Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Saint November 9 : Saint John Lateran : Dedication of the Basilica

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Feast: November 9
Feast Day:
November 9

This is the oldest, and ranks first among the four great "patriarchal" basilicas of Rome. The site was, in ancient times, occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani. A member of this family, P. Sextius Lateranus, was the first plebian to attain the rank of consul. In the time of Nero, another member of the family, Plautius Lateranus, at the time consul designatus was accused of conspiracy against the emperor, and his goods were confiscated. Juvenal mentions the palace, and speaks of it as being of some magnificence, "regiæ ædes Lateranorum". Some few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large hall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the eighteenth century within the basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was then discovered of real value or importance. The palace came eventually into the hands of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, through his wife Fausta, and it is from her that it derived the name by which it was then sometimes called, "Domus Faustæ". Constantine must have given it to the Church in the time of Miltiades, not later than about 311, for we find a council against the Donatists meeting within its walls as early as 313. From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome. The latter distinction it still holds, though it has long lost the former. Hence the proud title which may be read upon its walls, that it is "Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput".
It seems probable, in spite of the tradition that Constantine helped in the work of building with his own hands, that there was not a new basilica erected at the Lateran, but that the work carried out at this period was limited to the adaptation, which perhaps involved the enlargement, of the already existing basilica or great hall of the palace. The words of St. Jerome "basilica quondam Laterani" (Ep. lxxiii, P.L., XXII, col. 692) seem to point in this direction, and it is also probable on other grounds. This original church was probably not of very large dimensions, but we have no reliable information on the subject. It was dedicated to the Saviour, "Basilica Salvatoris", the dedication to St. John being of later date, and due to a Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist which adjoined the basilica and where members were charged at one period with the duty of maintaining the services in the church. This later dedication to St. John has now in popular usage altogether superseded the original one. A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the basilica are recorded in the "Liber Pontificalis", and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or Golden Church. This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. St. Leo the Great restored it about 460, and it was again restored by Hadrian I, but in 896 it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake ("ab altari usque ad portas cecidit"). The damage was so extensive that it was difficult to trace in every case the lines of the old building, but these were in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This secondchurch lasted for four hundred years and was then burnt down. It was rebuilt by Clement V and John XXII, only to be burnt down once more in 1360, but again rebuilt by Urban V.
Through these various vicissitudes the basilica retained its ancient form, being divided by rows of columns into aisles, and having in front an atrium surrounded by colonnades with a fountain in the middle. The façade had three windows, and was embellished with a mosaic representing Christ as the Saviour of the world. The porticoes of the atrium were decorated with frescoes, probably not dating further back than the twelfth century, which commemorated the Roman fleet under Vespasian, the taking of Jerusalem, the Baptism of the Emperor Constantine and his "Donation" to the Church. Inside the basilica the columns no doubt ran, as in all other basilicas of the same date, the whole length of the church from east to west, but at one of the rebuildings, probably that which was carried out by Clement V, the feature of a transverse nave was introduced, imitated no doubt from the one which had been, long before this, added at S. Paolo fuori le Mura. It was probably at this time also that the church was enlarged. When the popes returned to Rome from their long absence at Avignon they found the city deserted and the churches almost in ruins. Great works were begun at the Lateran by Martin V and his successors. The palace, however, was never again used by them as a residence, the Vatican, which stands in a much drier and healthier position, being chosen in its place. It was not until the latter part of the seventeenth century that thechurch took its present appearance, in the tasteless restoration carried out by Innocent X, with Borromini for his architect. The ancient columns were now enclosed in huge pilasters, with gigantic statues in front. In consequence of this the church has entirely lost the appearance of an ancient basilica, and is completely altered in character.
