Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Saint January 28 : St. Thomas Aquinas : #Patron of Catholic #Universities, #Colleges, and schools

Feast Day:
January 28
1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy
7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy
July 18, 1323, Avignon, France
Major Shrine:
Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France
Patron of:
Catholic universities, colleges, and schools
Today, January 28, we celebrate the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Doctor of the Church, patron saint of universities and students, and the greatest teacher of the medieval Catholic Church. Alternately referred to as the Angelic Doctor and the Universal Doctor, the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas greatly influenced not only Church doctrine, but schools of theological and philosophical thought. Candidates for the priesthood are instructed to model themselves after this holy man, and Pope Benedict XV declared that his teachings were the teachings of the Church, herself. By universal consent, this holy man is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and divine revelation.
Thomas was born in Aquino, Italy (the name “Aquinas” is not his surname, but translates as “of Aquino”), the son of the Count of Aquino. At the ago of five years old, his father placed him in the care of the monks at the Benedictine Monastery at Monte Casino. He was immediately observed to excel at the scholastic life, and his teachers were astounded not only by his eagerness to learn and aptitude for difficult concepts, but also by the virtuous manner in which he lived his life. As he grew older, he was sent to Naples to continue his studies, where he first encountered the philosophy of Aristotle.
His father, who had hoped he would enter the Benedictine Order upon reaching the age of consent was dismayed to learn that Thomas had other plans. Renouncing all his worldly ties and possessions, Thomas entered the Dominican Order in Naples. His family, for their part, did all in their power to convince him otherwise, first kidnapping him, and later sending him all manners of temptation (including “impure women”) to lead him astray. However, Thomas remained constant in his pursuits of the Lord, and maintained perfect chastity throughout his life (which is why he is referred to as the “Angelic Doctor.”)
Upon ordination, Thomas left Naples and traveled to Paris and Cologne, Germany, where he studied under the tutelage of Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the "dumb ox" because of his silent ways and huge size, but his brilliance as a student was evident in his writings. While he pursued his philosophical and theological writings, Thomas held two tenures as professor at the University of Paris. During that time, he resided at the court of Pope Urban IV, under whose direction he combated all forms of heresy and adversaries of the Church. Thomas similarly directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, traveling between them as frequently as needed. He received his doctorate at the age of 31.
While a gifted preacher, the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas (which fill twenty volumes) are considered his greatest contribution to the Catholic Church. His writings reconcile the unity of faith and reason, of those things revealed by God, and those things discovered through natural human knowledge. The breadth and depth of his theory encompass the entirety of the natural order, as a cherished and divine gift granted to us by God. Pope John Paul II affirmed the importance of this tradition, saying: "The whole living tradition of the Church teaches us this: faith seeks understanding, and understanding seeks faith. Both the need to understand and the need to believe are deeply rooted in man's heart. It is for this reason that the Church herself was the point of departure for the creation of universities.” Similarly, Pope Benedict XVI asserted, “With his charism as a philosopher and theologian, he [Thomas] offered an effective model of harmony between reason and faith, dimensions of the human spirit that are completely fulfilled in the encounter and dialogue with one another. Both the light of reason and the light of faith come from God, he [Thomas] argued; hence there can be no contradiction between them.” Prior to his death, Saint Thomas Aquinas undertook to deal with the entirety of Catholic theology. His most acclaimed work, the Summa Theologiae, although incomplete summarizes the theological underpinnings of our faith in a scientific and rational manner. Saint Thomas ceased writing this work following a supernatural encounter with the Lord while celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. During Mass, he is said to have heard the voice of Jesus asking him what he most desired. Thomas is said to have replied, “Only you, Lord,” following which he experienced something which he never revealed. Following that experience, he stopped writing, explaining, “I cannot go on… All I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” Saint Thomas fell ill (likely from overwork) at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova, and died peacefully while providing commentary on the Song of Songs. His remains were placed in the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse in 1369.
Prayer for Guidance
O creator past all telling, you have appointed from the treasures of your wisdom the hierarchies of angels, disposing them in wondrous order above the bright heavens, and have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe. You we call the true fount of wisdomand the noble origin of all things. Be pleased to shed on the darkness of mind in which I was born, The twofold beam of your light and warmth to dispel my ignorance and sin. You make eloquent the tongues of children. Then instruct my speech and touch my lips with graciousness. Make me keen to understand, quick to learn, able to remember; make me delicate to interpret and ready to speak. Guide my going in and going forward, lead home my going forth. You are true God and true man, and live for ever and ever. Amen. Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog

