Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Saint January 25 : Conversion of St. Paul - #StPaul Apostle

In the Acts of the Apostles there are three accounts of the conversion of St. Paul (9:1-19; 22:3-21; 26:9-23) presenting some slight differences. Jesus spoke to Paul : “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with the group of people Saul had been killing like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all.
Acts 9: 1-19 1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Ananias Baptizes Saul 10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord. 11And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 
Paul's faith in Christ which engendered the vision, whereas according to the concordant testimony of the Acts and the Epistles it was the actual vision of Christ which engendered faith. After his conversion, his baptism, and his miraculous cure Paul set about preaching to the Jews (Acts 9:19-20). He afterwards withdrew to Arabia — probably to the region south of Damascus (Galatians 1:17), doubtless less to preach than to meditate on the Scriptures. On his return to Damascus the intrigues of the Jews forced him to flee by night (2 Corinthians 11:32-33; Acts 9:23-25). He went to Jerusalem to see Peter (Galatians 1:18), but remained only fifteen days, for the snares of the Greeks threatened his life. He then left for Tarsus and is lost to sight for five or six years (Acts 9:29-30; Galatians 1:21). Barnabas went in search of him and brought him to Antioch where for a year they worked together and their apostolate was most fruitful (Acts 11:25-26). Together also they were sent to Jerusalem to carry alms to the brethren on the occasion of the famine predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:27-30). They do not seem to have found the Apostles there; these had been scattered by the persecution of Herod. Apostolic career of Paul This period of twelve years (45-57) was the most active and fruitful of his life. It comprises three great Apostolic expeditions of which Antioch was in each instance the starting-point and which invariably ended in a visit to Jerusalem.

Pope Francis "... we repeat in every Mass: the gift of peace, which only the dead and risen Jesus can give.." FULL TEXT - Audience + Video