Some portions of the older buildings still survive. Among these we may notice the pavement of medieval Cosmatesque work, and the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, now in the cloisters. The graceful baldacchino over the high altar, which looks so utterly out of place in its present surroundings, dates from 1369. The stercoraria, or throne of red marble on which the popes sat, is now in the Vatican Museum. It owes its unsavoury name to the anthem sung at the ceremony of the papal enthronization, "De stercore erigeus pauperem". From the fifth century there were seven oratories surrounding the basilica. These before long were thrown into the actual church. The devotion of visiting these oratories, which held its ground all through the medieval period, gave rise to the similar devotion of the seven altars, still common in many churches of Rome and elsewhere. Between the basilica and the city wall there was in former times the great monastery, in which dwelt the community of monks whose duty it was to provide the services in the basilica. The only part of it which still survives is the cloister, surrounded by graceful columns of inlaid marble. They are of a style intermediate between the Romanesque proper and the Gothic, and are the work of Vassellectus and the Cosmati. The date of these beautiful cloisters is the early part of the thirteenth century.
The ancient apse, with mosaics of the fourth century, survived all the many changes and dangers of the Middle Ages, and was still to be seen very much in its original condition as late as 1878, when it was destroyed in order to provide a larger space for the ordinations and other pontifical functions which take place in this cathedral church of Rome. The original mosaics were, however, preserved with the greatest possible care and very great success, and were re-erected at the end of the new and deeper apse which had been provided. In these mosaics, as they now appear, the centre of the upper portion is occupied by the figure of Christ surrounded by nine angels. This figure is extremely ancient, and dates from the fifth, or it may be even the fourth century. It is possible even that it is the identical one which, as is told in ancienttradition, was manifested to the eyes of the worshippers on the occasion of the dedication of the church: "Imago Salvatoris infixa parietibus primum visibilis omni populo Romano apparuit" (Joan. Diac., "Lib. de Ecclesia Lat.", P.L. CXCIV, 1543-1560). If it is so, however, it has certainly been retouched. Below is seen the crux gammata, surmounted by a dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and standing on a hill whence flow the four rivers of the Gospels, from whose waters stags and sheep come to drink. On either side are saints, looking towards the Cross. These last are thought to belong originally to the sixth century, though they were repaired and altered in the thirteenth by Nicholas IV, whose effigy may be seen prostrate at the feet of the Blessed Virgin. The river which runs below is more ancient still, and may be regarded as going back to Constantine and the first days of the basilica. The remaining mosaics of the apse are of the thirteenth century, and the signatures of the artists, Torriti and Camerino, may still be read upon them. Camerino was a Franciscan friar; perhaps Torriti was one also.
The pavement of the basilica dates from Martin V and the return of the popes to Rome from Avignon. Martin V was of the Colonna family, and the columns are their badge. The high altar, which formerly occupied the position customary in all ancient basilicas, in the centre of the chord of the apse, has now beyond it, owing to the successive enlargements of the church, the whole of the transverse nave and of the new choir. It has no saint buried beneath it, since it was not, as were almost all the other great churches of Rome, erected over the tomb of a martyr. It stands alone among all the altars of the Catholic world in being of wood and not of stone, and enclosing no relics of any kind. The reason for this peculiarity is that it is itself a relic of a most interesting kind, being the actual wooden altar upon which St. Peter is believed to have celebrated Mass during his residence in Rome. It was carefully preserved through all the years of persecution, and was brought by Constantine and Sylvester from St. Pudentiana's, where it had been kept till then, to become the principal altar of the cathedral church of Rome. It is now, of course, enclosed in a larger altar of stone and cased with marble, but the original wood can still be seen. A small portion was left at St. Pudentiana's in memory of its long connection with that church, and is still preserved there. Above the High Altar is the canopy or baldacchino already mentioned, a Gothic structure resting on four marble columns, and decorated with paintings by Barna of Siena. In the upper part of the baldacchino are preserved the heads of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the great treasure of the basilica, which until this shrine was prepared to receive them had always been kept in the "Sancta Sanctorum", the private chapel of the Lateran Palace adjoining. Behind the apse there formerly extended the "Leonine" portico; it is not known which pontiff gave it this name. At the entrance there was an inscription commemorating the dream of Innocent III, when he saw the church of the Lateran upheld by St. Francis of Assisi. On the opposite wall was hung the tabula magna, or catalogue of all the relics of the basilica, and also of the different chapels and the indulgences attached to them respectively. It is now in the archives of the basilica.
SOURCE Catholic Encyclopedia 

