Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Feast September 15 : Our Lady of Sorrows - #OurLady

The object of these feasts is the spiritual martyrdom of the Mother of God and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son.
(1) The seven founders of the Servite Order, in 1239, five years after they established themselves on Monte Senario, took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order. The corresponding feast, however, did not originate with them; its celebration was enacted by a provincial synod of Cologne (1413) to expiate the crimes of the iconoclast Hussites; it was to be kept on the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter under the title: "Commemoratio augustix et doloris B. Marix V.". Its object was exclusively the sorrow of Mary during the Crucifixion and Death of Christ. Before the sixteenth century this feast was limited to the dioceses of North Germany, Scandinavia, and Scotland. Being termed "Compassio" or "Transfixio", "Commendatio, Lamentatio B.M.V.", it was kept at a great variety of dates, mostly during Eastertide or shortly after Pentacost, or on some fixed day of a month (18 July, Merseburg; 19 July, Halberstadt, Lxbeck, Meissen; 20 July, Naumberg; cf. Grotefend, "Zeitrechnung", II, 2, 166). Dreves and Blume (Analecta hymnica) have published a large number of rhythmical offices, sequences and hymns for the feast of the Compassion, which show that from the end of the fifteenth century in several dioceses the scope of this feast was widened to commemorate either five dolours, from the imprisonment to the burial of Christ, or seven dolours, extending over the entire life of Mary (cf. XXIV, 122-53; VIII, 51 sq.; X, 79 sq., etc.). Towards the end of the end of the sixteenth century the feast spread over part of the south of Europe; in 1506 it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation under the title "Spasmi B.M.V.", Monday after Passion Sunday; in 1600 to the Servite nuns of Valencia, "B.M.V. sub pede Crucis", Friday before Palm Sunday. After 1600 it became popular in France and was termed "Dominx N. de Pietate", Friday before Palm Sunday. To this latter date the feast was assigned for the whole German Empire (1674). By a Decree of 22 April 1727, Benedict XIII extended it to the entire Latin Church, under the title "Septem dolorum B.M.V.", although the Office and Mass retain the original character of the feast, the Compassion of Mary at the foot of the Cross. At both Mass and Office the "Stabat Mater" of Giacopone da Todi (1306) is sung.
(2) The second feast was granted to the Servites, 9 June and 15 September, 1668, double with an octave for the third Sunday in September. Its object of the seven dolours of Mary (according to the responsories of Matins: the sorrow
at the prophecy of Simeon;
at the flight into Egypt;
having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem;
meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;
standing at the foot of the Cross;
Jesus being taken from the Cross;
at the burial of Christ.
This feast was extended to Spain (1735); to Tuscany (double of the second class with an octave, 1807). After his return from his exile in France Pius VII extended the feast to the Latin Church (18 September, 1814), major double); it was raised to the rank of a double of the second class, 13 May, 1908. The Servites celebrate it as a double of the first class with an octave and a vigil. Also in the Passionate Order, at Florence and Granada (N.S. de las Angustias), its rank is double of the first class with an octave. The hymns which are now used in the Office of this feast were probably composed by the Servite Callisto Palumbella (eighteenth century). On the devotion, cf. Kellner, "Heortology", p. 271. The old title of the "Compassio" is preserved by the Diocese of Hildesheim in a simple feast, Saturday after the octave of Corpus Christi. A feast, "B.M.V. de pietate", with a beautiful medieval office, is kept in honour of the sorrowful mother at Goa in India and Braga in Portugal, on the third Sunday of October; in the ecclesiastical province of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, last Sunday of May, etc. (cf. the corresponding calendars). A special form of devotion is practised in Spanish-speaking countries under the term of "N.S. de la Soledad", to commemorate the solitude of Mary on Holy Saturday. Its origin goes back to Queen Juana, lamenting the early death of her husband Philip I, King of Spain (1506).
To the oriental churches these feasts are unknown; the Catholic Ruthenians keep a feast of the sorrowful Mother on Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi. Text Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint September 15 : St. Catherine of Genoa : #Mystic

