Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Saint December 14 : St. John of the Cross : Patron of #Contemplatives; #Mystics; Spanish poets


St. John of the Cross
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, FOUNDER, GREAT MYSTICAL THEOLOGIAN
Feast: December 14



Founder (with St. Teresa) of the Discalced Carmelites, doctor of mystic theology,
b. at Hontoveros, Old Castile, 24 June, 1542;
d. at Ubeda, Andalusia, 14 Dec., 1591. John de Yepes, youngest child of Gonzalo de Yepes and Catherine Alvarez, poor silk weavers of Toledo, knew from his earliest years the hardships of life. The father, originally of a good family but disinherited on account of his marriage below his rank, died in the prime of his youth; the widow, assisted by her eldest son, was scarcely able to provide the bare necessities. John was sent to the poor school at Medina del Campo, whither the family had gone to live, and proved an attentive and diligent pupil; but when apprenticed to an artisan, he seemed incapable of learning anything. Thereupon the governor of the hospital of Medina took him into his service, and for seven years John divided his time between waiting on the poorest of the poor, and frequenting a school established by the Jesuits. Already at that early age he treated his body with the utmost rigour; twice he was saved from certain death by the intervention of the Blessed Virgin.
Anxious about his future life, he was told in prayer that he was to serve God in an order the ancient perfection of which he was to help bring back again. The Carmelites having founded a house at Medina, he there received the habit on 24 February, 1563, and took the name of John of St. Matthias. After profession he obtained leave from his superiors to follow to the letter the original Carmelite rule without the mitigations granted by various popes. He was sent to Salamanca for the higher studies, and was ordained priest in 1567; at his first Mass he received the assurance that he should preserve his baptismal innocence. But, shrinking from the responsibilities of the priesthood, he determined to join the Carthusians. However, before taking any further step he made the acquaintance of St. Teresa, who had come to Medina to found a convent of nuns, and who persuaded him to remain in the Carmelite Order and to assist her in the establishment of a monastery of friars carrying out the primitive rule. He accompanied her to Valladolid in order to gain practi cal experience of the manner of life led by the reformed nuns. A small house having been offered, St. John resolved to try at once the new form of life, although St. Teresa did not think anyone, however great his spirituality, could bear the discomforts of that hovel. He was joined by two companions, an ex-prior and a lay brother, with whom he inaugurated the reform among friars, 28 Nov., 1568. St. Teresa has left a classical description of the sort of life led by these first Discalced Carmelites, in chaps. xiii and xiv of her "Book of Foundations". John of the Cross, as he now called himself, became the first master of novices, and laid the foundation of the spiritual edifice which soon was to assume majestic proportions. He filled various posts in different places until St. Teresa called him to Avila as director and confessor to the convent of the Incarnation, of which she had been appointed prioress. He remained there, with a few interruptions, for over five years. Meanwhile, the reform spread rapidly, and, partly through the confusion caused by contradictory orders issued by the general and the general chapter on one hand, and the Apostolic nuncio on the other, and partly through human passion which sometimes ran high, its existence became seriously endangered.
St. John was ordered by his provincial to return to the house of his profession (Medina), and, on his refusing to do so, owing to the fact that he held his office not from the order but from the Apostolic delegate, he was taken prisoner in the night of 3 December, 1577, and carried off to Toledo, where he suffered for more than nine months close imprisonment in a narrow, stifling cell, together with such additional punishment as might have been called for in the case of one guilty of the most serious crimes. In the midst of his sufferings he was visited with heavenly consolations, and some of his exquisite poetry dates from that period. He made good his escape in a miraculous manner, August, 1578.
During the next years he was chiefly occupied with the foundation and government of monasteries at Baeza, Granada, Cordova, Segovia, and elsewhere, but took no prominent part in the negotiations which led to the establishment of a separate government for the Discalced Carmelites. After the death of St. Teresa (4 Oct., 1582), when the two parties of the Moderates under Jerome Gratian, and the Zelanti under Nicholas Doria struggled for the upper hand, St. John supported the former and shared his fate. For some time he filled the post of vicar provincial of Andalusia, but when Doria changed the government of the order, concentrating all power in the hands of a permanent committee, St. John resisted and, supporting the nuns in their endeavour to secure the papal approbation of their constitutions, drew upon himself the displeasure of the superior, who deprived him of his offices and relegated him to one of the poorest monasteries, where he fell seriously ill. One of his opponents went so far as to go from monastery to monastery gathering materials in order to bring grave charges against him, hoping for his expulsion from the order which he had helped to found.
As his illness increased he was removed to the monastery of Ubeda, where he at first was treated very unkindly, his constant prayer, "to suffer and to be despised", being thus literally fulfilled almost to the end of his life. But at last even his adversaries came to acknowledge his sanctity, and his funeral was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm. The body, still incorrupt, as has been ascertained within the last few years, was removed to Segovia, only a small portion remaining at Ubeda; there was some litigation about its possession. A strange phenomenon, for which no satisfactory explanation has been given, has frequently been observed in connexion with the relics of St. John of the Cross: Francis de Yepes, the brother of the saint, and after him many other persons have noticed the appearance in his relics of images of Christ on the Cross, the Blessed Virgin, St. Elias, St. Francis Xavier, or other saints, according to the devotion of the beholder. The beatification took place on 25 Jan., 1675, the translation of his body on 21 May of the same year, and the canonization on 27 Dec., 1726.
Text shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia
Feast Day:December 14
Born:
24 June 1542, Fontiveros, Spain
Died:December 14, 1591, Ubeda, Andalusia, Spain
Canonized:27 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
Major Shrine:Tomb of Saint John of the Cross, Segovia, Spain
Patron of:contemplative life; contemplatives; mystical theology; mystics; Spanish poets

