Thursday, March 15, 2018

Saint March 16 : St. Heribert of Cologne : Patron of Rain

Feast Day:
March 16
970 at Worms, Germany

16 March 1021 at Cologne, Germany
1075 by Pope Saint Gregory VII
Major Shrine:
Patron of:

Archbishop of Cologne; born at Worms, c. 970; died at Cologne, 16 March, 1021. His father was Duke Hugo of Worms. After receiving his education at the cathedral school of Worms, he spent some time as guest at the monastery of Gorze, after which he became provost at the cathedral of Worms. In 994 he was ordained priest; in the same year King Otto III appointed him chancellor for Italy and four years later also for Germany, a position which he held until the death of Otto III on 23 January, 1002. As chancellor he was the most influential adviser of Otto III, whom he accompanied to Rome in 906 and again in 997. He was still in Italy when, in 999, he was elected Archbishop of Cologne. At Benevento he received ecclesiastical investiture and the pallium from Pope Sylvester II on 9 July, 999, and on the following Christmas Day he was consecrated at Cologne. In 1002 he was present at the death-bed of the youthful emperor at Paterno. While returning to Germany with the emperor's remains and the imperial insignia, he was held captive for some time by the future King Henry II, whose candidacy he first opposed. As soon as Henry II was elected king, on 7 June, 1002, Heribert acknowledged him as such, accompanied him to Rome in 1004, mediated between him and the House of Luxemburg, and served him faithfully in many other ways; but he never won his entire confidence until the year 1021, when the king saw his mistake and humbly begged pardon on the archbishop. Heribert founded and richly endowed the Benedictine monastery and church of Deutz, where he lies buried. He was already honoured as a saint during his lifetime. Between 1073 and 1075 he was canonized by Pope Gregory VII. His feast is celebrated on 16 March. source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis “When God sees a person who continually prays for something, He is moved.” Homily

Pope at Mass:
‘Prayer requires courage and patience’
In his homily at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflects on the power of prayer, starting with the dialogue between God and Moses. “Courage and patience”, according to Pope Francis, are the two linchpins of prayer, which must be raised up to God “in freedom, like children”. The Holy Father made the comments in his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. He took as his starting point the first reading from the Book of Exodus, which tells of the conversation between the Lord and Moses regarding the apostasy of God’s people.
Moses refuses to be deviated
The prophet tries to dissuade the Lord from acting on his “blazing wrath” against His people, who “had forsaken the glory of the living God to worship a golden calf.” In Moses’ bold dialogue, he reminds God of all He had done for his people, bringing them out of slavery in Egypt, and of the faithfulness of Abraham and Isaac. In this “face-to-face” encounter, the Pope said, Moses’ preoccupation and love for God’s people is evident. He is not afraid to tell the truth and does not enter into the “deviation game”. “God appreciates this”, said Pope Francis. “When God sees a person who continually prays for something, He is moved.”
“No tangents. I am with the people, and I am with You. This is intercessory prayer: a prayer that argues and has the courage to speak directly to the face of the Lord, who is patient. Patience is needed in intercessory prayer. We cannot promise someone we will pray for them, pray only an Our Father and a Hail Mary, and then leave it at that. No. If you agree to pray for someone else, you must take this [other] path. And patience is needed.”
Patience and constancy in prayer
In daily life, the Holy Father said, unfortunately there are many cases of managers ready to sacrifice an organization in order to save their own interests and to make a profit. But Moses refused to go off on a “tangent”; he is with the people and fights for them. Scripture, Pope Francis said, is full of good examples of constancy and the capacity to be patient, such as the Canaanite woman and the blind Bartimaeus of Jericho.
“Two things are needed for intercessory prayer: courage, or parrhesia, and patience. If I want the Lord to listen to my requests, I must return, and return again, to knock at the door of God’s heart, since my own heart is committed to [this petition]! But if my heart is not concerned for this need, or the person for whom I am praying, neither will it be capable of courage and patience.”
To have a concerned heart
Finally, Pope Francis pointed out the “path of intercessory prayer”. He said it means being concerned for others and willing to fight, strive, and fast for them.
“May the Lord give us this grace: The grace to pray before God in freedom, like children; to pray with insistence; to pray with patience; but, above all, to pray in the knowledge that I am speaking with my Father, who will listen to me. May the Lord help us to advance in this form of intercessory prayer.”
Text Source: Vatican News

Scholarly Insight into "True Religion and Personalism" by Dr. Gary D. Knight - A Leap of Faith

True Religion and Personalism

by Dr. Gary D. Knight

Abstract: Religion, especially the mandate “act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly before God” is personal and personalist, indeed Judeo-Christian humanist, in a sense that encompasses the philosophical. Philosophy has long had trouble receiving from religion (“we will hear from you again”), in part from a preoccupation with reductive science. We undertake here to reconsider how rich is a religion ‘of the Person’ stemming from the personhood of God, and outline how that perspective helped forebears like the Magi, or St. Augustine or St. Anselm - on their own search of ‘science’ as philosophical knowledge - to realize much more than they might without it.

