Thursday, November 5, 2015

Saint November 6 : St. Leonard : Patron of #Political prisoners, #Prisoners, Women in #labor, and #Horses

St. Leonard
HERMIT, CONFESSOR
Feast: November 6
Information:
Feast Day:
November 6
Died:
559
Patron of:
political prisoners, imprisoned people, prisoners of war, and captives, women in labor, as well as horses

Today, November 6, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Leonard of Noblac (died 559), patron saint of prisoners and women in labor. Saint Leonard, born of noble parents, served the Lord through serving those in power, eventually withdrawing to hermitude and working countless miracles on behalf of those in need.
Saint Leonard was born to noble and illustrious parents in Gaul (now France), in the castle of Vendome in Orleans. Born into Frankish royalty, he belonged to the court of King Clovis, and his relatives were dignitaries, military commanders, and people of both privilege and society. Leonard was baptized by future Saint Remigius, and the King, himself, stood as sponsor for him. While he was still very young, the kingdom was threatened by an invading army. The Queen, knowing of Leonard’s Christian faith, jokingly suggested to Leonard that he invoke the help of his God to repel an invading repeal the attack. Leonard prayed, the tide of battle turned, and the armies of Gaul were victorious. Saint Remigius used this miracle to convert the King and thousands of followers to Christianity. From an early age, Leonard was destined for the service of the Lord. As he matured, he was so moved by the holy examples of Saint Remigius, Archbishop of Rheims that he renounced the world in order to lead a more perfect life. Looking to Saint Remigius for advice and spiritual guidance, Leonard quickly came to embrace and exemplify the greatest of Christian virtues, and while still a young man, took the tonsure (monk’s haircut) as a symbol to the world of his commitment to serving the Lord. His first calling was in service to prisoners, who he showed great charity, and worked miracles of freedom. Previously, King Clovis, in response to a prayer of Saint Remi, had issued an edict that prisoners in Rheims might be freed whenever his royal highness would pass through that city. Leonard asked the kind monarch to grant him personally the right to liberate prisoners whom he would find worthy of it, any time at all. Based upon his exemplary life, prudence, and good judgment (despite a young age), the king naturally agreed. Leonard earned himself a reputation of goodness, piety, and sancity, and soon all in the kingdom knew of him. He became a person of pilgrimage, with the sick and poor traveling great distances for his healing and charity. To each, he devoted himself, not only taking care of their physical needs, but teaching them the virtues of patience and love, and instructing them in the ways of sound doctrine. The king, so pleased with the reputation the holy man was earning for the court, desired to attach him permanently into his service, but Leonard, ever humble, replied that he preferred to live in humility and obscurity, as Christ had chosen for Himself for so many years. With the king’s permission, Leonard retired to a monastery in Orleans.
Saint Maximin, the abbot of the monastery, saw to it that Leonard was soon ordained a deacon, which office he accepted out of obedience. However, Leonard did not aspire to any additional ecclesiastical dignities. Rather, he desired a life of austerity, sanctification, and preaching—the latter task taking him from the monastery to the pagans of the province of Limoges. On his evangelical journeys, Leonard discovered a nearby mountain, heavily forested, and rich in solitude. There he built a cell from the fallen branches of trees, and remained for some time, taking great pleasure in the provisions of the Lord. Leonard lived on herbs, wild fruits, and spring water, relying solely on the Lord to provide. He spent his days in communion with God, devoting himself to prayer, meditation, and physical mortification.