#PopeFrancis "God’s mercy acts always to save." #Audience FULL TEXT - Video

General Audience in St. Peter’s Square:
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In Sacred Scripture, God’s mercy is present throughout the history of the people of Israel.
The Lord accompanies, with His mercy, the path of the Patriarchs; He gives them children despite the condition of sterility, He leads them by ways of grace and reconciliation, as the story of Joseph and his brothers shows (Cf. Genesis 37-50). And I think of how many brothers who have estranged themselves from their family and do not speak to one another. But this Year of Mercy is a good occasion to meet again, to embrace and forgive one another and to forget the bad things. However, as we know, life in Egypt became hard for the people. And it was in fact, when the Israelites were about to succumb, that the Lord intervened and brought about salvation.
In the Book of Exodus, one reads: “A long time passed, during which the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their bondage and cried out, and from their bondage their cry for help went up to God.
God heard their moaning and God was mindful of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God saw the Israelites, and God knew….” (2:23-25). Mercy cannot remain indifferent in face of the suffering of the oppressed, of the cry of one subjected to violence, reduced to slavery, condemned to death. It is a painful reality that afflicts every age, including our own, and which often makes us feel impotent, tempted to harden our heart and think of something else. God, instead, “is not indifferent” (Message for the Day of Peace 2016, 1), He never looks away from human pain. The God of mercy responds and takes care of the poor, of those who cry their desperation. God listens and intervenes to save, inspiring men capable of hearing the groan of suffering and of working in favor of the oppressed.
This is how the story of Moses begins, as mediator of liberation for the people. He confronts the Pharaoh to persuade him to let Israel leave; and then he guides the people, through the Red Sea and the desert, to freedom. Moses, whom Divine Mercy saved from death in the waters of the Nile when he was newly born, becomes the mediator of that same mercy, enabling the people to be born to freedom, saved from the waters of the Red Sea. And in this Year of Mercy, we can also do the work of being mediators of mercy with works of mercy to come close, to give relief, to create unity. So many good things can be done.
God’s mercy acts always to save. It is the opposite of the work of those who always act to kill: for instance, those who make wars. Through his servant Moses, the Lord guided Israel in the desert as if it were a child; He educated it to faith and made covenant with it, creating a very strong bond of love, as that of a father with a son and of a husband with a wife.
Divine mercy reaches that much. God proposes a particular, exclusive and privileged relation of love. When He gives Moses instructions regarding the covenant, He says: “Now, if you obey me completely and keep my covenant,* you will be my treasured possession among all peoples, though all the earth is mine. You will be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.”(Exodus 19:5-6).
God certainly already possesses the whole earth, as He created it, but the people become for Him a different, special possession: His personal “reserve of gold and silver,” as that which King David affirmed he gave for the construction of the Temple.
Well, we become so for God by receiving His covenant and letting ourselves be saved by Him. The Lord’s mercy renders man precious, as a personal richness that belongs to Him, which He guards and with which He is pleased.
These are the wonders of Divine Mercy, which reaches fulfilment in the Lord Jesus, in that “new and eternal covenant” consummated in His Blood, which with forgiveness destroys our sin and renders us definitively children of God (Cf. 1 John 3:1), precious jewels in the hands of the good and merciful Father. And if we are children of God and have the possibility of having this inheritance – that of goodness and mercy – in our dealings with others, let us ask the Lord that in this Year of Mercy we also do things of mercy; open our heart to reach everyone with works of mercy. the merciful inheritance that God the Father has given us.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
Greeting in Italian
A cordial welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet, in particular, the Daughters of Saint Paul, the Marian Priestly League, the formators of the Don Bosco International Institute and the Family of Nazareth Work, on the 60th <anniversary> of its foundation. I greet the circus artists and workers and thank them for their appreciated show; you are champions of beauty, you make beauty and beauty does good to the soul. Beauty brings us close to God, but behind this show of beauty, how many hours of training there are! Go forward, continue, thank you.
I greet the members of ANTAS and the students and relatives of the Santa Maria School of Formia, observing 50 years of activity of the Pallotine Sisters. With the crossing of the Holy Door, the Extraordinary Jubilee invites us to come out of egoism – we all have something of egoism – we must come out of it. We must come out of egoism and promote in each one the exercise of works of mercy towards brothers.
A special thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Tomorrow is the Liturgical Memoria of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Patron of Catholic schools. May his example drive you, young people, to see in the merciful Jesus the only Teacher of life; may his intercession obtain for you, dear sick, the serenity and peace present in the mystery of the cross; and may his doctrine be an encouragement for you, dear newlyweds, to entrust yourselves to the wisdom of the heart to accomplish your mission.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
Invitation of the Holy Father
On the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum has organized a Day of Spiritual Retreat for individuals and groups working in the service of charity. The day, to be held in individual dioceses during this coming Lent, will be an occasion to reflect on the call and to be merciful as the Father. I invite you to accept this proposal, using the indications and aids prepared by Cor Unum.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