(CATERINA FIESCHI ADORNO.) Born at Genoa in 1447, died at the same place 15 September, 1510. The life of St. Catherine of Genoa may be more properly described as a state than as a life in the ordinary sense. When about twenty-six years old she became the subject of one of the most extraordinary operations of God in the human soul of which we have record, the result being a marvellous inward condition that lasted till her death. In this state, she received wonderful revelations, of which she spoke at times to those around her, but which are mainly embodied in her two celebrated works: the "Dialogues of the Soul and Body", and the "Treatise on Purgatory". Her modern biographies, chiefly translations or adaptations of an old Italian one which is itself founded on "Memoirs" drawn up by the saint's own confessor and a friend, mingle what facts they give of her outward life with accounts of her supernatural state and "doctrine", regardless of sequence, and in an almost casual fashion that makes them entirely subservient to her psychological history. These facts are as follows: St. Catherine's parents were Jacopo Fieschi and Francesca di Negro, both of illustrious Italian birth. Two popes — Innocent IV and Adrian V — had been of the Fieschi family, and Jacopo himself became Viceroy of Naples. Catherine is described as an extraordinarily holy child, highly gifted in the way of prayer, and with a wonderful love of Christ's Passion and of penitential practices; but, also, as having been a most quiet, simple, and exceedingly obedient girl. When about thirteen, she wished to enter the convent, but the nuns to whom her confessor applied having refused her on account of her youth, she appears to have put the idea aside without any further attempt. At sixteen, she was married by her parents' wish to a young Genoese nobleman, Giuliano Adorno. The marriage turned out wretchedly; Giuliano proved faithless, violent-tempered, and a spendthrift. And made the life of his wife a misery. Details are scanty, but it seems at least clear that Catherine spent the first five years of her marriage in silent, melancholy submission to her husband; and that she then, for another five, turned a little to the world for consolation in her troubles. The distractions she took were most innocent; nevertheless, destined as she was for an extraordinary life, they had the effect in her case of producing lukewarmness, the end of which was such intense weariness and depression that she prayed earnestly for a return of her old fervour. Then, just ten years after her marriage, came the event of her life, in answer to her prayer. She went one day, full of melancholy, to a convent in Genoa where she had a sister, a nun. The latter advised her to go to confession to the nuns' confessor, and Catherine agreed. No sooner, however, had she knelt down in the confessional than a ray of Divine light pierced her soul, and in one moment manifested her own sinfulness and the Love of God with equal clearness. The revelation was so overwhelming that she lost consciousness and fell into a kind of ecstacy, for a space during which the confessor happened to be called away. When he returned, Catherine could only murmur that she would put off her confession, and go home quickly.
From the moment of that sudden vision of herself and God, the saint's interior state seems never to have changed, save by varying in intensity and being accompanied by more or less severe penance, according to what she saw required of her by the Holy Spirit Who guided her incessantly. No one could describe it except herself; but she does so, minutely, in her writings, from which may here be made one short extract: — "[The souls in Purgatory] see all things, not in themselves, nor by themselves, but as they are in God, on whom they are more intent than on their own sufferings. . . . For the least vision they have of God overbalances all woes and all joys that can be conceived. Yet their joy in God does by no means abate their pain. . . . This process of purification to which I see the souls in Purgatory subjected, I feel within myself." (Treatise on Purgatory, xvi, xvii.) For about twenty-five years, Catherine, though frequently making confessions, was unable to open her mind for direction to anyone; but towards the end of her life a Father Marabotti was appointed to be her spiritual guide. To him she explained her states, past and present, in full, and he compiled the "Memoirs" above referred to from his intimate personal knowledge of her. Of the saint's outward life, after this great change, her biographies practically tell us but two facts: that she at last converted her husband who died penitent in 1497; and that both before and after his death — though more entirely after it — she gave herself to the care of the sick in the great Hospital of Genoa, where she eventually became manager and treasurer. She died worn out with labours of body and soul, and consumed, even physically, by the fires of Divine love within her. She was beatified in 1675 by Clement X, but not canonized till 1737, by Clement XII. Meantime, her writings had been examined by the Holy Office and pronounced to contain doctrine that would be enough, in itself, to prove her sanctity.
Text Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

#PopeFrancis "...that this love is more powerful than every sort of evil" FULL TEXT + Video