Catechesis of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
This audience will be held in two connected places: with you, here in the square, and a group of children who are unwell, in the Hall. They will see you, and you will see them: and in this way we are linked up. Let us greet the children who are in the Hall: it was best for them not to be out in the cold, and so they are there.
I returned two days ago from my Apostolic Journey to Chile and Peru. Applause for Chile and for Peru! Two good, good populations … I thank the Lord as everything went well: I was able to meet the People of God journeying in those lands – and even those who are not journeying, who are at a bit of a standstill … but they are good people – and to encourage the social development of those countries. I reiterate my gratitude to the civil authorities and to the bishops, who welcomed me with great care and generosity; as well as to all collaborators and volunteers. Think that in each of the two countries there are more than 20 thousand volunteers: 20 thousand and more in Chile, 20 thousand in Peru. Good people: mostly young.
My arrival in Chile was preceded by several protest demonstrations, for various reasons, as you will have read in the newspapers. And this made the motto of my visit even more current and living: “Mi paz os doy – I give you my peace”. These are Jesus’s words addressed to the disciples, which we repeat in every Mass: the gift of peace, which only the dead and risen Jesus can give to those who entrust themselves to Him. It is not just some of us who need peace: the world too, today, in this piecemeal third world war … please, let us pray for peace!
In the meeting with the political and civil Authorities of the country, I encouraged the path of Chilean democracy, as a meeting space for solidarity and capable of including diversity; for this purpose I indicated as a method the way of listening: in particular, listening to the poor, the young and the elderly, immigrants, and also listening to the earth.
In the first Eucharist, celebrated for peace and justice, the Beatitudes resounded, especially “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Mt 5: 9). A Beatitude to witness by means of the style of proximity, closeness; sharing and thus strengthening, with the grace of Christ, the fabric of the ecclesial community and of society as a whole.
In this style of proximity, gestures count more than words, and an important gesture I was able to make was visiting the women’s prison in Santiago: the faces of those women, many of them young mothers, with their little ones in their arms, expressed in spite of everything so much hope. I encouraged them to demand, of themselves and of the institutions, a serious journey of preparation for reintegration, as a horizon giving meaning to their daily suffering. We cannot think of a prison, any prison, without this dimension of reintegration, because if there is not this hope of social reintegration, prison is a torture without end. Instead, when you work to reintegrate – even those who are serving life sentences can be reintegrated – though the work of the prison and of society, dialogue opens up. But a prison must always have this dimension of reintegration, always.
With the priests and consecrated persons and with the bishops of Chile, I experienced two very intense meetings, made even more fruitful by the shared suffering of some wounds afflicting the Church in that country. In particular, I confirmed my brothers in rejecting any compromise on the sexual abuse of minors, and at the same time in trusting in God, Who through this harsh trial purifies and renews His ministers.
The other two Masses in Chile were celebrated, one in the south and one in the north. The one in the south, in Araucanía, the land where the Mapuche Indians live, transformed into joy the drama and hardships of this people, launching an appeal for a peace that is harmony in diversity, and for the repudiation of all violence. The one in the north, in Iquique, between the ocean and the desert, was a hymn to the meeting between peoples, expressed in a singular way in popular religiosity.
The meetings with young people and with the Catholic University of Chile responded to the crucial challenge of offering great meaning to the life of the new generations. I left the programmatic words of Saint Albert Hurtado to the young people: “What would Christ do in my place?”. And at the University I proposed a model of integral formation, translating Catholic identity into the capacity to participate in the building of united and plural societies, where conflicts are not hidden but managed in dialogue. There are always conflicts: even at home; always. But bad treatment of conflicts is even worse. Conflicts must not be brushed under the bed: conflicts must come to light, be faced and resolved with dialogue. Think of the little conflicts you will certainly have at home: they must not be hidden, but faced. Find the moment, and speak: conflict is resolved in this way, with dialogue.
In Peru the motto of the Visit was: “Unidos por la esperanza – United by hope”. United not in a sterile uniformity, everyone the same, this is not union; but in all the richness of the differences we inherit from history and culture. The meeting with the peoples of the Peruvian Amazon was emblematic of this, and also gave rise to the itinerary of the Pan-Amazon Synod convened for October 2019, and it was also witnessed by the moments lived with the people of Puerto Maldonado and the children of the “House of the Little Prince”. Together we said “no” to economic colonization and ideological colonization.
Speaking to the political and civil authorities of Peru, I appreciated the environmental, cultural and spiritual heritage of that country, and I focused on the two issues that most seriously threaten it: ecological-social degradation, and corruption. I don’t know if you have heard talk here of corruption … I don’t know … It is not only found in those places: here too, and it is more dangerous than the ’flu! It mixes things up and ruins hearts. Please, no to corruption. And I remarked that no-one is exempt from responsibility in the face of these two scourges, and that the commitment to counter them concerns everyone.
I celebrated the first Mass in Peru by the ocean, in the city of Trujillo, where last year the storm known as the “Niño costiero” struck the population hard. Therefore, I encouraged the people to react to this, but also to other storms such as criminality, and the lack of education, work and safe housing. In Trujillo I also met with the priests and consecrated persons of northern Peru, sharing with them the joy of the calling and the mission, and the responsibility of communion in the Church. I urged them to be rich in memory and faithful to their roots. And among these roots there is the popular devotion to the Virgin Mary. Again in Trujillo a Marian celebration was held in which I crowned the Virgin of the Gate, proclaiming her “Mother of Mercy and Hope”.
