Monday, February 26, 2018

Saint February 27 : St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows : #Patron of: #Students, #Youth, #Seminarians : Passionist Monk

, February 27, marks the feast day of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862), the patron saint of young people, students, and young religious. Saint Gabriel’s short life is marked by piety, faith, and obedience to the Lord, and religious vocation at the behest of Our Blessed Mother. While the last six years of his life, spent as a brother in the Passionist Order, were marked by humility, self-denial, and simplicity, Gabriel’s early life was quite the opposite. His complete consecration of his life to the Lord, despite the temptations of the modern world which he so loved, make his sacrifice a vivid example of the Christian love and obedience we should strive for.
Born Francis Possenti, in Assisi, Italy in 1838, Saint Gabriel was the eleventh of thirteen children produced by the union of his parents. His father, a pious man with great political recognition in the area, and his mother, a well-connected religious woman from a respected family, were delighted in their son. He was baptized at the same font that his saintly namesake had been baptized nearly 600 years earlier.
From an early age, Francis demonstrated the potential for thoughtfulness and piety. He encouraged his teacher and siblings to pay more attention to the poor, oftentimes choosing to give some of his portions to those in need. Before he reached the age of four, his mother passed away from a serious illness, as did four of his siblings. Francis, the most sensitive of the family, was severely moved by these losses, increasing his empathy for others and his sensitivity to those in need.
As Francis matured, he developed insight into the fact that he was smart, charming, and attractive. He pursued hedonistic pleasures like art and theater, which he would later write to friends almost “cost him his soul.” He dressed to perfection, paying careful attention to his appearance. Francis excelled at school, and was generally the award-winner in all of his classes. He was chosen to give his commencement address upon graduation from the Jesuit College. Francis embraced the world, and to his classmates and friends, he appeared to have all the tools required for great success. He was the center of attention wherever he went, all the doors of the finest families and establishments open to him throughout the city. And while he was impulsive, prone to anger, and pridefully vain, he was poised to achieve great worldly things.
But Francis felt called in a different direction. Twice, Francis came down with serious illnesses while in school, illnesses he was not expected to recover from. During these times, he prayed to the Lord, promising to become a religious if his life was spared. While a student at the Jesuit College, he had asked permission to enter the Order, and was granted permission from his spiritual director. But Francis delayed entering the Order, finding reasons to wait. He maintained his faith, praying daily in the chapel and receiving the Eucharist, but could not commit to the religious life and give up his worldly enjoyments. As time went on, Francis began to doubt his choice of the Jesuit Order, instead feeling called to become a Passionist, the Order formed by Saint John of the Cross. His spiritual director encouraged him to wait and pray, and see where the Lord led him.
Following the cholera outbreak in 1856, the town rejoiced in thanks to the Blessed Mother, who interceded to save Spoleto. In veneration, a statue of Our Lady was carried throughout the streets. Francis observed the procession, more curious than devoted. As the statue was carried past him, he gazed into the face of the Blessed Virgin, and through the eyes of the statue, Mary pierced his heart with a gaze so strong it felt as a ‘dart of fire.” At the same time, he heard the words deep within in, “Why! thou art not made for the world! What art thou doing in the world? Hasten, become a religious!”
From that moment, Francis’ life changed. He entered the noviatiate of the Passionists, where he would live until his death. The Passionist Order is a strict order, and his family and friends urged him not to commit to such a life. Rather, they suggested he become a priest, or better yet, not become a religious and use his “talents” in the world. Francis was not to be disuaded. After his initial retreat, he was clothed in the robes of the Passionists, and gave up his name for a new name: Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
His days were spent in prayer, chanting, study, and manual labor. The Passionist Order maintains a rule of silence, and speaking was forbidden without permission. Gabriel spent the majority of his time meditating on the Passion of Christ, and praying the Rosary to Our Lady of Sorrows. Despite the rules and strict lifestyle, Gabriel was filled with joy. “My life is a continuous delight; what I experience inside these sacred walls is almost inexpressible; the 24 hours of the day seem to me like 24 short instants; really my life is full of delight.” He looked at each sacrifice as a way in which to polish away his sinful life, his pride, his vanity, and devote his life to Jesus. He wrote, “I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own”
Saint Gabriel looked to the Blessed Mother as his comfort and refuge in times of suffering, of which he had plenty due to illness. He wrote of her to his brother, “Love Mary!… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.” Within a few years of joining the Order, Gabriel was stricken with Consumption. He died a slow and painful death, over the course of two years, during which he maintained a cheerful and joyous disposition, so much so that his brothers in the Order wished to spend their days with him. In his dying moments, he asked for his picture of the Crucifixion, with the Blessed Virgin standing at the foot of the cross. It was well-worn from use. He devoutly kissed it, placed it upon him, folded his hands across it, and began to pray. With indescribable love he began to say aloud: “Oh, my Mother make haste, make haste!”
Many from the Order watched and prayed in his cell with him, as they knew his moment of death was close at hand. They were moved to tears by his devotion, and by the love with which he implored the comfort of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. By their records, Gabriel suddenly turned his eyes to the left and above him, gazing in rapture upon some heavenly vision. With a peaceful smile, he died, never letting go of his beloved picture. Not yest a priest when he died at age 24, Gabriel was buried at the Passionist retreat in Isola di Gran Sasso, Italy.
Since his death, numerous miracles have been reported via his intercession. For exmaple, Saint Gemma (1878-1903), a young woman with numerous ailments including deafness from meningitis, paralysis, abcesses, and curvature of the spine was miraculously cured after praying a novena to Saint Gabriel. In her own words, "I grew in admiration of his virtues and his ways. My devotion to him increased. At night I did not sleep without having his picture under my pillow, and after that I began to see him near me. I don’t know how to explain this, but I felt his presence. At all times and in every action Brother Gabriel came to mind.”
When she was approximately 20, and on her deathbed, Gemma began her novena to Saint Gabriel. While trying to sleep, she heard the rattling of a Rosary and he appeared to her, saying, “Do you wish to recover? Pray with faith every evening to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I will come to you until the Novena is ended, and will pray together to this Most Sacred Heart.” On the last night of the Novena, Gemma was miraculously cured of all her ailments, a scientific impossibility at the time. Saint Gemma went on to be visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary, and bore the stigmata throughout her prayerful life, committed to Jesus.
One of his brothers wrote of him: “In the garden within the monastery walls at Isola stands a large crucifix. A seed fell to the ground before it. A plant sprang up, and twined itself around the cross until it reached the feet of the figure nailed upon it. It then bent outward, as if to behold what was above. A bud formed, swelled, burst into bloom, and gazed in loving awe upon the figure of Christ Crucified. Lo! it was a true flower of the Passion! Its heart was pierced and stamped with the signs of Him Who hung upon the cross. The seed that fell at the foot of the crucifix was Francis Possenti. The plant that grew there from and flowered was Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Passionist.”
Text shared from 365 Rosaries

