Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saint August 6 : Feast of The Transfiguration of the Lord - #Transfiguration

The Transfiguration of the Lord
Feast: August 6
 The Transfiguration of Christ is the culminating point of His public life, as His Baptism is its starting point, and His Ascension its end. Moreover, this glorious event has been related in detail by St. Matthew (xvii, 1-6), St. Mark (ix, 1-8), and St. Luke (ix, 28-36), while St. Peter (II Pet., i, 16-18) and St. John (i, 14), two of the privileged witnesses, make allusion to it. About a week after His sojourn in Caesarea Philippi, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them to a high mountain apart, where He was transfigured before their ravished eyes. St. Matthew and St. Mark express this phenomenon by the word metemorphothe, which the Vulgate renders transfiguratus est.
The Synoptics explain the true meaning of the word by adding "his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow," according to the Vulgate, or "as light," according to the Greek text. This dazzling brightness which emanated from His whole Body was produced by an interior shining of His Divinity. False Judaism had rejected the Messias, and now true Judaism, represented by Moses and Elias, the Law and the Prophets, recognized and adored Him, while for the second time God the Father proclaimed Him His only-begotten and well-loved Son.
By this glorious manifestation the Divine Master, who had just foretold His Passion to the Apostles (Matt., xvi, 21), and who spoke with Moses and Elias of the trials which awaited Him at Jerusalem, strengthened the faith of his three friends and prepared them for the terrible struggle of which they were to be witnesses in Gethsemani, by giving them a foretaste of the glory and heavenly delights to which we attain by suffering.
LOCATION OF THE TRANSFIGURATION Already in Apostolic times the mount of the Transfiguration had become the "holy mount" (II Pet., i, 18). It seems to have been known by the faithful of the country, and tradition identified it with Mount Thabor. Origen said (A.D. 231-54) "Thabor is the mountain of Galilee on which Christ was transfigured" (Comm. in Ps. lxxxviii, 13). In the next century St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech., II, 16) and St. Jerome (Ep. xlvi, ad Marcel.; EP. viii, ad Paulin.; Ep. cviii, ad Eust.) likewise declare it categorically. Later St. Proculus, Patriarch of Constantinople (d. 447; Orat. viii, in Transfig.), Agathangelus (Hist. of Armenia, II, xvii), and Arnobius the Younger (d. 460; Comm. in Ps. lxxxviii, 13) say the same thing. The testimonies increase from century to century without a single dissentient note, and in 553 the Fifth Council of Constantinople erected a see at Mount Thabor (Notitif Antioch. . . . patriarch.). Some modern writers claim that the Transfiguration could not have taken place on Mount Thabor, which, according to Josephus, was then surmounted by a city. This is incorrect; the Jewish historian speaks neither of a city nor a village; he simply fortified, as he repeats three times, "the mount called Itabyrion" ("Bell. Jud.", II, xx, 6; IV, i, 8; Vita , 37). The town of Atabyrion of Polybius, the Thabor or Celeseth Thabor, the "flank of Thabor" of the Bible, is situated at the foot of Mount Thabor. In any case the presence of houses on a wooded height would not have made it impossible to find a place apart. It is again objected that Our Lord was transfigured on Mount Hermon, since He was at that time in its vicinity. But the Synoptics are all explicit concerning the lapse of time, six days, or about eight days including those of departure and arrival, between the discourse in Caesarea and the Transfiguration, which would infer a somewhat lengthy journey. Moreover the summits of Hermon are covered with snow as late as June, and even the lesser peaks of 4000 or 5000 feet are likewise snow-covered in February and March, the period of the Transfiguration. Finally, the ancients judged of the height of mountains by their appearance, and Thabor especially was considered a "high mountain", if not by David and Jeremias, at least by Origen and St. Jerome and the pilgrims who made the ascent.Shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Wow Medical Doctors and Professor say Demonic Possession is Real and #Exorcism by Priests is Necessary