Somehow, he was still found by those who sought him, and continued to work miracles for the people through his devotion and suffering. For example, from his prayers, the spouse of a nearby king successfully delivered a healthy child following a difficult labor. In deep gratitude, the king bestowed upon Saint Leonard the part of the forest in which he lived, allowing him to do with it as he would. Leonard built a beautiful oratory to the Our Blessed Mother, and was soon joined by two disciples. Together, the three prayed without ceasing, around the clock. With a more prominent building, Saint Leonard was easier to find, and the sick increased in numbers, seeking healing. Similarly, word of Saint Leonard’s charity toward those in prison spread, and following prayers for his intercession, prisoners reported witnessing their chains break before their eyes. These prisoners would then travel in pilgrimage and thanksgiving to Saint Leonard, dragging their heavy chains, and offering them in homage. Soon, a large collection of chains and leg irons could be found at the oratory! Saint Leonard treated each of these freed prisoners with respect and dignity, offering those who wished a tract of land in the forest on which to begin anew. Many remained, transforming their lives into honest work, serving the oratory and the poor of the region, and coming to Christ through the work of Saint Leonard. Eventually, a monastery was constructed, attracting an even greater number of disciples. Even distant relatives—all royals accustomed to living with opulent wealth—heard of his reputation, and giving up all they had, came to live with him and serve the Lord. He was surprised but encouraged their good resolutions, saying: “A fare of dry bread, eaten in the joy of a pure conscience, is of more worth than a house abundantly furnished, where quarrels and divisions prevail.”
Saint Leonard fell ill while traveling, and as the end of his time on earth grew near, he miraculously had himself transported back to the Oratory of Our Lady, where he died. Numerous miracles of healing and freedom continued to occur, and he remains a popular saint of intercession throughout France and Europe. After his death, churches and monasteries were widely dedicated to him throughout Europe, including in France, England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Bohemia, Poland, and many other countries. Pilgrims continued to travel long distances to his tomb, and over 4,000 miraculous favors have been recorded at his intercession.
In regards to Saint Leonard: “Solitude has always charms to the devout servant of God, because retirement from the world is very serviceable to his conversing with heaven. Solitude and silence settle and compose the thoughts; the mind augments its strength and vigour by rest and collection within itself, and in this state of serenity is most fit to reflect upon itself and its own wants, and to contemplate the mysteries of divine grace and love, the joys of heaven and the grounds of our hope. How shall a Christian who lives in the world practice this retirement? By not loving its spirit and maxims, by being as recollected as may be in the midst of business, and bearing always in mind that salvation is the most important and only affair; by shunning superfluous amusements and idle conversation and visits; and by consecrating every day some time, and a considerable part of Sundays and great festivals, to the exercises of religious retirement, especially devout prayer, self-examination, meditation, and pious reading.” (Taken from Vol. III of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler.)
 O Almighty God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and bast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servant Leonard, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with them attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Shared from 365 Rosaries