Wow "Black Panther" Star Letitia Wright says "I fell in love with Jesus" - SHARE her Amazing Story!

Marvel Studios' new film, “Black Panther,” is receiving great success, but one of its stars puts love of God above her movie career. Actress Letitia Wright, who plays Princess Shuri in Black Panther, said she learned to put her Christian faith ahead of her success in Hollywood. The 24-year-old star took a seven-month break from acting to focus on her faith.
 “I just needed to take a break from acting because I really idolized it, so I came off of it and I went on a journey to discover God and my relationship with God and I became a Christian,” she said on ITV's “This Morning.”
She explained, “Like I didn't need validation from anyone else or from getting a part. My happiness wasn't dependent on that — it was dependent on my relationship with God.”
 In an interview with W magazine, the Guyanese actor said  “I said, 'OK, Jesus, I'll try you,' and I haven't looked back since.”
 Wright said, “I don't really consider myself religious. I view it more as a relationship, and if anyone thinks that's weird, then OK.” grateful! God is wonderful! — Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) January 29, 2018  Her faith prompted her to turn down an acting role alongside fellow stars Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. “But I remember God was like, to me, 'Give up the job. I can give you more than that; I just need you right now. Give up the job,'” she said in an interview with Vanity Fair. At first, Wright thought she needed to leave the entertainment business altogether, fearing it was “sinful.” But now she realized that God wants her to be a light in Hollywood:
 “There's a reason there are so many Christians in the limelight. A lot of young people who are in the creative industry are finding an avenue toward God now. We're all in the same path, we're all in the same thing. But we all support each other, and love each other, and keep each other grounded, and keep each other positive.”
Watch and SHARE this Inspiring Interview with the Actress where she explains her love of God!

Pope Francis “We know that God’s justice is mercy.” Lenten Homily at Vatican

Pope Francis: be merciful towards others to receive mercy from the Lord
“Do not judge and you will not be judged.” Pope Francis repeated Jesus’ invitation from the Gospel of Luke (6:36-38) in his homily during the celebration of the Liturgy at Casa Santa Marta.
Vatican News Report:  By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

Pope Francis reminds us that none of us will be able to escape God’s judgment—we will all be judged, both personally and universally. This reality helps the Church reflect on its own behavior toward one another and toward God. This call coming during Lent is an invitation to the Church for renewal.

God will judge us all

Beyond not judging, we are called to forgive one another. “Each of us might think: ‘But I never judge, I don’t make myself a judge.’ ” With this in mind, Pope Francis invites us to examine our consciences. For example, when we have been at a meeting, or during a meal, “how many minutes have I spent judging others?” we can ask ourselves. “Judging others is terrible because the Lord is the only judge,” the Pope continues.