#PopeFrancis "which meant, if we can not celebrate the Eucharist, we can not live, our Christian life will die." Audience FULL TEXT + Video

The Holy Mass - 1. Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We begin today with a new set of catechesis, which will look at the "heart" of the Church, that is, the Eucharist. It is fundamental for us Christians to understand well the value and meaning of the Holy Mass to live more and more fully our relationship with God.

We can not forget the great number of Christians who, throughout the world, in two thousand years of history, have endured to death to defend the Eucharist; and those who, even today, risk life to participate in Sunday Mass. In the year 304, during the persecution of Diocletian, a group of Christians from North Africa were surprised while celebrating Mass in a house and arrested. The Roman proconsul, in the interrogation, asked them why they had done so, knowing that it was absolutely forbidden. And they replied, "Without Sunday we can not live," which meant, if we can not celebrate the Eucharist, we can not live, our Christian life will die.

In fact, Jesus told his disciples: "If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day "(Jn 6: 53-54).

Those Christians in North Africa were killed because they celebrated the Eucharist. They have left the witness that we can renounce the earthly life for the Eucharist, for it gives us eternal life, making us part of Christ's victory over death. A testimony that intercepts us all and asks for an answer on what it means for each of us to participate in the Sacrifice of Mass and approach us at the Lord's Meal. Are we looking for the source that "zampilla living water" for eternal life, which makes our life a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving and makes us one body with Christ? This is the deepest sense of the Holy Eucharist, which means "thanksgiving": thanksgiving to God Father, Son and Holy Spirit who entails us and transforms us into his communion of love.
In the next catechesis, I would like to answer some important questions about the Eucharist and the Mass, to rediscover or discover how through this mystery of faith shines the love of God.

Vatican Council II was strongly animated by the desire to lead Christians to understand the greatness of faith and the beauty of the encounter with Christ. For this reason, it was necessary first to implement, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an adequate renewal of the liturgy, for the Church continually lives in it and renews it thanks to it.

A central theme that the Fathers emphasized is the liturgical formation of the faithful, indispensable for a true renewal. And this is also the purpose of this cycle of catechesis that we begin today: to grow in the knowledge of the great gift God has given us in the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is a wonderful event in which Jesus Christ, our life, is made known. Participating in Mass "is to live the Lord's redeeming passion and death another time. It is a theophany: the Lord is present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world "(Homily in the Mass, House S. Marta, February 10, 2014). The Lord is here with us, present. Many times we go there, look at things, chat with us while the priest celebrates the Eucharist ... and we do not celebrate near him. But it is the Lord! If today the President of the Republic or some very important person of the world came here, it is certain that we would all be close to him, that we would like to say good-bye to him. But think: when you go to Mass, there is the Lord! And you're distracted. It is the Lord! We have to think about this. "Father, is that the messes are boring" - "But what do you say, the Lord is boring?" - "No, no, no, the priests" - "Ah, convert the priests, but it is the Lord who stay there!". I got it? Do not forget it. "Participating in the Mass is to live the Lord's passion and redemption again."