Aside from logic and mathematics, the mind of ‘science‘ is less receptive today than a century ago to philosophy, forcing a self-conscious uphill trek to speak to physical science. The mysteries of relativity and of quantum theories seemed to invite the philosopher: time-space marriage, symmetry, causality, simultaneity, ghostly Casimir forces, Fermi repulsion or Bose condensation, vacuum states and entanglements with action at a distance, showed promise for metaphysics to raise its reputation from academic disputations. But as physical science came into greater need of philosophical clarity, interpretations became dismayingly hazier, from multi-world instantiations of selves, to retreats to empiricism.

With the value of natural philosophy in the balance, it is rare for the philosopher to aver that religion, a mistress from previous generations, may have much to say, and not only to the ‘semiotic’ contests of ethical systems.

It is fruitful to revisit encounters between religion and philosophy as science in the general sense of derived knowledge. For especially in a quest to understand the nature of persons and personalism, religion has much to say to a philosophy that risks becoming too attuned to the strictures of physical law and surface consistency.

True religion undefiled is: to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly before your God. It’s fair to exclaim, what could be more personalist?

As woven together [James 1:18 and Micah 6:8], James addresses what is pure and undefiled, especially justice and mercy to the most vulnerable; while Micah declares what God wants extended to all and everywhere: vulnerable or strong, near or far.

We will see that every part of this counsel expresses personalism in a pure form, not only because it comes from the mouths of prophet or apostle, personally addressing readers of scroll or letter. Personalism is at the message's heart, the heart of the Lord.

A philosophy is personalist to the extent of its interest in the nature of persons. But all wise counsels of the form ‘people are more important than things’ or ‘the sabbath was made for man’ are personalist: they elevate man in man’s eyes.

In the paradigm considered: to humbly love and act justly, the second term unlocks the rest. ‘Love tenderly’ is certainly personal, and it expresses personalism at its best. Nearly all Bible redactions have “love kindness” or “love mercy” in translation of ahavat chesed: the embrace of lovingkindness (cf. Micah 6:8, Orthodox Jewish Bible: OJB). Lovingkindness endears all humans, not just those near in relation or in body.

The bracketing terms are less obviously personalist. Justice can be viewed in a retributive sense (do the forbidden and face consequences), or a distributive one (give to each what is due, or to all what is indebted). The first is imposingly personal; the second if arguably personalist is not especially personal in its scope.

Humility before God, to a reader of Micah or James, is a no-brainer. What right mind would vaunt itself before its maker? Yet however; where lies this caveat’s personalism?

Delving further will bring a recognition that true religion is a religion of the Person. Acceptable to God is less a religion of book, creed, code, rite and ritual, bell and candle, than true religion of Personhood.

Religion in seven paragraphs

It is apt to ask what is ‘religion’, prima facie, and what comprises its truth as opposed to say guile, conceit or sophistry which may win acclaim even in a pulpit. If a political cause is religiously pursued, what distinguishes its verve from patriotic pluck: when is patriotism a pious civic virtue or a mass trust in fad? Are social ideologies religious, or are they mandates of an imperative whose category is social credit or contract?

A brief essay on personalism cannot treat the vastness of political theory, still less philosophy of religion. But for our purpose religion, operating even within political or secular ideologies, has an accepted meaning.

What binds in concord of mind and fervent belief we call religion. Its root, ligare connotes interpersonal bond, with implicit commitment and faithfulness. These implicates are personalist: for even if the object is ‘gods’ to whom fideism is paid, what draws persons to the shared ideal perforce ties them together, in dedicated relation.

A ‘god’ in religion can be the impersonal state, as in atheistic materialism, no less subject to a personalist evaluation. Secular ideologies tend to be held religiously, have their ardent adherents and priestly classes, and undertake to proselytize. Some posing as indifferent to religion, are fervent in this indifferentism. Pope Leo XIII equated indifferentist pluralism to atheism, which too is a religion: its non-theist ideal being the adherent’s or some other’s paradigmatic brain states.