Dr. Richard Gallagher is an Yale-educated, board-certified psychiatrist who teaches at Columbia University and New York Medical College. 
Gallagher  says demonic possession is real. He's seen the evidence: victims suddenly speaking perfect Latin; sacred objects flying off shelves; people displaying "hidden knowledge" or secrets about people that they could not have possibly have known.
"There was one woman who was like 90 pounds soaking wet. She threw a Lutheran deacon who was about 200 pounds across the room," he says. "That's not psychiatry. That's beyond psychiatry." Gallagher calls himself a "consultant" on demonic possessions. For the past 25 years, he has helped clergy distinguish between mental illness and what he calls "the real thing." He estimates that he's seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.

"Whenever I need help, I call on him," says the Rev. Gary Thomas, one of the most famous exorcists in the United States. The movie "The Rite" was based on Thomas' work.

Possession, he says, is rare -- but real.
"I spend more time convincing people that they're not possessed than they are," he wrote in an essay for The Washington Post.
Dr. Gallagher was convinced by meeting a Real case of Possession.  She was a middle-age woman who wore flowing dark clothes and was also part of a satanic cult. She called herself the queen of the cult, but Gallagher would refer to her as "Julia," the pseudonym he gave her.
The woman had approached her local priest, convinced she was being attacked by a demon. The priest referred her to an exorcist, who reached out to Gallagher for a mental health evaluation. "She was conflicted," Gallagher says. "There was a part of her that wanted to be relieved of the possession." She ended up relieving Gallagher of his doubts. It was one of the first cases he took, and it changed him. Gallagher helped assemble an exorcism team that met Julia in the chapel of a house.

Objects would fly off shelves around her. She somehow knew personal details about Gallagher's life: how his mother had died of ovarian cancer. He was talking on the phone with Julia's priest one night, he says, when both men heard one of the demonic voices that came from Julia during her trances -- even though she was nowhere near a phone and thousands of miles away.
He says he's a stickler for the scientific method, that it teaches people to follow the facts wherever they may lead. He grew up in a large Irish Catholic family in Long Island. When he kept seeing cases like Julia's as a professional, he says, his views had to evolve."I don't believe in this stuff because I'm Catholic," he says. "I try to follow the evidence."
Being Catholic, though, may help. Gallagher's two ways of giving back -- helping the mentally ill as well as the possessed.Catholicism doesn't see faith and science as contradictory. Its leaders insist that possession, miracles and angels exist. 