Let's try and ask a few simple questions. For example, why is the sign of the cross and the penitential act at the beginning of Mass? And here I would like to make another bracket. Have you seen how the children make the sign of the cross? You do not know what they are doing, whether it is the sign of the cross or a drawing. They do so [makes a confused gesture]. We need to teach the children to do the sign of the cross well. So begins the Mass, so life begins, so the day begins. This means that we are redeemed with the Lord's cross. Look at the children and teach them to do the sign of the cross well. And those Letters, in Mass, why are they there? Why do you read the Three Readings on Sunday and the other two days? Why are they there, what does Mass Reading mean? Why do they read and what are they doing? Or, because at some point the priest who presides over the celebration says, "Up our hearts?" It does not say, "Up our phones to do photography!" No, it's a bad thing! And I tell you that it gives me so much sadness when I celebrate here in Piazza or Basilica and I see so many raised mobiles, not just of the faithful, even of some priests and even bishops. But please! Mass is not a show: it is to meet the passion and resurrection of the Lord. For this reason the priest says, "Up our hearts." What does this mean? Remember: no phones.
It is very important to go back to the foundations, to rediscover what is essential, through what is touched and seen in the celebration of the Sacraments. The question of the apostle Saint Thomas (cf. Jn 20: 25), to see and touch the wounds of nails in Jesus' body, is the desire to somehow "touch" God in believing him. What St. Thomas asks the Lord is what we all need: to see him, to touch him to recognize him. The Sacraments meet this human need. The Sacraments, and the Eucharistic celebration in particular, are the signs of God's love, the privileged ways to meet with Him.

Thus, through these catecheses that begin today, I would like to rediscover with you the beauty that is hidden in the Eucharistic celebration, and which, once revealed, gives a full meaning to each one's life. Our Lady will accompany us on this new stretch of road. Thank you.

Je suis heureux de saluer les pèlerins francophones, ceux venus de Belgique, de Suisse, du Liban, de France, et en particulier les jeunes du Collège Fénelon-Sainte-Marie de Paris. A travers ce nouveau cycle de catéchèses, que le Seigneur nous aide à redécouvrir la valeur et la signification de la Sainte Messe, pour vivre toujours plus pleinement notre relation avec Lui. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
[Sono lieto di salutare i pellegrini francesi di Belgio, Svizzera, Libano, Francia e soprattutto i giovani del Collège Fénelon-Sainte-Marie di Parigi. Attraverso questo nuovo ciclo di catechesi, il Signore può aiutarci a riscoprire il valore e il significato della Santa Messa, a vivere più pienamente il nostro rapporto con Lui. Dio vi benedica!]
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly the groups from New Zealand, the Philippines, Korea, Canada and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Saluto i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’odierna Udienza, specialmente quelli provenienti da Nuova Zelanda, Filippine, Corea, Canada e Stati Uniti d’America. Su tutti voi e sulle vostre famiglie invoco la gioia e la pace del Signore nostro Gesù Cristo.]
Mit Freude heiße ich die Brüder und Schwestern aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache willkommen. Besonders grüße ich die Limburger Domsingknaben und danke ihnen für ihren Gesang. Die Eucharistie ist die Quelle des Lebens eines jeden Christen. Lassen wir uns von dieser Gegenwart der Liebe des Herrn verwandeln. Von Herzen segne ich euch und eure Lieben.
[Sono lieto di accogliere i fratelli e le sorelle provenienti dai paesi di lingua tedesca. Saluto in particolare il gruppo dei Limburger Domsingknaben e li ringrazio per il loro canto. L’eucaristia è la sorgente della vita di ogni cristiano. Lasciamoci trasformare da questa presenza dell’amore del Signore. Di cuore benedico voi e i vostri cari.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en modo particular a los grupos provenientes de España y América Latina. Saludo a la delegación sindical argentina. Pidamos a la Virgen María que interceda por nosotros para que sintamos el deseo de conocer y amar más el misterio de la Eucaristía, sacramento del Cuerpo y la Sangre de su Hijo Jesús. Que el Señor los bendiga a todos. Muchas gracias.
Saúdo cordialmente os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular os fiéis da diocese de Santo Ângelo, desejando-vos que cresçais sempre mais no amor e na adoração da Eucaristia, para que este Sacramento possa continuar a plasmar as vossas comunidades na caridade e na comunhão, segundo o coração do Pai. De bom grado vos abençoo a vós e aos vossos entes queridos!
[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini di lingua portoghese, in particolare i fedeli della diocesi di Santo Angelo, augurando di crescere sempre più nell’amore e nell’adorazione dell’Eucaristia, affinché questo Sacramento possa continuare a plasmare le vostre comunità nella carità e nella comunione, secondo il cuore del Padre. Volentieri benedico voi e i vostri cari!]
أُرحِّب بالحجاج الناطقين باللغة العربيّة وخاصة بالقادمين من الشرق الأوسط. أيُّها الإخوة والأخوات الأعزاء، الافخارستيا هي يسوع نفسه، الذي يهب ذاته لنا بكاملها. إِن تغذَّينا منه وثَبُتنا فيه بواسطة المناولة الإفخارستيّة، يجعل من حياتنا عطية لله والأخوة. لندخُل في ديناميكيّة الحبِّ هذه وسنصبح على مثال يسوع أشخاص سلام ومغفرة ومصالحة. ليبارككم الرب!
[Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua araba, in particolare a quelli provenienti dal Medio Oriente. Cari fratelli e sorelle, l’Eucaristia è Gesù stesso che si dona interamente a noi. Nutrirci di Lui e dimorare in Lui mediante la Comunione eucaristica, trasforma la nostra vita in un dono a Dio e ai fratelli. Entriamo in questo dinamismo di amore e diventeremo, sull’esempio di Gesù, persone di pace, di perdono e di riconciliazione. Il Signore vi benedica!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków. W najbliższą niedzielę z inicjatywy Konferencji Episkopatu Polski i Stowarzyszenia Pomoc Kościołowi w Potrzebie, już po raz dziewiąty będziecie obchodzili w Polsce Dzień Solidarności z Kościołem Prześladowanym, wspierając duchowo i materialnie braci i siostry na Bliskim Wschodzie. Niech wasze modlitwy i ofiary będą dla nich konkretną pomocą i znakiem łączności ze wszystkimi, którzy cierpią dla imienia Chrystusa na całym świecie. Wam tu obecnym i waszym bliskim, szczególnie redakcji i słuchaczom Radia Katowice, które obchodzi w tym roku 90-lecie swego istnienia, z serca błogosławię.
[Greeting all Poles. On Sunday, on the initiative of the Polish Bishops' Conference and the Helping Association of the Suffering Church, you will celebrate the ninth Day of Solidarity with the Persecuted Church, sustaining spiritually and materially the brothers and sisters of the Middle East. Your prayers and offers are a concrete help and a sign of the bond with all the sufferers of the world in the name of Christ. To you, and to your family members, especially to the editors and listeners of Radio Katowice, in the 90th of their business, I heartily impart my blessing.]
I cordially welcome Italian pilgrims.