Free Catholic Movie : "The Song of Bernadette" about #OurLady of #Lourdes Stars Jennifer Jones

The Song of Bernadette (1943) 156 min - Biography | Drama - April 1945 (USA)  The Apparitions occurred in 1858 France. Based on the novel by Franz Werfel, "The Song of Bernadette" is a sympathetic account of the life of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a sickly (asthmatic) French peasant girl who claimed to have seen 18 miraculous visions of a "beautiful lady" near her home village of Lourdes in 1858. Bernadette had become so happily excited by her initial vision, which she claimed included her having been instructed by this "beautiful lady" to return each day for 15 days*.
Director: Henry King Writers: George Seaton (screenplay), Franz Werfel (novel) Stars: Jennifer Jones, Charles Bickford, William Eythe |

Cool #PopeFrancis meets #Circus Performers and says “You are champions of beauty..." Video - Text

Pope Francis with the artists of a circus show during the general audience in St.Peter's Place, Vatican City, 27 January 2016 - ANSA
Pope Francis with the artists of a circus show during the general audience in St.Peter's Place, Vatican City, 27 January 2016 - ANSA
27/01/2016 14:

(Vatican Radio) St. Peter’s Square was transformed on Wednesday into an open-air circus venue, with circus performers from various outfits leaping, flipping and twisting in acrobatic showmanship during the weekly General Audience.
Following their performance, Pope Francis said, “I greet the circus performers and I thank them for their very welcome exhibition.” He went on to say, “You are champions of beauty: you make beauty, and beauty is good for the soul.”
Enlarging on his greetings in unscripted enthusiasm, Pope Francis added, “Beauty brings us closer to God, but behind this spectacle of beauty, how many hours of training there are! Go forward, keep it up!”

Wow Boy who Saw #Heaven makes Amazing #ViralVideo of Music about Heaven - SHARE

Colton Burpo's story went Global when explained that he had gone to Heaven. Now he's sharing his heavenly experiences in this new worship song 'Heaven' with Read You and Me.
SHARE this Amazing Music Video - which will uplift your Soul to Heaven! 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. January 27, 2016

Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 319

Reading 12 SM 7:4-17

That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house
from the day on which I led the children of Israel
out of Egypt to the present,
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel,
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask:
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’

“Now then, speak thus to my servant David,
‘The LORD of hosts has this to say:
It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
And if he does wrong,
I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements;
but I will not withdraw my favor from him
as I withdrew it from your predecessor Saul,
whom I removed from my presence.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.

Responsorial PsalmPS 89:4-5, 27-28, 29-30

R. (29a) For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will make your dynasty stand forever
and establish your throne through all ages.”
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant. 
“He shall cry to me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock that brings me victory!’
I myself make him firstborn,
Most High over the kings of the earth.”
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.
“Forever I will maintain my love for him;
my covenant with him stands firm.
I will establish his dynasty forever,
his throne as the days of the heavens.”
R. For ever I will maintain my love for my servant.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

#Breaking Pope Francis meets Iran President Hassan discusses Peace and Religious Freedom

Pope Francis shaking hands with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran at the start of their private audience in the Vatican. - ANSA
Pope Francis shaking hands with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran at the start of their private audience in the Vatican. - ANSA
26/01/2016 12:

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Tuesday received in audience at the Vatican, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the two leaders held talks on problems in the Middle East, the fight against terrorism, interreligious dialogue and arms trafficking and other issues.
The meeting between the Pope and President Rouhani is the first of its kind since 1999 when Pope St. John Paul II received in audience at the Vatican the then Iranian president Mohammad Khatami.
A statement released afterwards by the Holy See’s Press Office said Pope Francis and President Rouhani discussed bilateral relations, problems afflicting the Middle East area including the recently-signed Iran nuclear agreement and other international issues. Following his 40-minute private audience with the Pope, President Rouhani met with the (Vatican) Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin who was accompanied by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. 
The Vatican statement said “during the cordial discussions, common spiritual values emerged and reference was made to the good state of relations between the Holy See and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the life of the Church in the country and the action of the Holy See to favour the promotion of the dignity of the human person and religious freedom.”
"Attention then turned to the conclusion and application of the Nuclear Accord and the important role that Iran is called upon to fulfil, along with other countries in the region, to promote suitable political solutions to the problems afflicting the Middle East, to counter the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking. In this respect, the Parties highlighted the importance of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities in promoting reconciliation, tolerance and peace.”
Following their talks, President Rouhani gave the Pope the gift of a hand-made rug from the Iranian holy city of Qhom and a book with miniatures. The Pope’s gift to the Iranian leader was a medal depicting St. Martin cutting his cloak in two to give one half to a poor man to keep him warm and he called the saint's act "a sign of unsolicited brotherhood." He also gave President Rouhani a copy of his latest encyclical Laudato Si.