The Rite of Exorcism was first published in 1614 by Pope Paul V to quell a trend of laypeople and priests hastily performing exorcisms on people they presumed were possessed, such as victims of the bubonic plague, says the Rev. Mike Driscoll, author of "Demons, Deliverance, Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World." "
A line (in the rite) said that the exorcist should be careful to distinguish between demon possession and melancholy, which was a catchall for mental illness," Driscoll says. "The church knew back then that there were mental problems. It said the exorcist should not have anything to do with medicine. Leave that to the doctors."Gallagher says the concept of possession by spirit isn't limited to Catholicism. Muslim, Jewish and other Christian traditions regard possession by spirits -- holy or benign -- as possible.Dr. Mark Albanese studied medicine at Cornell and has been practicing psychiatry for decades. In a letter to the New Oxford Review, a Catholic magazine, he defended Gallagher's belief in possession. He also says there is a growing belief among health professionals that a patient's spiritual dimension should be accounted for in treatment, whether their provider agrees with those beliefs or not. Some psychiatrists have even talked of adding a "trance and possession disorder" diagnosis to the DSM, the premier diagnostic manual of disorders used by mental health professionals in the US. >There's still so much about the human mind that psychiatrists don't know, Albanese says. Doctors used to be widely skeptical of people who claimed to suffer from multiple personalities, but now it's a legitimate disorder (dissociative identity disorder). Many are still dumbfounded by the power of placebos, a harmless pill or medical procedure that produces healing in some cases. "There's a certain openness to experiences that are happening that are beyond what we can explain by MRI scans, neurobiology or even psychological theories," Albanese says. Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a psychiatrist who specializes in schizophrenia, arrived at a similar conclusion after he had an unnerving experience with a patient. Lieberman was asked to examine the videotape of an exorcism that he subsequently dismissed as unconvincing. Then he met a woman who, he said, "freaked me out." Lieberman, director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, says he and a family therapist were asked to examine a young woman who some thought was possessed. He and his colleague tried to treat the woman for several months but gave up because they had no success.
Something happened during the treatment, though, that he still can't explain. After sessions with the woman, he says, he'd go home in the evenings, and the lights in his house would go off by themselves, photographs and artwork would fall or slide off shelves, and he'd experience a piercing headache. When he mentioned to this to his colleague one day, her response stunned him: She'd been having the exact same experiences. "I had to sort of admit that I didn't really know what was going on," Lieberman says. "Because of the bizarre things that occurred, I wouldn't say that (demonic possession) is impossible or categorically rule it out ... although I have very limited empirical evidence to verify its existence."
The tragic case of the real 'Emily Rose'
If you want to know why so many scientists and doctors like Lieberman are cautious about legitimizing demonic possession, consider one name: Anneliese Michel.
Michel was a victim in one of the most notorious cases of contemporary exorcism. If you have the stomach for it, go online and listen to audiotapes and watch videos of her exorcisms.  It sounds like somebody dropped a microphone into hell.
Michel was a German Catholic woman who died of starvation in 1976 after 67 exorcisms over a period of nine months. She was diagnosed with epilepsy but believed she was possessed. So did her devout Roman Catholic parents. She reportedly displayed some of the classic signs of possession: abnormal strength, aversion to sacred objects, speaking different languages. The church will not compromise the privacy of a person suffering from possession just to provide film to skeptics. Another psychiatrist, Dr. M. Scott Peck, the late author of "The Road Less Traveled," conducted two exorcisms himself -- something Gallagher considers unwise and dangerous for any psychiatrist.
"It's deepened my faith," Gallagher says of the exorcisms he's witnessed. "It didn't radically change it, but it validated my faith."
Inevitably, there will be others. His phone will ring. A priest will tell him a story. A team of clergy and nuns will be summoned. And the man of science will enter the hidden world of exorcism again.
"Truly informed exorcists don't tend to get discouraged," he says, "because they know it is our Lord who delivers the person, not themselves." 

Edited from CNN- Images added Google Images

Powerful Prayers Against Evil

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. AMEN
Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. AMEN
Jesus, have mercy. AMEN

Saint August 5 : St. Afra : #Convert and Former #Prostitute



Today, August 5, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Afra (died 304), Martyr of the Church. Saint Afra worked as a prostitute, but kindly hid her local bishop during the persecution of Christians. From his influence, she converted to the faith, dedicated herself to acts of charity, and was eventually persecuted and executed for her beliefs. The life of Saint Afra reminds us that true conversion and repentance for past sins is always possible, and that Our Loving Father calls us to Him regardless of the sins we have committed in the past!
Afra was originally a courtesan in the German town of Augsburg, having grown up in Cyprus, and moved to that area.
Upon moving to Ausburg, it is likely that Afra worked in a brothel, possibly close to the pagan Temple of Venus. At the onset of the persecution of Christians under the orders of Emperor Diocletian, Afra and her mother, Hilaria, hid the local bishop from harm. The holy man, Bishop Narcissus of Girona, did not know the profession of Afra and her mother, and through his witness, converted them to the faith. Afra and her mother, as well as her servants, were baptized, and began spending their time in charitable acts to the poor and suffering around them.
Despite the threat of death and persecution, Afra continued to hide the holy bishop until she herself was arrested and brought before the authorities. The judge, Gaius, knew of Afra and her profession, and ordered her to sacrifice to the pagan gods or be condemned to death.

Afra declared: “I was a great sinner before I knew God; but I will not add new crimes, nor do what you command me. My capitol is Jesus Christ, whom I have always before my eyes. I every day confess my sins; and, because I am unworthy to offer him any sacrifice, I desire to sacrifice myself for his name, that this body in which I have sinned may be purified and sacrificed to him by torments.” 