Latest News of #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee


04-11-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 194 

Summary
- General audience: the importance of forgiveness in the family
- Fr. Federico Lombardi on the discussions on economic issues of the Holy See
- Cardinal Parolin appoints new counsellors for the Bambino Gesu Foundation
- On current investigations in Vatican City
General audience: the importance of forgiveness in the family
Vatican City, 4 November 2015 (VIS) – Giving and mutual forgiveness, without which no love can be lasting, were the theme of the Pope's catechesis during this Wednesday's general audience.
Before examining this issue in depth, the Holy Father recalled that the recently concluded assembly of the Synod of Bishops had reflected at length on the vocation and mission of the family in the life of the Church and in contemporary society. “It was an event of grace. At the end the Synod Fathers submitted to me the text containing their conclusions. I wanted this text to be published, so that everyone could participate in the work we have been devoted to together for two years. This is not the moment to examine the conclusions, on which I myself have to reflect”.
“In the meantime, however, life does not come to a halt, and in particular the live of families does not stop! You, dear families, are always journeying. And you already continually write in the pages of concrete life the beauty of the Gospel of the family. In a world that at times becomes arid of life and love, every day you speak of the great gift that is marriage and the family”.
The Pope went on to introduce the central theme of his catechesis, reciting the words of the Lord's Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. “It is not possible to live without forgiveness, or at least you cannot live well, especially in the family. Every day we wrong each other. We must take account of these errors that we make due to our fragility and our selfishness. However, what is required of us is to heal the wounds we make straight away, to immediately weave again the threads we have broken. If we wait too long, it all becomes more difficult. And there is a simple secret for healing wounds and undoing accusations: never let the day finish without apologising. … If we learn to say we are sorry immediately and to offer mutual forgiveness, the wounds are healed, the marriage is strengthened, and the family becomes an increasingly solid home, that resists the shocks of our evils, great and small”.
“If we learn to live this way within the family, we will also do so outside, wherever we find ourselves. It is easy to be sceptical about this. Many – Christians included – think it is an exaggeration. … But thanks to God this is not the case. Indeed, it is precisely by receiving God's forgiveness that, in turn, we are able to forgive others. … And it is essential that, in an at times pitiless society, there be places such as the family where we can learn to forgive each other”.
“The Synod also revived our hope in this regard: the capacity to forgive others and oneself forms part of the vocation and mission of the family. … The Church, dear families, is always beside you to help you build your home on the rock Jesus spoke of”, exclaimed Francis. “And I assure you that if you are capable of journeying ever more decisively along the path of the Beatitudes, learning and teaching to forgive each other, then in all the great family of the Church the capacity to bear witness to the renewing power of God's forgiveness will grow”.
“Otherwise, we will give beautiful sermons and perhaps even cast out the odd demon, but in the end the Lord will not recognise us as His disciples, as we have not been able to forgive or to allow ourselves to be forgiven. Christian families can truly do much for today's society, and also for the Church. … Let us pray that families may be increasingly able to live and build concrete roads to reconciliation, where no-one feels abandoned to the burden of his own trespasses”.
Finally the Pope, accompanied by the with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, repeated the phrase from the Lord's Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
Fr. Federico Lombardi on the discussions on economic issues of the Holy See
Vatican City, 4 November 2015 (VIS) – The following are reflections by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, regarding a new chapter in discussions on the economic matters of the Holy See.
“As is known, a significant part of what has been published is the result of the disclosure of reserved information and documents, and therefore of an illicit activity that must therefore be prosecuted forthwith by the competent Vatican authorities. But this is not what we now wish to speak about, given that it is already the object of much attention.
Now, instead, we are interested in considering the content of the disclosures. It can be said that it consists mostly of information that is already known, although often less widely and with less detail, but above all it must be noted that the documentation published relates mostly to an significant effort to gather data and information, initiated by the Holy Father himself in order to carry out a study and reflection on the reform and improvement of the administrative situation of Vatican City State and the Holy See.
The COSEA (Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See), from whose archive the majority of the published information originates, was instituted by the Pope for the purpose on 18 July 2013 and then dissolved after the fulfilment of its task.
This is not, therefore, information obtained against the will of the Pope or of the heads of the various institutions, but generally information obtained or provided with the collaboration of these same institutions, for a common positive purpose.
Naturally, a great deal of information of this type must be studied, understood and interpreted with care, equilibrium and attention. Often the same data can give rise to different readings.