The final day of the trip, last Sunday, took place in Lima, with a strong spiritual and ecclesial accent. In the most famous Shrine of Peru, where the painting of the Crucifixion entitled “Señor de los Milagros” is venerated, I met about 500 cloistered women religious, of the contemplative life: a true “lung” of faith and prayer for the Church and for society as a whole. In the Cathedral I performed a special act of prayer through the intercession of the Peruvian Saints, which was followed by the meeting with the bishops of the country, to whom I proposed the exemplary figure of Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo. I also pointed out to the young Peruvians the saints as men and women who did not waste time “retouching” their own image, but instead followed Christ, Who looked on them with hope. As always, the word of Jesus gives full meaning to everything, and so too the Gospel of the last Eucharistic celebration summarized God’s message to His people in Chile and in Peru: “Repent and believe the Good News” (Mk1:15 ). Thus – the Lord seemed to say – you will receive the peace that I give you and you will be united in my hope. This is, more or less, my summary of this trip. Let us pray for these two sister Nations, Chile and Peru, that the Lord bless them.
Greetings in various languages
I am glad to welcome pilgrims from France and other francophone countries. As we end the Prayer Week for Christian Unity, I invite you to be, in the places where you live, pioneers of peace and unity. God bless you!
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, particularly those from England, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Korea and the United States of America. In the context of this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I offer a special greeting to the group from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. I also greet the priests of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education of the Pontifical North American College. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!
I greet with affection the pilgrims from German-speaking countries. Formed by the grace of the Lord and filled with divine hope, we can reciprocate in our brothers the love that God gives us every day. Have a good stay in Rome, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I cordially greet Spanish-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Spain and Latin America. May the power of fidelity and the merciful love of the Father, offered to us in Jesus, impel us to believe in the Gospel and to initiate a path of conversion, that will open us to welcoming the peace He gives us and to be men and women united in His hope. Thank you very much.
I greet the dear Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, especially the groups of faithful from Brangança Paulista and Maringá, hoping that you will be strong in your faith in Jesus Christ Who invites us to open our hearts to brothers and sisters in need. In this way we become true workers of peace. God bless you. Thank you for your prayers!
I address a cordial welcome to Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Syria and Lebanon. Peace is the supreme gift that Christ left us before ascending to heaven. To live in this peace, that only He can give, makes us see in every man a brother, transforms differences into wealth and makes us able to put them together to build a world in which each person can find his or her place, sharing with others His gifts and enjoying all his or her rights. May the Lord bless you all and give you His peace!
I cordially greet Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for accompanying me with your prayers during my trip to Chile and Peru. It was a time of grace that enabled us to experience unity and to appreciate and promote the spiritual values rooted in the Gospel and in the traditions of the people and populations of those regions. I share with you my joy and I ask you to continue to pray for me. God bless you!
I extend a cordial welcome to Italian-speaking faithful. I am pleased to welcome the new Ministers Provincial of the Order of Friars Minor, participants in the conference of the Marian League of Priests, and the parish groups and the Virtus Nova Oratory of Pontecagnano Fiano. I encourage you all to be faithful to Christ so that, following the example of Mary Most Holy, the joy of the Gospel will shine forth.
I offer a special greeting and a word of encouragement to the members of the Association of Hospital Volunteers, urging them to continue their charitable work for the sick who are most in need. I greet the school institutes, in particular that of Ginosa; the 235th “Piceno” Volunteer Training Regiment of Rome; the Lions Clubs of Campania, Basilicata and Calabria; the Marevivo Campania Group and that of volunteers from Livorno, wishing everyone a joyful and generous service for the common good.
I address a special thought to the young, the sick and the newlyweds. Today is the memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop and Doctor of the Church. May this saint be for you, young people, a model of gentleness; for you, people who are sick, an encouragement to offer your sufferings for the cause of the unity of the Church of Christ; and for you, newlyweds, an example in recognizing in your family life the primacy of God and His love.
Appeal of the Holy Father
Unfortunately, worrying news continues to arrive from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Therefore, I renew my appeal that all may be committed to avoiding every form of violence. For her part, the Church wishes only to contribute to peace and the common good of society.
Greeting to the sick and to children in the Paul VI Hall
Good morning, I greet you all, and I thank you for coming.
It is better for you to be here, because of the cold. You can see the audience on the screen, and they can see you from the square. You are calmer here, without the cold, sitting down … Also, the smallest children can play, and so everything will go well.
Now I would like to give you my blessing. Let us pray to Our Lady. Seated, all seated …
[Hail Mary and blessing]
Have a good day, and pray for me. Goodbye! So, what do children say? “Bye bye!”
[Vatican-provided translation]