As religion is necessarily broad, little or nothing at the heart of human culture is absent religious fervour: to reduce culture to language or shared racial memory is thus radically impoverished. Nations are built on religious glue, and dissolve with it too.

Religion enjoins personal devotions that signify covenantal commitment, swearing to “cross my heart and hope to die”, or to “seven myself”. The latter renders the Hebrew root for ‘seven’, ‘sabbath’, ‘swear’, ‘satisfy’, and ‘complete’, calling every seventh day to mark completion in God’s rest. Jesus underscored it at the bloody culmination of His redemptive work, saying ‘it is complete’. Augustine marked it saying “we are restless till we rest in Thee”.

There are then degrees of truth and purity to religion, and the highest standards if personalist. To minister to others morally at least as well as physically is key to its value. The Samaritan exemplifies it in salving wounds, but not only: also in affirming his charge’s humanity.

With a broad scope of religion so essential to human concourse, what God propounds is ‘true religion and undefiled’. Implicitly, some is truer, some purer, some fuller. On these scales, what in religion is less personalist is less complete and more impoverished.

Resting at Jacob’s well, Jesus adduced that God will have heartfelt worship neither there (alone) nor Jerusalem (alone), but from every person “in spirit and truth”.  Jews in diaspora have long known this, as have so many Christians in missions or prisons.

Jesus qualified: “not those who say Lord, Lord, will enter, but those who do God’s will.” His will, declares Micah and James, is humbly to be just and loving to persons. “Be holy, as your heavenly Father is holy” cites God’s own Personhood. Whatever is less, in notions of good and right, depreciates what is achievable with grace: it ‘defiles' true devotion to persons. It sullies the Name to whom all should be drawn by the ministrations of persons.

That God has a Name to be glorified needs remembering; because a name, not an idea, is personal. To show abroad God’s personal love, one must undertake to love as He. In exemplary love, He acts not only justly but goes so far as to ‘justify’ others whom no-one else is able, or wants to.

Justice .. its personalist connection with lovingkindness

The mandate already seen is to be not minimalist in kindness, but to embrace lovingkindness. The phrase ‘love tenderly’ relates ‘tenderness’ as not only gentle (and certainly not diffident) but carefully tendered. It is full of assiduous care, born of empathy for another; and it is tendered: readily offered to any.  

“Who is my neighbour?” was the question. A foreign alien who with compassion went to galling cost to wash the wounds of an assaulted traveller not even friendly to him, was his fellow. The paradigm ties caring directly to justice: it’s what God considers as owed to persons.

Justice zealously guards natural rights, the remnant of order in men’s souls. After lost rectitude of appetite, clarity of mind, and soundness of will, natural law is but a remnant order. Natural it is, not as pertaining to proclivity (which isn’t saving), but inasmuch as what’s left of innocence is embedded in the conscience.

Pleas to justice presume an awake conscience where debts of compassion speak loudly and cannot be ignored. Unsurpassed was Jesus’ own compassion, weeping over the slumber of conscience, doing all He could to revive it before sleep might snatch it away. Conscience is a vital faculty of the created soul; being kept awake is its due.

A thief embraced the Lordly words “forgive them, they know not what they do.” In repenting he ministered to Christ, as person ought to do to person, and heard “today you will be with me in paradise”. Assiduous care and balm of Gilead was laid on this livid soul of Dismas !

Mercy we almost expect or presume-on; but aversion to injustice is required. If personhood puts everyone on mutual account, it’s no different with God. The loving heart of the gospel has a key: the return of love, out of aversion for what injustice offends the Beloved.

Justice is a sine qua non whose neglect must be repented. A narcotized conscience, like the unrepentant thief, is lethal; but worse yet is to neglect a conscience that’s awake. For then it cannot be said “they know not what they do”.

To give what is due, care is needed to discern what, in God’s eyes, is due to someone of whom we think less. A tycoon thought Lazarus was due what he could scrape from gleanings at his door. He didn’t cast the beggar from his street; that should be worth something. But no, Lazarus was due a compassionate and generous spirit.

Justice is alive if personalist, lest law shame its Author by amounting to a dead letter. When retributive, it requires moderation by equity, a juridical virtue. If distributive, payers of tax or civic duties should find respect and appreciation for their part, even if enforced as a penalty.