An example is that of the situation of the Pension Funds, in relation to which a series of very different evaluations has been expressed, from those who speak with concern of a large “gap”, to those that provide instead a reassuring interpretation (as resulted from the official Communiqu├ęs published authoritatively through the Holy See Press Office).
Clearly there is then the issue of the destination and use of goods belonging to the Holy See. Although regarded in their entirety they appear extremely extensive, they are in fact aimed at supporting over time the vast range of service activities managed by the Holy See or connected institutions both in Rome and in different parts of the world.
The origins of the ownership of these goods are varied, and the suitable instruments for knowing their history and development have been available for some time (for example, it would be useful to refer to the economic agreements between Italy and the Holy See in the context of the Lateran Pacts and the work of establishing an effective administration carried out by Pius XI with the assistance of excellent and expert collaborators, a work commonly recognised as wise and far-sighted, also in terms of investments abroad and not only in Rome or Italy).
With regard to Peter’s Pence it is necessary to observe that it is employed for various purposes, also in situations, according to the judgement of the Holy Father, in which it may be given trustfully by the faithful in support of his ministry. The Pope’s works of charity for the poor are certainly one of the essential uses, but is certainly not the intention of the faithful to exclude the possibility that the Pope himself may evaluate situations of urgency and the way of responding, in the light of his service for the good of the universal Church. The Pope’s service also includes the Roman Curia, as an instrument of his service; his initiatives outside the Diocese of Rome; communication of his teaching to the faithful in different parts of the world, including the poor and distant; and the support of the 180 Pontifical diplomatic representations throughout the world, which serve the local Churches and intervene as the main agents for distributing the Pope’s charity in the various countries, as well as the Pope’s representatives in local governments. The history of Peter’s Pence illustrates this clearly.
These issues return to the fore periodically, but are always occasions for curiosity and polemics. It is necessary to study the situations and specific problems in detail and with professionalism, so as to be able to recognise much that is entirely justified, normal and well-managed (much more than is generally assumed and systematically excluded from the type of publication under consideration here) including the payment of taxes due, and to distinguish where there are problems to be corrected, ambiguities to be clarified, and genuine improprieties or illegal acts to be eliminated.
This was precisely the aim of the arduous and complex task initiated at the Pope’s behest with the constitution of the COSEA, which completed its work some time ago, and with the decisions and initiatives which are still in the process of development and implementation (or which are at least in part followed up by recommendations from the same COSEA at the end of its work). The reorganisation of the economic Dicasteries, the appointment of the Reviser general, and the regular working of the competent institutions for the supervision of economic and financial activities, etc., are an objective and incontrovertible reality.
The publication in bulk of a large quantity of different forms of information, in large part linked to a phase of work by now complete, without the necessary possibility of further clarification and objective evaluation instead produces the result – unfortunately largely intentional – of creating the contrary impression, that of a permanent reign of confusion, lack of transparency or indeed the pursuit of particular or inappropriate interests.
Naturally this does not in any way account for the courage and commitment with which the Pope and his collaborators have faced and continue to face the challenge of improving the use of temporal goods in the service of the spiritual. This, instead, is what would be more greatly appreciated and encouraged in the correct work of providing information to respond appropriately to the expectations of the public and the needs of truth. The path of good administration, correctness and transparency continues and proceeds without uncertainties. The is evidently Pope Francis’ wish and the Holy See has no lack of those who collaborate loyally and to the best of their abilities”.
Cardinal Parolin appoints new counsellors for the Bambino Gesu Foundation
Vatican City, 4 November 2015 (VIS) – The new executive board of the Foundation for the Holy See “Bambino Gesu” Paediatric Hospital met this morning for the first time following the appointment of the new executives by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. During the meeting, held in Rome, the board approved the new statutes of the “completely renovated” foundation, which aim “to guarantee transparency, solidarity and innovation”, according to the president Mariella Enoc.
There are seven new counsellors: the president Enoc, Pietro Brunetti, Ferruccio De Bortoli, Maria Bianca Farina, Caterina Sansone, Anna Maria Tarantola and Antonio Zanardi Landi.
On current investigations in Vatican City
Vatican City, 4 November 2015 (VIS) – The following is the full text of the response given by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, to questions from journalists regarding the investigations currently underway in Vatican City.
“The Office of the Promoter of Justice of Vatican City State Tribunal, following a report from the Financial Intelligence Authority, initiated investigations in February 2015 regarding operations of the purchase and sale of bonds and transactions attributable to Gianpietro Nattino.
The same Office has requested the collaboration of the Italian and Swiss judicial authorities by letters rogatory sent via diplomatic channels on 7 August 2015”.