Gaius persisted, referencing her former profession, and urging her to recant her faith. “I am informed,” he said, “that you are a prostitute. Sacrifice, therefore, as you are a stranger to the God of the Christians, and cannot be accepted by him.”
But Afra replied, “Our Lord Jesus Christ hath said, that he came down from heaven to save sinners. The gospels testify that an abandoned woman washed his feet with her tears, and obtained pardon, and that he never rejected the publicans, but permitted them to eat with him.” 

Gaius said, “Jesus Christ will have nothing to do with you. It is in vain for you to acknowledge him for your God: a common prostitute can never he called a Christian.”

Afra replied, “It is true, I am unworthy to bear the name of a Christian; but Christ hath admitted me to be one.” 

Growing frustrated, the judge ordered her again: “Sacrifice to the gods, and they will save you.”
The martyr replied: “My Savior is Jesus Christ, who upon the cross promised paradise to the thief who confessed him. The only subject of my confusion and grief are my sins.”

Having run out of patience, Gaius declared, “I am ashamed that I have disputed so long with you. If you do not comply, you shall die.”

Afra replied: “That is what I desire, if I am not unworthy to find rest by this confession. Let that body which hath sinned undergo torments; but as to my soul, I will not taint it by sacrificing to demons.” 

Throwing up his hands, Gaius sentenced Afra to death. “We condemn Afra, a prostitute who hath declared herself a Christian, to be burnt alive, because she hath refused to offer sacrifice to the gods.”
Afra was immediately seized, stripped of her clothing, tied to a stake, and set ablaze. While she burned, she lifter her eyes to heaven and prayed:“O Lord Jesus Christ, Omnipotent God, who camest to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance, accept now the penance of my sufferings, and by this temporal fire deliver me from the everlasting fire, which torments both body and soul. I return thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, for the honor thou hast done me in receiving me a holocaust for thy name’s sake; thou who hast vouchsafed to offer thyself upon the altar of the cross a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, the just for the unjust, and for sinners. I offer myself a victim to thee, O my God, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost world without end. Amen.”

Having prayed and handed her life over to her creator, Saint Afra died. Her mother and her servants rescued her body and interred her relics in a selpuchre. In the process of this act they were caught, and refusing to sacrifice to the pagan gods, were likely executed.
Inspired by Saint Afra, today we pray for the conversion of sinners throughout the world, and for our own personal conversion and repentance. Holy Saint Afra, pray for us!

Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful Savior of the world, we humbly beseech You, by Your most Sacred Heart, that all the sheep who stray out of Your fold may in one days be converted to You, the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls, who lives and reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end.
Amen. Shared from 365Rosaries

Today's Mass Readings and Video : #1stSaturday August 5, 2017 - #Eucharist


Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 406


Reading 1LV 25:1, 8-17

The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,
"Seven weeks of years shall you count–seven times seven years–
so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years.
Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, let the trumpet resound;
on this, the Day of Atonement, the trumpet blast shall re-echo
throughout your land.
This fiftieth year you shall make sacred
by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.
It shall be a jubilee for you,
when every one of you shall return to his own property,
every one to his own family estate.
In this fiftieth year, your year of jubilee,
you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth
or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines.
Since this is the jubilee, which shall be sacred for you,
you may not eat of its produce,
except as taken directly from the field.

"In this year of jubilee, then,
every one of you shall return to his own property.
Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor
or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly.
On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee
shall you purchase the land from your neighbor;
and so also, on the basis of the number of years for crops,
shall he sell it to you.
When the years are many, the price shall be so much the more;
when the years are few, the price shall be so much the less.
For it is really the number of crops that he sells you.
Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God.
I, the LORD, am your God."

Responsorial PsalmPS 67:2-3, 5, 7-8

R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!
The earth has yielded its fruits;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

AlleluiaMT 5:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, "This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him."

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
"It is not lawful for you to have her."
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
"Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.