endowed by King Magnus and his queen (1346). To obtain confirmation for her institute, and at the same time to seek a larger sphere of activity for her mission, which was the moral uplifting of the period, she journeyed to Rome in 1349, and remained there until her death, except while absent on pilgrimages, among them one to the Holy Land in 1373. In August, 1370, Pope Urban V confirmed the Rule of her congregation. Bridget made earnest representations to Pope Urban, urging the removal of the Holy See from Avignon back to Rome. She accomplished the greatest good in Rome, however, by her pious and charitable life, and her earnest admonitions to others to adopt a better life, following out the excellent precedents she had set in her native land. The year following her death her remains were conveyed to the monastery at Vadstena. She was canonized, 7 October, 1391, by Boniface IX.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbridgetofsweden.asp#ixzz1Sw774HYj

Pope Francis Blesses Eastern Christians - Prays for Peace in Iraq

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has reassured the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church Ignatius Youssef III Younan that he is following news out of Iraq with concern, particularly the dramatic situation of Christians in Mosul who have been threatened with death and seizure of their homes by Islamic militants demanding they leave or convert to their form of Islamic belief.  Christians have lived in Iraq’s second largest city for nearly two thousand years;  there are few, if any, left now in Mosul. 

The Patriarch told the Italian Catholic news agency SIR (Religious Information Service), that Pope Francis called him Sunday 20 July to express his solidarity with Iraqi Christians.  During the 9 minute phone call, the Patriarch thanked the Pope and asked him to intensify his efforts to engage world leaders, putting them face to face with the facts on the ground: that in the province of Nineveh a massive religious “cleansing” campaign is underway to rid the region of those who do not share the beliefs of the new occupiers.
At the end of the call, Pope Francis bestowed his Apostolic Blessing upon all the eastern Christians with the assurance that he “will always keep them in his prayers for peace and security.”  At his traditional Angelus blessing also on Sunday, the Pope offered prayers for Iraqi Christians who `'are persecuted, chased away, forced to leave their houses without the possibility of taking anything'' with them” and called for dialogue to resolve armed conflicts.
Just recently, Patriarch Younan had denounced an arson attack by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) militants on the Episcopal headquarters of the Syriac-Catholic Church in Mosul. Shared from Radio Vaticana

New President of Indonesia Joko Widodo - Popular with Young

ASIA NEWS Jakarta's popular governor of won 53.15 per cent of the votes. His challenger, retired general Subianto, withdraws from the competition, alleging "fraud", and vows to appeal to the Constitutional Court. Tensions remain high in the capital.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Popular Jakarta governor Joko Widodo is poised to win Indonesia's presidential election, according to results broadcast on television.
The election commission is yet to announce the formal result, but a tally shows Mr Widodo, also known as Jokowi, won 53.15 per cent of the vote.
His rival, retired general Prabowo Subianto, said he is withdrawing from the election process, alleging fraud, and vowed to challenge the results.
The election commission is due to announce the formal results in the evening, but jubilant supporters have already begun flooding Twitter with congratulatory messages for Mr Widodo, using the hashtag #presidenbaru (New President).
Mr Widodo has proved to be particularly popular with urban and rural youth and represents a decisive break with Indonesia's authoritarian past.
In the meantime however, tensions continue in Indonesian cities continue. In Jakarta, soldiers and police have blocked access to the main meeting places, schools have closed early and checkpoints have been set up on the roads to Banten and West Java province.

The military is concerned about external "infiltration" to manipulate public opinion in the capital and perhaps unleash violence. Shared from ASIA NEWS IT 

Pope Francis Pro-Life Message Confidence that this annual witness to the sanctity of God’s gift of life will inspire the faithful...

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is marking the upcoming Day for Life in the UK and Ireland with a call to all people of good will to cherish life, particularly the life of society’s most vulnerable.
In a message sent to the Church in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, signed by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope urges Catholics to “to bring the merciful love of Christ as a life-giving balm to those troubling “new forms of poverty and vulnerability” increasingly evident in contemporary society (cf. Evangelii Gaudium 210).”
The theme of this year’s Day for Life – celebrated on July 27th - is #livelife Protect and Cherish Life from its beginning to its natural end. It invites young people in particular to get involved in caring for, nurturing and protecting life at every stage and in every condition.
Message from Pope Francis
"As the Church in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales celebrates the 2014 Day for Life, the Holy Father expresses his confidence that this annual witness to the sanctity of God’s gift of life will inspire the faithful, and young Catholics in particular, to combat the culture of death, not only by working to ensure adequate legal protection for the fundamental human right to life, but also by seeking to bring the merciful love of Christ as a life-giving balm to those troubling “new forms of poverty and vulnerability” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium 210) which are increasingly evident in contemporary society.
"To all involved in the Day for Life celebrations, His Holiness imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, joy and peace in the Risen Lord."