#BreakingNews Factory Collapses in Pakistan with at least 18 Killed and Many Trapped - Please Pray

Lahore factory collapses: at least 18 dead, dozens trapped in rubble
Army and emergency services rush to scene of disaster. People trapped make contact through cell phones. So far 98 people have been pulled alive from the rubble. At the time of the collapse there were about 200 workers inside. Incident adds to tragedies of recent years.

Lahore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Pakistani authorities have launched a massive relief operation in an attempt to save dozens of people trapped since yesterday under the rubble of a collapsed factory in Lahore, in Punjab province.
So far 18 deaths have been reported, but the toll is provisional and the number is likely to increase in the coming hours. A tragedy that confirms, once again, the poor working conditions in many realities of South Asia as evidenced by several incidents in the recent past, including the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013, which caused more than a thousand victims.
Local sources said that the collapse involved a factory still under construction, possibly damaged by the earthquake last week. Rescuers are using various means, including cranes and bulldozers in an attempt to move the rubble. Army units are on site to help with recovery operations.
The reasons for the collapse are still unknown, although such incidents are certainly not rare in a country where the security standards at construction sites and in the workplace is often insufficient. Two floors of the building, part of the Sundar Industrial Estate complex, on the outskirts of Lahore, were already in operation and a third was still under construction.
According to Jam Sajjad Hussain, spokesman of the rescue teams, there were about 200 workers when the collapse occurred, although it is difficult to make precise estimates. So far at least 98 people have been pulled alive from the rubble, many of whom have had to seek medical attention in hospital.
Some workers trapped between walls and rubble used their phones to call rescuers for help and guide them in recovery operations. "We were working on the first floor - says one of the workers trapped, contacted by telephone - when the ceiling suddenly collapsed”.  He described hearing the noise of the emergency rescue teams which "gave me the hope of being able to get out alive."

In September last year, in Lahore, at least 24 people were killed in the collapse of a mosque. In February 2012 another 17, including children, died in the collapse of a factory caused by a gas leak in a residential area of ​​the city. In September of the same year 289 people were burned alive in a fire in a textile factory in Karachi, a metropolis in the south of Pakistan.
Shared from Asia News IT

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. November 5, 2015


Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 488


Reading 1ROM 14:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother or sister?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written:

As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.


So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 27:1BCDE, 4, 13-14

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

AlleluiaMT 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”

FULL TEXT Message to the Global Christian Forum about Christian #Persecution

Pope Francis prays at his general audience. - AP
Pope Francis prays at his general audience. - AP
04/11/2015 20:00

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the Global Christian Forum, which is holding a meeting in Tirana, Albania, under the theme “Discrimination, Persecution, Martyrdom: Following Christ Together.”
“I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters,” writes Pope Francis.
Listen to our report:
“In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities. The communio martyrum is the greatest sign of our journeying together,” continues the Holy Father.
The Global Christian Forum is one of the most inclusive ecumenical meetings, and includes the participation of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pentecostal World Fellowship, World Council of Churches, and the World Evangelical Alliance.
“Your  gathering will give voice to the victims of such injustice and violence, and seek to show the path that will lead the human family out of this tragic situation;” Pope Francis tells the gathering.
“ With these sentiments, I assure you of my spiritual closeness. May the martyrs of today, belonging to many Christian traditions, help us to understand that all the baptised are members of the same Body of Christ, his Church (cf. I Cor 12:12-30)”-  the Message continues  - “Let us see this profound truth as a call to persevere on our ecumenical journey towards full and visible communion, growing more and more in love and mutual understanding.”
The full text of the Message is below
His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch
President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
I extend greetings to you and all those participating in the Global Christian Forum Consultation, to be held in Tirana from 2 to 4 November 2015, as you reflect on the theme "Discrimination, persecution, martyrdom: following Christ together".
In a particular way, I wish to greet our brothers and sisters of different Christian traditions who represent communities suffering for their profession  of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters. In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities. The communio martyrum is the greatest sign of our journeying together.
At the same time, your gathering will give voice to the victims of such injustice and violence, and seek to show the path that will lead the human family out of this tragic situation. With these sentiments, I assure you of my spiritual closeness. May the martyrs of today, belonging to many Christian traditions, help us to understand that all the baptised are members of the same Body of Christ, his Church (cf. I Cor 12:12-30). Let us see this profound truth as a call to persevere on our ecumenical journey towards full and visible communion, growing more and more in love and mutual understanding.
From  the Vatican, 1 November 2015