At a minimum any system of levies must be humane and fair: to God is due our mutual affection, to Caesar his stamped coin. Thus lovingkindness justly applied: from contract labour to debt repayment, demands relief to mitigate all taint of slavery.

The law was to relieve a debt’s dues on its seventh year, and all indebtedness after seven sevens. The injunction to “lend without interest” didn’t obstruct trade, a force for employment: indeed astute investors with money exchangers were praised. But a dire peril lies in individualist interests: reason enough that pursuit of one’s fiduciary goals is discountenanced on the sabbath.

Jesus went on, enjoined forgiveness of moral dues until the debt might not even be claimed. Certainly that was a rebuff of ministrations whose purpose is not brotherly aid. Lawyers were shown up who ducked behind ‘policy' to abrogate the divine and natural law, overseeing the needs of elders (no state policy under natural justice can take precedence over personalist moral obligations).

In summary, justice before God is fully personalist and keeps persons ever forefront in mind. States who neglect to support and encourage it, pridefully dismissing natural rights, cannot long stand. All states, made and remade, are creatures subject to Personhood, especially God’s.

#BreakingNews Poland brings into Law Closure of Shops on Sundays

A new Polish law has come into effect that sees almost businesses closed on Sundays. Thus, large supermarkets and most other retailers will be closed for the first time since liberal shopping laws were introduced in the 1990s after communism's end.
Germany and Austria, people have long continued the practice of closing on Sundays. This allows for employees to attend worship services and for quality time with family and friends. The law was proposed by the trade union, Solidarity, and found the support of the conservative and pro-Catholic ruling party. More than 90 per cent of Poles belong, have welcomed the change.
The new law at first bans trade two Sundays per month, but steps it up to three Sundays in 2019 and finally all Sundays in 2020, except for seven exceptions before the Easter and Christmas holidays.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the average Polish employee worked 1,928 hours in 2016.
 There are some exceptions to the ban; gas stations, cafes, ice cream parlours, pharmacies and some other businesses are allowed to keep operating Sundays. Stores at airports and train stations will also be allowed to open, but only on the condition that only the owners themselves work. Anyone infringing the new rules faces a fine of up to 100,000 zlotys ($29,500), while repeat offenders may face a prison sentence. 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday March 15, 2018 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 247

Reading 1EX 32:7-14

The LORD said to Moses,
"Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
'This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'
The LORD said to Moses,
"I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation."

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
'With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth'?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people. 
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial PsalmPS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Verse Before The GospelJN 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

GospelJN 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews: 
"If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John's.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

"I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me. 
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?"

#BreakingNews Taliban Attacks Religious Gathering - Suicide Bomber Kills 9 - Please Pray

Lahore, Taliban kamikaze attacks a religious gathering: 9 dead

An teenager blew himself up at the police station in Nisar. Police were deployed for the safety of a meeting at the Tableeghi Jamaat center. Maximum alert for Pakistan Super League cricket semi-final. 

Lahore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least people are 9 dead, including five policemen, after a suicide attack yesterday in Lahore, in the Raiwind area. The bomber blew himself up shortly after nine o'clock last night in front of the Nisar checkpoint, erected for the safety of a religious gathering that was taking place at that time. The incident was claimed by the terrorist group Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which threatened new attacks on security forces.
The Department for Anti-Terrorism is investigating the attack. In addition to the victims, 25 injured are hospitalized, including 14 critically ill policemen. Haider Ashraf, Deputy Inspector General of Police, said that "an adolescent blew himself up at a checkpoint near the center of the Tableeghi Jamaat". The group – in English "Society for the diffusion of faith" - is a transnational and apolitical religious movement, whose goal is a spiritual reform of Islam. It organizes a pilgrimage every year, at the gates of Dhaka, named Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest in the world after the Hajj, attended by millions of faithful who pray for well-being and peace.  
This morning, the funeral of the five agents killed took place at the Lahore police station. They were praised as "martyrs". The chief minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, brother of former premier Nawaz Sharif who was ousted by the Supreme Court for his involvement in a corruption scandal, was also present. Immediately after the explosion rumors spread that the young bomber, whose name and identity is unknown, was attempting to hit the residence of Nawaz, located a few kilometres from the accident site.
Instead, as the hours passed, it emerged that the teenager wanted to target security personnel. In fact the city’s security is in the spotlight, a week ahead of the Pakistan Super League cricket semifinals that should be played at Gaddafi Stadium. The attack is the first explosion to hit the city of Lahore in 2018; last year here there were numerous attacks that caused the death of more than 60 people.
Text Source: Asia News IT