What is St. Lucy Day - 10 Things to SHARE about #Traditions of #StLucy

1. On the 13th December St. Lucy is honored. She was a 4th century martyr from Sicily, Italy.
2. In Sweden and Norway the darkness of the day is broken by the Lucia figure dressed in a gown of white and a wreath of candles upon her head. December 13th was the longest night of the year in the Julian calendar.
3. According to tradition a white-clad woman, wearing a crown of burning candles, appeared at Sweden’s largest lake, Vänern, bringing food to starving villagers during a time of famine.
4. In Sweden and Norway, a girl is chosen to lead the Church procession with crown of candles. Similarly dressed girls (tärnor) and boys wearing a tall pointed hat carrying a star wand (stjärngossar) and follow her. Together they sing beautiful carols (see below) Once the singing is over, the procession enjoy coffee and saffron-flavored buns called lussekatter.

5. In homes the eldest daughter had the honour to be Lucia. She and her siblings woke up the family with their singing. Then the family gathered together with saffron buns at breakfast.
Ingredients: Servings: 24 Units: | 300 ml milk 1 g saffron 50 g baker's yeast 150 g sugar 125 g butter or 125 g margarine 700 g all-purpose flour 1 egg salt raisins Directions: 1 Melt butter or margarine in a pan and add the milk and the saffron. 2 Warm the mixture to 37 oC (100 oF). 3 Use a thermometer; the correct temperature is important! 4 Pour the mixture over the finely divided yeast; then add the remaining ingredients (except for the egg and the raisins), which should have a temperature of 21-23 oC (72-75 oF). 5 Mix into a smooth dough. 6 Cover the dough with a piece of cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes. 7 Knead the dough, divide it into 25-30 pieces and form each piece into a round bun. 8 Let the buns rest for a few minutes, covered by a piece of cloth. 9 Form each bun into a string, 15-20 cm long, then arrange the string in a suitable shape, e.g. an S or double S. Regardless of the shape, the ends of the string should meet. 10 Press a few raisins into the dough. 11 Cover the"Lucia cats" with a piece of cloth and let them rise for 40 minutes. 12 Whip the egg together with a few grains of salt, and paint the"Lucia cats" with the mixture. 13 Bake them for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 250 oC (475 oF) until golden brownish yellow. SANKTA LUCIA SONG
 It is traditional in Sweden to sing the Sankta Lucia song with the same melody as the well-known Italian song. Natten går tunga fjät rund gård och stuva; kring jord, som sol förlät,skuggorna ruva. Då i vårt mörka hus, stiger med tända ljus, Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia. Natten går stor och stum nu hörs dess vingar i alla tysta rum sus som av vingar. Se, på vår tröskel står vitklädd med ljus i hår Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia. Mörkret ska flyta snart ur jordens dalar så hon ett underbart ord till oss talar. Dagen ska åter ny stiga ur rosig sky
 Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia. The night goes with heavy steps around farm and cottage; round the earth the sun has forsaken, the shadows are brooding.There in our darkened house, stands with lighted candles Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia. The night passes, large and mute now one hears wings in every silent room whispers as if from wings. See, on our threshold stands white-clad with candles in her hair Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia. The darkness shall soon depart from the earth's valleys then she speaks a wonderful word to us. The day shall be born anew Rising from the rosy sky. Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.
In Italy:
6. Santa Lucia is celebrated all over Italy.
7. In Sicily she is remembered for her intervention during a severe famine in 1582. Miraculously, ships filled with grain appeared in the harbor on December 13. The people were so hungry that they boiled the grains immediately.
8. On this day a most popular dish called cuccia which is made with boiled whole wheat berries, ricotta and sugar. In Lombardy and Veneto, goose is eaten on this day.
9. Santa Lucia brings the presents to children, not Father Christmas. She travels on a donkey on the eve of December 13, and children leave bowls of milk and carrots and hay to attract the hungry donkey and make sure Santa Lucia stops at their house.
10. Children sing for this feast: Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia Fill my stocking with candies If my mother won't do it My stocking will stay empty But with father's money Saint Lucia will prevail.