Pope Francis "Lord, make us instruments of your peace." FULL TEXT #Communications Day Message

Please find below the official English-language translation of the Pope’s message:
Message of his Holiness Pope Francis
For World Communications Day
24 January 2018
“The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32).
Fake news and journalism for peace
Dear Brothers and Sisters,      
          Communication is part of God’s plan for us and an essential way to experience fellowship.  Made in the image and likeness of our Creator, we are able to express and share all that is true, good, and beautiful.  We are able to describe our own experiences and the world around us, and thus to create historical memory and the understanding of events.  But when we yield to our own pride and selfishness, we can also distort the way we use our ability to communicate.  This can be seen from the earliest times, in the biblical stories of Cain and Abel and the Tower of Babel (cf. Gen 4:4-16; 11:1-9).  The capacity to twist the truth is symptomatic of our condition, both as individuals and communities.  On the other hand, when we are faithful to God’s plan, communication becomes an effective expression of our responsible search for truth and our pursuit of goodness.  
            In today’s fast-changing world of communications and digital systems, we are witnessing the spread of what has come to be known as “fake news”.  This calls for reflection, which is why I have decided to return in this World Communications Day Message to the issue of truth, which was raised time and time again by my predecessors, beginning with Pope Paul VI, whose 1972 Message took as its theme: “Social Communications at the Service of Truth”.  In this way, I would like to contribute to our shared commitment to stemming the spread of fake news and to rediscovering the dignity of journalism and the personal responsibility of journalists to communicate the truth.
1.   What is “fake” about fake news?
          The term “fake news” has been the object of great discussion and debate.  In general, it refers to the spreading of disinformation on line or in the traditional media.  It has to do with false information based on non-existent or distorted data meant to deceive and manipulate the reader.  Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions, and serve economic interests.
          The effectiveness of fake news is primarily due to its ability to mimic real news, to seem plausible.  Secondly, this false but believable news is “captious”, inasmuch as it grasps people’s attention by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices, and exploiting instantaneous emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration. The ability to spread such fake news often relies on a manipulative use of the social networks and the way they function.  Untrue stories can spread so quickly that even authoritative denials fail to contain the damage.     
          The difficulty of unmasking and eliminating fake news is due also to the fact that many people interact in homogeneous digital environments impervious to differing perspectives and opinions.  Disinformation thus thrives on the absence of healthy confrontation with other sources of information that could effectively challenge prejudices and generate constructive dialogue; instead, it risks turning people into unwilling accomplices in spreading biased and baseless ideas.  The tragedy of disinformation is that it discredits others, presenting them as enemies, to the point of demonizing them and fomenting conflict.  Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred.  That is the end result of untruth.
2.   How can we recognize fake news?
          None of us can feel exempted from the duty of countering these falsehoods.  This is no easy task, since disinformation is often based on deliberately evasive and subtly misleading rhetoric and at times the use of sophisticated psychological mechanisms.  Praiseworthy efforts are being made to create educational programmes aimed at helping people to interpret and assess information provided by the media, and teaching them to take an active part in unmasking falsehoods, rather than unwittingly contributing to the spread of disinformation.  Praiseworthy too are those institutional and legal initiatives aimed at developing regulations for curbing the phenomenon, to say nothing of the work being done by tech and media companies in coming up with new criteria for verifying the personal identities concealed behind millions of digital profiles.
          Yet preventing and identifying the way disinformation works also calls for a profound and careful process of discernment.  We need to unmask what could be called the "snake-tactics" used by those who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place.  This was the strategy employed by the "crafty serpent" in the Book of Genesis, who, at the dawn of humanity, created the first fake news (cf. Gen 3:1-15), which began the tragic history of human sin, beginning with the first fratricide (cf. Gen 4) and issuing in the countless other evils committed against God, neighbour, society and creation.  The strategy of this skilled "Father of Lies" (Jn 8:44) is precisely mimicry, that sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments.
            In the account of the first sin, the tempter approaches the woman by pretending to be her friend, concerned only for her welfare, and begins by saying something only partly true: "Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?" (Gen 3:1).  In fact, God never told Adam not to eat from any tree, but only from the one tree: "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat" (Gen 2:17).  The woman corrects the serpent, but lets herself be taken in by his provocation: "Of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, “You must not eat it nor touch it, under pain of death" (Gen 3:2).  Her answer is couched in legalistic and negative terms; after listening to the deceiver and letting herself be taken in by his version of the facts, the woman is misled.  So she heeds his words of reassurance: "You will not die!" (Gen 3:4).        
           The tempter’s “deconstruction” then takes on an appearance of truth: "God knows that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5).  God’s paternal command, meant for their good, is discredited by the seductive enticement of the enemy: "The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye and desirable" (Gen 3:6).  This biblical episode brings to light an essential element for our reflection: there is no such thing as harmless disinformation; on the contrary, trusting in falsehood can have dire consequences. Even a seemingly slight distortion of the truth can have dangerous effects.
          What is at stake is our greed.  Fake news often goes viral, spreading so fast that it is hard to stop, not because of the sense of sharing that inspires the social media, but because it appeals to the insatiable greed so easily aroused in human beings.  The economic and manipulative aims that feed disinformation are rooted in a thirst for power, a desire to possess and enjoy, which ultimately makes us victims of something much more tragic: the deceptive power of evil that moves from one lie to another in order to rob us of our interior freedom.  That is why education for truth means teaching people how to discern, evaluate and understand our deepest desires and inclinations, lest we lose sight of what is good and yield to every temptation.
3.   "The truth will set you free" (Jn 8:32)
          Constant contamination by deceptive language can end up darkening our interior life.  Dostoevsky’s observation is illuminating: "People who lie to themselves and listen to their own lie come to such a pass that they cannot distinguish the truth within them, or around them, and so lose all respect for themselves and for others.  And having no respect, they cease to love, and in order to occupy and distract themselves without love they give way to passions and to coarse pleasures, and sink to bestiality in their vices, all from continual lying to others and to themselves.” (The Brothers Karamazov, II, 2).
          So how do we defend ourselves?  The most radical antidote to the virus of falsehood is purification by the truth.  In Christianity, truth is not just a conceptual reality that regards how we judge things, defining them as true or false.  The truth is not just bringing to light things that are concealed, "revealing reality", as the ancient Greek term aletheia (from a-lethès, "not hidden") might lead us to believe.  Truth involves our whole life.  In the Bible, it carries with it the sense of support, solidity, and trust, as implied by the root 'aman, the source of our liturgical expression Amen.  Truth is something you can lean on, so as not to fall.  In this relational sense, the only truly reliable and trustworthy One – the One on whom we can count – is the living God.  Hence, Jesus can say: "I am the truth" (Jn 14:6).  We discover and rediscover the truth when we experience it within ourselves in the loyalty and trustworthiness of the One who loves us.  This alone can liberate us: "The truth will set you free" (Jn 8:32).
          Freedom from falsehood and the search for relationship: these two ingredients cannot be lacking if our words and gestures are to be true, authentic, and trustworthy.  To discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness from whatever instead tends to isolate, divide, and oppose.  Truth, therefore, is not really grasped when it is imposed from without as something impersonal, but only when it flows from free relationships between persons, from listening to one another.  Nor can we ever stop seeking the truth, because falsehood can always creep in, even when we state things that are true.  An impeccable argument can indeed rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful.  We can recognize the truth of statements from their fruits: whether they provoke quarrels, foment division, encourage resignation; or, on the other hand, they promote informed and mature reflection leading to constructive dialogue and fruitful results.
4.   Peace is the true news
          The best antidotes to falsehoods are not strategies, but people: people who are not greedy but ready to listen, people who make the effort to engage in sincere dialogue so that the truth can emerge; people who are attracted by goodness and take responsibility for how they use language.  If responsibility is the answer to the spread of fake news, then a weighty responsibility rests on the shoulders of those whose job is to provide information, namely, journalists, the protectors of news.  In today’s world, theirs is, in every sense, not just a job; it is a mission.  Amid feeding frenzies and the mad rush for a scoop, they must remember that the heart of information is not the speed with which it is reported or its audience impact, but persons.  Informing others means forming others; it means being in touch with people’s lives.  That is why ensuring the accuracy of sources and protecting communication are real means of promoting goodness, generating trust, and opening the way to communion and peace.
          I would like, then, to invite everyone to promote a journalism of peace.  By that, I do not mean the saccharine kind of journalism that refuses to acknowledge the existence of serious problems or smacks of sentimentalism.  On the contrary, I mean a journalism that is truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines.  A journalism created by people for people, one that is at the service of all, especially those – and they are the majority in our world – who have no voice.  A journalism less concentrated on breaking news than on exploring the underlying causes of conflicts, in order to promote deeper understanding and contribute to their resolution by setting in place virtuous processes.  A journalism committed to pointing out alternatives to the escalation of shouting matches and verbal violence.
          To this end, drawing inspiration from a Franciscan prayer, we might turn to the Truth in person:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. 
Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion. 
Help us to remove the venom from our judgements. 
Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters. 
You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world: 
where there is shouting, let us practise listening; 
where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony; 
where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity; 
where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity; 
where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety; 
where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions; 
where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust; 
where there is hostility, let us bring respect; 
where there is falsehood, let us bring truth. 
Vatican, 24 January 2018