#PopeFrancis "Not closing the doors to anyone, always with an open heart..." #Homily

Pope Francis preaches at the daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
 - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis preaches at the daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
05/11/2015 11:


(Vatican Radio) The Christian includes, he does not close the door to anyone, even if this provokes resistance. He who excludes, because he believes himself to be better, generates conflicts and divisions, and does not consider the fact that “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” That was the message of Pope Francis during Thursday morning’s Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
The attitude of Christ is to include
In the Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul exhorts us not to judge and not to despise our brothers, because, the Pope said, this leads to excluding them from “our little group,” to being selective, and this is not Christian.” Christ, in fact, “with His sacrifice on Calvary” unites and includes “all men in salvation.” In the Gospel, publicans and sinners draw near to Jesus – “that is, the excluded, all those that were outside,” – and “the Pharisees and the scribes complained”:
“The attitude of the Scribes and the Pharisees is the same, they exclude. [They say,] ‘We are the perfect, we follow the law. These people are sinners, they are publicans’; and the attitude of Jesus is to include. There are two paths in life: the path exclusion of persons from our community and the path of inclusion. The first can be little but is the root of all wars: all calamities, all wars, begin with an exclusion. One is excluded from the international community, but also from families, from friends – How many fights there are! – and the path that makes us see Jesus and teaches us Jesus is quite another, it is contrary to the other: to include.”
There is resistance in the face of inclusion
“It is not easy to include the people,” Pope Francis said, “because there is resistance, there is that selective attitude.” For this reason, Jesus tells two parables: the parable of the lost sheep, and the parable of the woman and the lost coin. Both the shepherd and the woman will do anything to find what they have lost, and when they find it, they are full of joy:
“They are full of joy because they have found what was lost and they go to their neighbours, their friends, because they are so happy: ‘I found, I included.’ This is the ‘including’ of God, against the exclusion of those who judge, who drive away people, persons: ‘No, no to this, no to that, no to that…’; and a little of circle of friends is created, which is their environment. It is a dialectic between exclusion and inclusion. God has included us all in salvation, all! This is the beginning. We with our weaknesses, with our sins, with our envy, jealousies, we all have this attitude of excluding which – as I said – can end in wars.”
If I exclude, I will one day stand before the tribunal of God
Jesus, the Pope said, acts like His Father, Who sent Him to save us; “He seeks to include us,” “to be a family.”
“We think a little bit, and at least – at least! – we do our little part, we never judge: ‘But this one has acted in this way…’ But God knows: it is his life, but I don’t exclude him from my heart, from my prayer, from my greeting, from my smile, and if the occasion arises I say a good word to him. Never excluding, we have no right! And how Paul finishes the Letter: ‘We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God . . .  then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.’ If I exclude I will one day stand before the judgment seat of God, I will have to give an account of myself to God. Let us ask the grace of being men and women who always include, always, always! in the measure of healthy prudence, but always. Not closing the doors to anyone, always with an open heart: ‘It pleases me, it displeases me,’ but the heart is open. May the Lord grant us this grace.”

Saint November 5 : St. Zechariah and St. Elizabeth : #Parents of St. John the #Baptist


Elizabeth, was the cousin of Mary, the Mother of God. Zachary was her husband. Zachary was told by an angel in a vision that they would have a son and should name him John. Even though Elizabeth was past childbearing age. He doubted this message from the angel and was made dumb. After John's birth, Zachary's speech was restored.

Elizabeth is comes from the Hebrew meaning "My God has sworn". Elisabeth was the mother of John the Baptist and the wife of Zacharias/Zachary, according to the Gospel of Luke.

The account of their lives comes from the Gospel of St. Luke Chapter 1:
There was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.6Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
8 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty,9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense.10Now at the time of the incense-offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside.11Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.12When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him.13But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.16He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.17With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’18Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.’19The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.20But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.’