#PopeFrancis "...we are not and never will be an orphaned people. We have a Mother!" #Guadelupe #Homily FULL TEXT + Mass Video



FULL TEXT Homily of PopeFrancis-
“Blessed is she who has believed”: with these words, Elizabeth anoints the presence of Mary in her house. Words born of her womb, that come from within; words that manage to echo all that she experienced with the visit of her cousin: “When the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed.”
God visits us in the womb of a woman, mobilising the womb of another woman with a song of blessing and praise, with a song of joy. The Gospel scene bears all the dynamism of the visit of God: when God comes to meet us He moves us inwardly, He sets in motion what we are until all our life is transformed into praise and blessing. When God visits us, He leaves us restless, with the healthy restlessness of those who feel they have been invited to proclaim what He lives, and is in the midst of His people. This is what we see in Mary, the first disciple and missionary, the new Ark of the Covenant who, far from remaining in the reserved space of our temples, goes out to visit and accompany with her presence the gestation of John. She did so also in 1531: she ran to Tepeyac to serve and accompany this People who were gestating in pain, becoming their Mother and that of all peoples.

With Elizabeth, today too we wish to anoint her and greet her by saying “Blessed is she who has believed”, and continue to believe in “a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord”. Mary is thus the icon of the disciple, of the believing and prayerful woman who knows how to accompany and encourage our faith and our hope in the distinct stages we must go through. In Mary we find the faithful reflection not of a poetically sweetened faith, but of a strong faith especially at a time when the sweet enchantments of things are broken and there are contradictions in conflict everywhere.
And we will certainly have to learn from that strong and helpful faith that characterised and characterises our Mother; to learn from this faith that knows how to get inside history so as to be salt and light in our lives and in our society.
The society we are building for our children is increasingly marked by the signs of division and fragmentation, leaving many people out of play, especially those who find it difficult to obtain the minimum necessary to lead a dignified life. A society that likes to vaunt its scientific and technological advances, but that has become blind and insensitive to the thousands of faces that are there along the way, excluded by the blind pride of the few. A society that ends up establishing a culture of disillusionment, disenchantment and frustration in many of our brothers, and even anguish in many others due as they experience the difficulties they need to face so as not to lose their way.
It would seem that, without realising, we have become used to living in a society of distrust, with all that this presupposes for our present and especially for our future; distrust that gradually engenders states of apathy and dispersal.
How difficult it is to boast of our society of wellbeing when we see that our dear American continent has become used to seeing thousands and thousands of children and young people on the streets, begging and sleeping in railway stations, in the subway or wherever they find space. Children and young people exploited in illegal work or driven to seeking a few coins at crossroads, cleaning the windshields of our cars … and they feel that the ‘train of life’ has no place for them. How many families are scarred by the suffering of seeing their children made victims of the merchants of death. How hard it is to see how we have normalised the exclusion of our elderly, leaving them to live in solitude, simply because they are not productive, or to see, as the bishops in Aparecida well knew, “the precarious situation that affects the dignity of many women. Some, since childhood and adolescence, are subject to many forms of violence inside and outside the home”. They are situations that can paralyse us, that can cast doubt on our faith and especially our hope, our way of looking towards and facing the future.
Faced with all these situations, we must say with Elizabeth, “Blessed is she who has believed”, and to learn from this strong and helpful faith that characterised and characterizes our Mother.
Celebrating Mary is, first and foremost, making memory of the mother, remembering that we are not and never will be an orphaned people. We have a Mother! And where there is the mother, there is always the presence and flavour of home. Where there is the mother, brothers may fight but the sense of unity will always prevail. Where there is the mother, the struggle for fraternity will not be lacking. I have always been impressed to see, in different peoples of Latin America, those struggling mothers who, often alone, manage to bring up their children. This is Mary with us, with her children: a woman who fights against the society of mistrust and blindness, the society of apathy and dispersion; a woman who fights to strengthen the joy of the Gospel, who fights to give “flesh” to the Gospel.
To look at the Guadalupana is to recall that the visit of the Lord always passes through those who manage to “make flesh” His Word, who seek to embody the life of God within themselves, becoming living signs of His mercy.
To celebrate the memory of Mary is to assert against all odds that “in the heart and life of our peoples there is a strong sense of hope, notwithstanding conditions of life that seem to overshadow all hope”.
Mary, because she believed, loved; because she is the handmaid of the Lord and the servant of her brothers. Celebrating the memory of Mary is to celebrate that we, like her, are invited to go out and meet others with the same gaze, with the same mercy within, with their same gestures. To contemplate her is to feel the strong invitation to imitate her faith. Her presence leads us to reconciliation, giving us the strength to create bonds in our blessed Latin American land, saying “yes” to life and “no” to all kinds of indifference, exclusion, or the rejection of peoples and persons. Let us not be afraid to go out and look upon others with the same gaze. A gaze that makes us brothers. We do so because, like Juan Diego, we know that here is our mother, we know that we are under her shadow and her protection, which is the source of our joy, and that we are in the cross of her arms.
[Original text: Spanish] [Vatican-provided working translation of prepared text]

Novena to St. Lucy - Patron of Blind - SHARE #Prayers to #StLucy

Say this prayer for 9 days:
O St Lucy, you preferred to let your eyes be torn out instead of denying the faith and defiling your soul; and God, through an extraordinary miracle, replaced them with another pair of sound and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith, appointing you as the protector against eye diseases. I come to you for you to protect my eyesight and to heal the illness in my eyes.
 O St Lucy, preserve the light of my eyes so that I may see the beauties of creation, the glow of the sun, the colour of the flowers and the smile of children. Preserve also the eyes of my soul, the faith, through which I can know my God, understand His teachings, recognise His love for me and never miss the road that leads me to where you, St Lucy, can be found in the company of the angels and saints. St Lucy, protect my eyes and preserve my faith. Amen.
 (Say: 3 “Our Father”, 3 “Hail Mary”, 3 “Glory be”.)
 O! Glorious St Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, you greatly glorified the Lord by preferring to sacrifice your life rather than be unfaithful. Come to our aid and, through the love of this same most loveable Lord, save us from all infirmities of the eyes and the danger of losing them. Through your powerful intercession, may we spend our life in the peace of the Lord and be able to see Him with our transfigured eyes in the eternal splendour of the Celestial Homeland. Amen. St Lucy, pray for us and for the most needy, to Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. December 13, 2016


Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 188


Reading 1ZEP 3:1-2, 9-13

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the LORD she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.

For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the LORD,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.