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. January 24, 2018 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 319

Reading 12 SM 7:4-17

That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house 
from the day on which I led the children of Israel 319
out of Egypt to the present, 
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel, 
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges 
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask: 
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?'

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

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

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

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


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

GospelMK 4:1-20

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

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

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

SHARE #Novena to St. Francis de Sales - #Litany and #Prayers


O Blessed Francis de Sales, 
who in your mortal life did excel in all virtues, 
especially in love of God and of neighbor, 
I earnestly entreat you to take me under your immediate protection, 
to obtain from God my perfect conversion, 
and that of all sinners, especially of 

(the names of persons for whom you wish to pray should be mentioned here). 

Teach me, O Father, 
to fix my eyes on heaven, 
that I may generously trample under foot 
every obstacle that presents itself in my way, 
and attain that degree of glory 
which You in Your mercy hold out to me. 
Obtain also that particular favor for which I now pray. 

(mention intention)

Assist us, O Lord, we beseech You, 
through the merits of St. Francis de Sales. 
That what our endeavors cannot obtain may be given us by his intercession. 

Let us pray: 

O God, who for the salvation of souls, 
did will that St. Francis de Sales, 
Your confessor and bishop, 
should become all things to all men and women, 
mercifully grant that we, 
infused with the gentleness of his charity, 
guided by his teachings, 
and sharing in his merits, 
may obtain eternal happiness. 
Through Christ our Lord.

Litany of St. Francis de Sales

Lord, have mercy on us.  Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. O God, the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us. O God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us. O God, the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us O Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us. * St. Francis de Sales, * St. Francis, miracle of the most august Trinity, * St. Francis, faithful imitator of Jesus Christ, * St. Francis, attached to the the service of the Blessed Virgin, * St. Francis, practicing the virtues of the Saints, * St. Francis, most devote to Jesus crucified, * St. Francis, august tabernacle of true religion, * St. Francis, most humble in prosperity, * St. Francis, most patient in adversity, * St. Francis, true portrait of the meekness of Christ, * St. Francis, simple as the dove, * St. Francis, example of angelic modesty, * St. Francis, exact observer of evangelic poverty, * St. Francis, excellent example of the purity of angels, * St. Francis, ever obedient to the Apostolic See, * St. Francis, generously despising the world, * St. Francis, powerful vanquisher of demons, * St. Francis, invincible triumpher over the flesh, * St. Francis, inflamed with the love of God, * St. Francis, abounding in virtues, * St. Francis, all to all for the salvation of souls, * St. Francis, most dear to God, and beloved by men, * St. Francis, unwearied apostle of Geneva and its territory, * which thou didst so laboriously reunite to the one true Church of God, * St. Francis, most fervent pastor, ever careful to lead thy flock to the fold of Jesus the Good Shepherd, * St. Francis, most renowned for thy miracles, * St. Francis, greatest of all thy miracles, * St. Francis, patriarch of the Visitation, * St. Francis, continual martyr to thy love of God, * St. Francis, father of many Saints, by the holy rules which thou hast left for every state, * St. Francis, powerful protector to obtain of God that mildness which preserves the peace of the heart, * St. Francis, amiable patron of those who invoke thee, * Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,  Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,  Hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,  Have mercy on us, O Lord. O Blessed Francis, like the fruitful olive-tree in the house of God, radiant in miracles, make us partakers of thy sanctity and of the light which thou enjoyest. V. Pray for us, Blessed Francis of Sales. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Let us pray:
O God, by whose gracious will the Blessed Francis, thy confessor and bishop, became all things unto all men, for the saving of their souls, mercifully grant that, being filled with the sweetness of thy love, we may, through the guidance of his counsels, and by the aid of his merits, attain unto the joys of life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayer in Special Need to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Say not, merciful Virgin, that you cannot help me; for your beloved Son has given you all power in heaven and on earth. Say not that you ought not assist me, for you are the mother of all the poor children of Adam, and mine in particular. Since then, merciful Virgin, you are my mother and you are all-powerful, what excuse can you offer if you do not lend your assistance? See. my mother, see, you are obliged to grant me what I ask, and to yield to my entreaties. 
(St. Francis De Sales)