Humility the key to receive God's mercy

The invitation, therefore, is to be merciful with others in the same way the Lord will be merciful to us. “We know that God’s justice is mercy.” In order to receive God’s mercy, we must be humble, recognizing that we are sinners. “When we meet God’s justice with our own shame, that is where we find forgiveness,” the Pope says.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday February 26, 2018 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Second Week in Lent
Lectionary: 230

Reading 1DN 9:4B-10

"Lord, great and awesome God,
you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you
and observe your commandments!
We have sinned, been wicked and done evil;
we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.
We have not obeyed your servants the prophets,
who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes,
our fathers, and all the people of the land.
Justice, O Lord, is on your side;
we are shamefaced even to this day:
we, the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem,
and all Israel, near and far,
in all the countries to which you have scattered them
because of their treachery toward you.
O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers,
for having sinned against you.
But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!
Yet we rebelled against you
and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God,
to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets."

Responsorial PsalmPS 79:8, 9, 11 AND 13

R. (see 103:10a) Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name's sake.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Let the prisoners' sighing come before you;
with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
through all generations we will declare your praise.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.

Verse Before The GospelSEE JN 6:63C, 68C

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

GospelLK 6:36-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you."

Married Man to be Ordained a Catholic Priest in Maronite Rite - Danny Nouth, father of 3 - in Australia

Editor's Addition Note: Due to confusions about this Rite of the Catholic Church here is a Quote from the Catholic Catechism about the Maronite Catholic Rite:
1203 The liturgical traditions or rites presently in use in the Church are the Latin (principally the Roman rite, but also the rites of certain local churches, such as the Ambrosian rite, or those of certain religious orders) and the Byzantine, Alexandrian or Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite and Chaldean rites. In "faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity, and that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way."69

Below a FULL TEXT Release from the Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,

20 Feb 2018

First Married Man to Be Maronite Priest

Deacon Danny Nouh
Engineer Danny Nouh is to become Australia's first married man to be ordained to the priesthood in the Maronite Catholic Church.
Danny Nouh first thought seriously about the priesthood when he heard Jesus knocking on his front door. Literally.
Asleep in bed one night, he heard a loud knocking on the front door of his house. It sounded just like the knock he'd heard on the Arabic-Christian TV channel, where Jesus is depicted knocking on a door at the beginning of the regular rosary segment. Thinking maybe he dreamt it, Danny went back to sleep. Yet, again the knocking came. Extremely loud.
"I was alarmed. I didn't know what it was. But there was no one there. To this day I don't know. I might have been dreaming. I can't explain it."
Nine years later, Danny is about to become the first married man to be ordained to the priesthood in Australia for the Maronite Catholic Church. He is set to be ordained at Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park on 17 March.
When he first heard that knocking on his door, Danny's wife Nabiha and their three children had been asleep in the house also, but he was the only one who heard it.
"My wife was right next to me. Everyone was asleep. My children were in the other room. The first time I was panicking and I was startled. But the second time, again I heard it and this sense of peace took over me. I just knew it was Jesus."
Danny believes that was the call to priesthood. At the time however it was confusing. "I thought why are you calling me? I'm married, I have a big career. Out of all people, why are you knocking on my door?"
After much discernment and spiritual direction, Danny was ordained as a sub-deacon in 2016 by Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay. He was also appointed Executive Officer of MaroniteCare, the welfare agency of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia, based in Harris Park. This meant a massive drop in salary for Danny, after working for many years in the engineering industry.
"It was a third of what I'd been earning but I've never been happier. If this is your vocation, God will always provide."
Danny says he owes his priestly vocation to his family, in particular his wife. When the time came to tell her he wanted to become a priest, Danny says he was trembling. "I was so confused. I didn't know how to break the news to her."
However, Nabiha took him by surprise. "She looked at me and said, 'I know what you want to tell me. You want to become a priest'."

Danny Nouh, his wife Nabiha and their children.
Photos: Giovanni Portelli
"It was extraordinary. We both started crying."
"My wife is the reason my vocation is what it is.  She's a very joyful person. Just a beautiful soul."
Nabiha had to give her written permission to the Bishop before Danny could proceed to the priesthood.
In the Maronite Church married priests have traditionally been the norm rather than the exception, particularly in the country of its birth, Lebanon.
"The Maronite Church was built on this tradition. If you go to Lebanon, the priests in the villages would always either be married or they would be monks in monasteries." Celibate priests were rare until about a century ago.
Danny says it is the Eucharist that drew him towards the priesthood and his desire to bring Jesus to others.
"The sacraments are very important to me, the celebration of the Eucharist. That's where I draw my strength and peace."
"This is my mission-to bring Jesus to anyone who's in need. I want them to know Jesus. That joy you receive from knowing him."