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
During this Jubilee, we have reflected many times on the fact that Jesus expresses Himself with unique tenderness, a sign of the presence and goodness of God. Today, we reflect on a moving passage of the Gospel (cf. Matthew 11:28-30), in which Jesus says: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. […] Learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (vv. 28-29). The Lord’s invitation is surprising: He calls to follow him simple people, who are burdened by a difficult life; He calls persons to follow him who have so many needs and He promises them that in Him they will find rest and relief. The invitation is addressed in an imperative way: “come to me,” “take up my yoke” and learn from me.” If only all leaders of the world could say this! Let us try to understand the meaning of these expressions.
The first imperative is “Come to me.” Turning to those who are exhausted and oppressed, Jesus presents himself as the Servant of the Lord described in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. The passage of Isaiah states thus: “The Lord has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary” (50:4). To these wearied of life, the Gospel puts side by side the poor (cf. Matthew 11:5) and the little ones (cf. Matthew 18:6). They are those who cannot count on their own means, or on important friendships. They can only trust in God. Conscious of their humble and miserable condition, they know they depend on the Lord’s mercy, expecting from Him the only help possible. In Jesus’ invitation they finally find the answer to their waiting: by becoming His disciples they receive the promise of finding rest for their whole life. A promise that at the end of the Gospel is extended to all people: “Go therefore – Jesus says to the Apostles – and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). By receiving the invitation to celebrate this Year of Grace of the Jubilee, pilgrims throughout the world cross the Door of Mercy open in Cathedrals, in Shrines, in so many churches of the world, in hospitals, in prisons. Why do they cross this Door of Mercy? To find Jesus; to find Jesus’ friendship; to find the rest that only Jesus gives. This path expresses the conversion of every disciple who decides to follow Jesus. And conversion consists always in discovering the Lord’s mercy. It is infinite and inexhaustible: great is the Lord’s mercy! Therefore, by crossing the Holy Door we profess “that love is present in the world and that this love is more powerful than every sort of evil, in which man, humanity, the world are involved” (John Paul II, Encyclical Dives in Misericordia, 7).
The second imperative says: “Take my yoke.” In the context of the Covenant, the biblical tradition uses the image of the yoke to indicate the close bond that links the people to God and, consequently, submission to His will expressed in the Law. In controversy with the scribes and Doctors of the Law, Jesus puts His yoke on the disciples, in which the Law finds its fulfilment. He wishes to teach them that they will discover God’s will through His person: through Jesus, not through laws and cold prescriptions which Jesus Himself condemns. Suffice it to read Matthew’s chapter 23. He is at the center of their relation with God; He is in the heart of the relations between the disciples and places Himself as fulcrum of each one’s life. Thus, by receiving “Jesus’ yoke” every disciple enters into communion with Him and is rendered a participant in the mystery of His cross and of His destiny of salvation.

Ensuing is the third imperative: “Learn from me.” Jesus projects to His disciples a path of knowledge and of imitation. Jesus is not a teacher who imposes on others with severity burdens that He does not carry: this was the accusation He made to the Doctors of the Law. He addresses the humble and little ones, the poor and the needy because He Himself made Himself little and humble. He understands the poor and the suffering because He Himself is poor and tried by sorrows. Jesus did not follow an easy way to save humanity; on the contrary, his path was painful and difficult. As the Letter to the Philippians reminds: “He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (2:8). The yoke that the poor and the oppressed bear is the same yoke that He bore before them: therefore, it is a light yoke. He bore on His back the pains and sins of the whole of humanity. Therefore, for the disciple to receive Jesus’ yoke means to receive His revelation and to accept it: in Him God’s mercy took on men’s poverties, thus giving all the possibility of salvation. But why is Jesus capable of saying these things? Because He made Himself everything to all, close to all, to the poorest! He was a Pastor among the people, among the poor: He worked the whole day with them; Jesus was not a prince. It is bad for the Church when the Pastors become princes, far from the people, far from the poorest: this is not Jesus’ spirit. Jesus reproaches these Pastors, and of them Jesus said to the people: “do what they say, but not what they do.”
Dear brothers and sisters, for us too there are moments of tiredness and disappointment. Then let us remember these words of the Lord, which give us so much consolation and make us understand if we are putting our strength at the service of the good. In fact, sometimes our exhaustion is caused by having put our trust in things that are not essential, because we have distanced ourselves from what is really valuable in life. The Lord teaches us not to be afraid to follow Him, because the hope we place in Him will not be disappointed. Therefore, we are called to learn from Him what it means to live of mercy, to be instruments of mercy. To live of mercy, to be instruments of mercy: to live of mercy and to feel oneself needy of Jesus’ mercy, and when we feel ourselves in need of forgiveness, of consolation, let us learn to be merciful with others. By keeping our gaze fixed on the Son of God we understand what a long way we still have to go but, at the same time, He infuses in us the joy of knowing that we are walking with Him and we are never alone – courage, therefore, courage! Let us not have taken from us the joy of being disciples of the Lord. “But Father, I am a sinner, what can I do?” “Let the Lord look at you, open your heart, feel His look upon you, His mercy, and your heart will be filled with joy, with the joy of forgiveness, if you come close and ask for forgiveness.” Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the hope of living this life together with Him and with the strength of His consolation. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
Greeting in Italian 
A warm welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims!
I am happy to receive the faithful of the Diocese of Lugano, accompanied by the Bishop, Monsignor Valerio Lazzeri, and the Urbanite Poor Clares from several countries: may the Jubilee pilgrimage you are living be an occasion to grow in the love of God so that your communities are places in which one experiences mercy towards one’s neighbor.
I greet the parish groups, especially the faithful of Acerra and Cento, the 8th of October 2001 Foundation and the Bio-media Group of Milan.
Finally, a thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today we are celebrating the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Dear young people, in taking up again your usual activities after the holidays, reinforce also your dialogue with God, spreading His light and His peace; dear sick, find comfort in the cross of the Lord Jesus, who continues His work of redemption in the life of every man; and you, dear newlyweds, make an effort to maintain a constant relation with Christ crucified, so that your love is ever more true, fruitful and lasting.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

#PopeFrancis “to kill in the name of God is satanic” #Homily at Mass for Fr. Jacques Hamel

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday morning celebrated Mass for the French priest of Rouen, Fr. Jacques Hamel, whom he described, is part of the chain of Christian martyrs that runs throughout the history of the Church.
Father Hamel was murdered while celebrating Mass in his Parish Church by two men swearing allegiance to the so-called Islamic State in July.
To the congregation gathered at Santa Marta and which included Archbishop Dominque Lebrun of Rouen, along with 80 other pilgrims from the diocese, Pope Francis said that “to kill in the name of God is satanic”.
Reflecting on the many martyrs that are part of the history of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said: “this is a story that repeats itself in the Church, and today, he said, there are more Christian martyrs than there were at beginning of Christianity”
Today – he continued - there are Christians "who are murdered, tortured, imprisoned, have their throats slit because they do not deny Jesus Christ".
This history, the Pope said – continues with our Father Jacques: he is part of this chain of martyrs.
“Father Jacques Hamel was slain as he celebrated the sacrifice of Christ’s crucifixion. A good man, a meek man, a man who always tried to build peace was murdered (…). This is the satanic thread of persecution” he said.
And, Pope Francis continued: "What a pleasure it would be if all religious confessions would say: 'to kill in the name of God is satanic'".
Pope Francis concluded his homily holding up Fr Hamel and his example of courage and said we must pray to him to grant us meekness, brotherhood, peace and the courage to tell the truth: “to kill in the name of God is satanic”.    
On the altar, a simple photograph of Fr Hamel who was slain by two Islamist fanatics while celebrating Mass in the Church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray on 26 July 2016. 
The liturgy was broadcast live by the Vatican Television Station.

Litany of the Holy Cross - #Prayer #Litany to SHARE


Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Cross, whereon the Lamb of God was offered for the sins of the world,
Deliver and save us.

Hope of Christians,
Save us, O Holy Cross*

Pledge of the resurrection from the dead,*
Shelter of persecuted innocence,*
Guide of the blind,*
Way of those who have gone astray,*
 Staff of the lame,*
Consolation of the poor,*
Restraint of the powerful,*
Destruction of the proud,*
Refuge of sinners,*
Trophy of victory over hell,*
Terror of demons,*
Mistress of youth,*
Succor of the distressed,*
Hope of the hopeless,*
Star of the mariner,*
Harbor of the wrecked,*
Rampart of the besieged,*
Father of orphans,*
Defense of widows,*
Counsel of the just,*
Judge of the wicked,*
Rest of the afflicted,*
Safeguard of childhood,*
Strength of manhood,*
Last hope of the aged,*
Light of those who sit in darkness,*
Splendor of kings,*
Civilizer of the world,*
Buckler impenetrable,*
Wisdom of the foolish,*
Liberty of slaves,*
Knowledge of the ignorant,*
Sure rule of life,*
Heralded by prophets,*
Preached by apostles,*
Glory of martyrs,*
Study of anchorites,*
Chastity of virgins,*
Joy of priests,*
Foundation of the Church,*
Salvation of the world,*
Destruction of idolatry,*
Stumbling-block of the Jews,*
Condemnation of the ungodly,*
Support of the weak,*
Medicine of the sick,*
Health of the leprous,*
Strength of the paralytic,*
Bread of the hungry,*
Fountain of those that thirst,*
Clothing of the naked,*

Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

V. We adore the, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because through Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Let us Pray:

O God, Who, for the redemption of the world, wast pleased to be born in a stable, and to die upon a cross; O Lord Jesus Christ, by Thy holy Sufferings, which we, Thy unworthy servants, devoutly call to mind, by Thy holy Cross, and by Thy Death, deliver us from the pains of hell, and vouchsafe to conduct us whither thou didst conduct the thief who was crucified with Thee. Who livest and reignest eternally in heaven.     Amen.