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State
Day for Life is celebrated yearly by the Catholic Church in Scotland, England and Wales and Ireland. It's a day dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition.
The proceeds of the Day for Life collection to be held in parishes in England and Wales on Sunday 27 July 2014 assist the work of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and other life-related activities supported by the Church.

(Emer McCarthy)

Special Prayer to St. Mary Magdalen by St. Anselm and Litany

PRAYER TO ST. MARY MAGDALEN BY ST. ANSELM: 
Feast July 22
Patroness of Women, penitent sinners, pharmacists, prostitutes, sexual temptations, hairdressers.
Prayer-
St Mary Magdalene, you came with springing tears to the spring of mercy, Christ; from him your burning thirst was abundantly refreshed through him your sins were forgiven; by him your bitter sorrow was consoled.
My dearest lady, well you know by your own life how a sinful soul can be reconciled with its creator, what counsel a soul in misery needs, what medicine will restore the sick to health.
It is enough for us to understand, dear friend of God, to whom were many sins forgiven, because she loved much.
Most blessed lady, I who am the most evil and sinful of men do not recall your sins as a reproach, but call upon the boundless mercy by which they were blotted out.
This is my reassurance, so that I do not despair; this is my longing, so that I shall not perish.
I say this of myself, miserably cast down into the depths of vice, bowed down with the weight of crimes, thrust down by my own hand into a dark prison of sins, wrapped round with the shadows of darkness.
Therefore, since you are now with the chosen because you are beloved and are beloved because you are chosen of God, 1, in my misery, pray to you, in bliss; in my darkness, I ask for light; in my sins, redemption; impure, I ask for purity.
Recall in loving kindness what you used to be, how much you needed mercy, and seek for me that same forgiving love that you received when you were wanting it. Ask urgently that I may have the love that pierces the heart; tears that are humble; desire for the homeland of heaven; impatience with this earthly exile; searing repentance; and a dread of torments in eternity.
Turn to my good that ready access that you once had and still have to the spring of mercy.
Draw me to him where I may wash away my sins; bring me to him who can slake my thirst; pour over me those waters that will make my dry places fresh. You will not find it hard to gain all you desire from so loving and so kind a Lord, who is alive and reigns and is your friend.

For who can tell, beloved and blest of God, with what kind familiarity and familiar kindness he himself replied on your behalf to the calumnies of those who were against you? How he defended you, when the proud Pharisee was indignant, how he excused you, when your sister complained, how highly he praised your deed, when Judas begrudged it.
And, more than all this, what can I say, how can I find words to tell, about the burning love with which you sought him, weeping at the sepulchre, and wept for him in your seeking?
How he came, who can say how or with what kindness, to comfort you, and made you burn with love still more; how he hid from you when you wanted to see him, and showed himself when you did not think to see him; how he was there all the time you sought him, and how he sought you when, seeking him, you wept.
But you, most holy Lord, why do you ask her why she weeps?
Surely you can see; her heart, the dear life of her soul, is cruelly slain.
O love to be wondered at;
O evil to be shuddered at;
you hung on the wood, pierced by iron nails, stretched out like a thief for the mockery of wicked men; and yet, 'Woman,' you say, 'why are you weeping?' She had not been able to prevent them from killing you, but at least she longed to keep your body for a while with ointments lest it decay.
No longer able to speak with you living, at least she could mourn for you dead. So, near to death and hating her own life, she repeats in broken tones the words of life which she had heard from the living.
And now, besides all this, even the body which she was glad, in a way, to have kept, she believes to have gone.
And can you ask her, 'Woman, why are you weeping?'
Had she not reason to weep?
For she had seen with her own eyes--if she could bear to look--what cruel men cruelly did to you; and now all that was left of you from their hands she thinks she has lost.
All hope of you has fled, for now she has not even your lifeless body to remind her of you.
And someone asks, 'Who are you looking for? Why are you weeping?'
You, her sole joy, should be the last thus to increase her sorrow. But you know it all well, and thus you wish it to be, for only in such broken words and sighs can she convey a cause of grief as great as hers. The love you have inspired you do not ignore,
And indeed you know her well, the gardener, who planted her soul in his garden. What you plant, I think you also water.
Do you water, I wonder, or do you test her?
In fact, you are both watering and putting to the test.
But now, good Lord, gentle Master, look upon your faithful servant and disciple, so lately redeemed by your blood, and see how she burns with anxiety, desiring you, searching all round, questioning, and what she longs for is nowhere found.
Nothing she sees can satisfy her, since you whom alone she would behold, she sees not.
What then?
How long will my Lord leave his beloved to suffer thus?
Have you put off compassion now you have put on incorruption? Did you let go of goodness when you laid hold of immortality?
Let it not be so, Lord.
You will not despise us mortals now you have made yourself immortal, for you made yourself a mortal in order to give us immortality.
And so it is; for love's sake he cannot bear her grief for long or go on hiding himself. For the sweetness of love he shows himself who would not for the bitterness of tears.
The Lord calls his servant by the name she has often heard and the servant knows the voice of her own Lord.
I think, or rather I am sure, that she responded to the gentle tone with which he was accustomed to call, 'Mary'. What joy filled that voice, so gentle and full of love.
He could not have put it more simply and clearly:

'I know who you are and what you want; behold me; do not weep, behold me; I am he whom you seek.'

At once the tears are changed; I do not believe that they stopped at once, but where once they were wrung from a heart broken and self-tormenting they flow now from a heart exulting. How different is, 'Master!' from 'If you have taken him away, tell me'; and, 'They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him,' has a very different sound from,
'I have seen the Lord, and he has spoken to me.'
But how should I, in misery and without love, dare to describe the love of God and the blessed friend of God? Such a flavour of goodness will make my heart sick if it has in itself nothing of that same virtue.
But in truth, you who are very truth, you know me well and can testify that I write this for the love of your love, my Lord, my most dear Jesus.
I want your love to burn in me as you command so that I may desire to love you alone and sacrifice to you a troubled spirit, 'a broken and a contrite heart'.
Give me, 0 Lord, in this exile, the bread of tears and sorrow for which I hunger more than for any choice delights.
Hear me, for your love, and for the dear merits of your beloved Mary, and your blessed Mother, the greater Mary.
Redeemer, my good Jesus, do not despise the prayers of one who has sinned against you but strengthen the efforts of a weakling that loves you.
Shake my heart out of its indolence, Lord, and in the ardour of your love bring me to the everlasting sight of your glory where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, God, for ever. Amen.
ATTRIBUTED TO ST. ANSELM

LITANY to St. Mary Magdalene
Prayer:
Lord, have mercy on us. 
Christ, have mercy on us. 
Lord, have mercy on us. 
Christ, hear us. 
Christ, graciously hear us.
 Holy Mary, Mother of God, 
Saint Mary Magdalene, Pray for us. 
Sister of Martha and Lazarus, Pray for us. 
Who didst enter the Pharisee's house to anoint the feet of Jesus, Pray for us. 
Who didst wash His feet with thy tears, Pray for us. 
Who didst dry them with thy hair, Pray for us. 
Who didst cover them with kisses, Pray for us. 
Who wast vindicated by Jesus before the proud Pharisee, Pray for us. 
Who from Jesus received the pardon of thy sins, Pray for us. 
Who before darkness wast restored to light, Pray for us. 
Mirror of penance, R 
Disciple of Our Lord,Pray for us. Wounded with the love of Christ, Pray for us. Most dear to the Heart of Jesus, Pray for us. Constant woman, Pray for us. Last at the Cross of Jesus, first at His tomb, Pray for us. Thou who wast the first to see Jesus risen, Pray for us. Whose forehead was sanctified by the touch of thy risen Master, Pray for us. Apostle of apostles, Pray for us. Who didst choose the "better part,"Pray for us. Who lived for many years in solitude being miraculously fed, Pray for us. Who wast visited by angels seven times a day, Pray for us. Sweet advocate of sinners, Pray for us. Spouse of the King of Glory, Pray for us.
V. Saint Mary Magdalene, earnestly intercede for us with thy Divine Master R. That we may share thy happiness in heaven.
Let us pray. May the glorious merits of blessed Mary Magdalene, we beseech Thee, O Lord, make our offerings acceptable to Thee: for Thine only-begotten Son vouchsafed graciously to accept the humble service she rendered. Who livest and reignest with Thee and the Holy Ghost, God for ever and ever. R. Amen.
May the prayers of blessed Mary Magdalene help us, O Lord : for it was in answer to them that Thou didst call her brother Lazarus, four days after death, back from the grave to life. Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, Unity in Trinity, world without end. R. Amen.
Prayer Source: Kyrie Eleison — Two Hundred Litanies by Benjamin Francis Musser O.F.M., The Magnificat Press, 1944

Today's Mass and Readings : Tues. July 22, 2014

Memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene
Lectionary: 396/603


Reading 1MI 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm PS 85:2-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (8a) Lord, show us your mercy and love.
You have favored, O LORD, your land;
you have brought back the captives of Jacob.
You have forgiven the guilt of your people;
you have covered all their sins.
You have withdrawn all your wrath;
you have revoked your burning anger.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Restore us, O God our savior,
and abandon your displeasure against us.
Will you be ever angry with us,
prolonging your anger to all generations?
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Will you not instead give us life;
and shall not your people rejoice in you?
Show us, O LORD, your kindness,
and grant us your salvation.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.

Gospel JN 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
“Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.