On that day
You need not be ashamed
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 AND 23

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, O Lord, do not delay;
forgive the sins of your people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the Kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

#PopeFrancis “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” #Advent #Homily

(Vatican Radio) The spirit of clericalism is an evil that is present in the Church today, Pope Francis said, and the victim of this spirit is the people, who feel discarded and abused. That was the Pope’s message in the homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
Among those taking part in the Mass were the members of the Council of cardinals, who are meeting with the Pope this week in Rome.
In his homily, Pope Francis warned pastors of the dangers of becoming “intellectuals of religion” with a morality far from the Revelation of God.
The poor and humble people who have faith in the Lord are the victims of the “intellectuals of religion,” those who are “seduced by clericalism,” who will be preceded in the Kingdom of Heaven by repentant sinners.
The law of the high priests is far from Revelation
The Pope directed his attention to Jesus, who in the day’s Gospel turns to the chief priests and the elders of the people, and focuses precisely on their role. “They had juridical, moral, religious authority,” he said. “They decided everything.” Annas and Caiaphas, for example, “judged Jesus,” they were the high priests who “decided to kill Lazarus”; Judas, too, went to them to “bargain,” and thus “Jesus was sold.” They arrived at this state of “arrogance and tyranny towards the people,” the Pope said, by instrumentalizing the law:
But a law that they have remade many times: so many times, to the point that they had arrived at 500 commandments. Everything was regulated, everything! A law scientifically constructed, because this people was wise, they understood well. They made all these nuances, no? But it was a law without memory: they had forgotten the First Commandment, which God had given to our father Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” They did not walk: they always stopped in their own convictions. They were not blameless!
The people discarded by the intellectuals of religion
And so, the Pope said, they had forgotten the Ten Commandments of Moses”: “With the law they themselves had made – intellectualistic, sophisticated, casuistic – they cancelled the law the Lord had made, they lacked the memory that connects the current moment with Revelation.” In the past their victim was Jesus; in a similar way, now their victim is “the humble and poor people who trust in the Lord,” “those who are discarded,” those who understand repentance even if they do not fulfill the law, and suffer these injustices. They feel “condemned,” and “abused,” the Pope said, by those who are vain, proud, arrogant.” And one who was cast aside by these people, Pope Francis observed, was Judas:
Judas was a traitor, he sinned gravely, eh! He sinned forcefully. But then the Gospel says, “He repented, and went to them to return the money.” And what did they do? “But you were our associate. Be calm… We have the power to forgive you for everything!” No! “Make whatever arrangement you can!” [they said.] “It’s your problem!” And they left him alone: discarded! The poor Judas, a traitor and repentant, was not welcomed by the pastors. Because these people had forgotten what it was to be a pastor. They were the intellectuals of religion, those who had the power, who advanced the catechesis of the people with a morality composed by their own intelligence and not by the revelation.
The evil of clericalism can still be found in the Church today
 “A humble people, discarded and beaten by these people.” Even today, the Pope observed, this sometimes happens in the Church. “There is that spirit of clericalism,” he explained: “Clerics feel they are superior, they are far from the people”; they have no time to hear the poor, the suffering, prisoners, the sick”:
The evil of clericalism is a very ugly thing! It is a new edition of these people. And the victim is the same: the poor and humble people that awaits the Lord. The Father has always sought to be close to us: He sent His Son. We are waiting, waiting in joyful expectation, exulting. But the Son didn’t join the game of these people: The Son went with the sick, the poor, the discarded, the publicans, the sinners – and that is scandalous – the prostitutes. Today, too, Jesus says to all of us, and even to those who are seduced by clericalism: “The sinners and the prostitutes will go before you into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

St. Lucy Crown Recipe - Special Sweet Bread - Easy to make #StLucy - SHARE - #Recipe

St. Lucy is the patron saint of light. She wore a wreath of candles on her head to free her arms to carry bread to starving Christians hiding in the catacombs. This is a sweet bread called a Lucia Crown. 

Santa Lucia Crown

Ingredients:
1/2 cup warm water
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs, divided use
Powdered Sugar Glaze, optional (recipe follows)
Red candied cherry halves, optional

Directions:
1) Place 1/4 cup warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining water, warm milk, sugar, butter, salt, saffron, and 1-1/2 cups flour; blend well. Stir in 2 eggs and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
2) Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each into a 36-inch rope. Braid ropes. Place on a greased baking sheet and knot into a crown shaped circle. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake crown for 25 minutes or until done, covering braid with foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excess browning. Remove braid from baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.
4) Drizzle with Powdered Sugar Glaze and garnish with candied cherry halves. Insert candles.

Powdered Sugar Glaze: In small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted; 4 to 5 teaspoons milk; and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.