I am delighted to welcome the participants to the International Congress of Benedictine Oblates and the Carmelite Schools; the Brothers of Christian Schools, on the occasion of the Training Course and the Blind Missionaries, in their Renewal Course. I wish everybody that this encounter revitalized communion with the universal ministry of the Successor of Peter.

I greet parishes, especially that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Andria and San Michele in Minervino Murge; the AVIS Association of Pianezza; the prayer group Pro Fatima and Lourdes of Afragola; the Fanelli Therapy Community of Castellamare di Stabia and the Early Workers Group.

Finally, I greet the young people, the sick and the newlyweds. Today's memory of the Saints Martyrs, whose relics are kept here in St. Peter's Basilica, increases in you, dear young people, the attention to Christian testimony even in difficult contexts; Help you, dear ones, to offer your suffering to support the many persecuted Christians; encourage you, dear new brides, to trust in God's help and not just in your abilities.

Catholic Quote to SHARE by #MotherTeresa "People ask me: 'What will convert America and save the world?' My answer is prayer..."

"People ask me: 'What will convert America and save the world?' My answer is prayer. What we need is for every parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Hours of prayer." Mother Teresa

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. November 8, 2017 - #Eucharist

Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 487

Reading 1ROM 13:8-10

Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill;
you shall not steal;
you shall not covet,

and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Responsorial PsalmPS 112:1B-2, 4-5, 9

R. ( 5a) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
R. Alleluia.
He dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
R. Alleluia.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia1 PT 4:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
"If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.'
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple."