Thousands of Pro-Lifer's participated in the National March for Life on Thursday, May 10, 2018. The crowd was addressed on Parliament Hill by two Catholic Cardinals, one MP and the head of a Parental Rights Group. There were about 75-100 counter-protesters; these caused the pro-lifers to turn around and re-route. Cardinal Collins of Toronto said to the marchers:
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Pope Francis "...courage and sincerity in bearing witness to the truth and at the same time trusting in God and in his mercy." FULL TEXT
MEETING WITH THE COMMUNITY OF MOVEMENTS OF THE FOCOLARI
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Churchyard of the Sanctuary Maria Theotokos in Loppiano (Florence)
Thursday, 10 May 2018
Dear Brother Bishops,
and all of you,
Thanks for welcoming us! I greet you all and everyone, and I thank Maria Voce for her introduction ... clear, all very clear! Yes, he sees that he has clear ideas!
I am very happy to be here today among you here in Loppiano, this little "city" known in the world because it was born of the Gospel and of the Gospel wants to feed itself. And for this reason it is recognized as its own city of election and inspiration by many who are disciples of Jesus, even by brothers and sisters of other religions and convictions. In Loppiano everyone feels at home!
I wanted to come and visit her also because, as she pointed out to her as the inspirer, the servant of God Chiara Lubich, wants to be an illustration of the Church's mission today, as the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council traced it. And I rejoice to dialogue with you to put more and more into focus, listening to God's plan, the Loppiano project at the service of the new stage of witness and proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus to which the Holy Spirit is calling us today.
I knew the questions, of course! And now I answer the questions. I've included all of them here.
Holy Father good morning, we have just heard Maria Voce speak of a law of Loppiano: mutual love, the new commandment of the Gospel. And in these years we took it very seriously and we tried to ensure that it was not only a private commitment, but a collective commitment, of all. That Loppiano was founded on this commitment to live mutual love; so much so that, again in 1980, a bit 'of years ago, when we were a bit' younger, and so many people were then - and I'm here today -, Chiara has proposed us to make a real deal: that is, to write this commitment, and to sign it. And we renew it every day, and we propose it to the people who come, even for a single day, because it is only in this way that we become citizens of Loppiano.
Holy Father, living the new commandment is the starting point of our Christian life and it is also the point of arrival: the goal to which we want to aim.
After the period of the foundation lived with Chiara, we are now living a new phase. The time of enthusiasm may have passed for some; it is certainly more difficult to identify the ways to go to give incarnation to the prophecy of the beginnings. How to live, Holy Father, this moment?
The first question you ask me, "pioneers" of Loppiano, who first, more than 50 years ago, and then gradually in the following decades, you launched in this adventure, leaving your lands, your houses and your places of work to come here to spend your life and realize this dream. First of all thank you, thank you for what you did, thank you for your faith in Jesus! It is He who did this miracle, and you [you have] put faith. And faith lets Jesus work. This is why faith works miracles, because it gives way to Jesus, and He works miracles one after the other. That's life!
To you "pioneers", and to all the inhabitants of Loppiano, I spontaneously repeat the words that the Letter to the Hebrews addresses to a Christian community that lived a stage of its journey similar to yours. The Letter to the Hebrews says: "Call to mind those first days: after having received the light of Christ, you had to endure a great and painful struggle [...]. In fact [...] you have gladly accepted to be deprived of your substances, knowing that you possess better and lasting goods. Do not abandon your frankness - your parrhesia, he says - to which a great reward is reserved. You only need perseverance - of hypomoné, it is the word you use, that is to carry the weight of every day on your shoulders - because, having done the will of God, you get what has been promised "(10: 32-36).
These are two key words, but in the frame of memory. That "deuteronomic" dimension of life: memory. When I do not say a Christian, but a man or a woman, he closes the key to memory, he begins to die. Please, memory. As the author of the Letter to the Hebrews says: "Call to mind those first days ...". With this frame of memory we can live, we can breathe, we can go on, and bear fruit. But if you have no memory ... The fruits of the tree are possible because the tree has roots: it is not an uprooted one. But if you have no memory, you are an uprooted, uprooted, there will be no fruit. Memory: this it is the frame of life. Here are two key words of the journey of the Christian community in this text: parrhesia and hypomoné. Courage, frankness, and endure, persevere, carry the weight of every day on your shoulders. Parresia, in the New Testament, says the style of life of the disciples of Jesus: courage and sincerity in bearing witness to the truth and at the same time trusting in God and in his mercy. Prayer must also be with parrhesia. Say things to God "in the face", with courage. Think about how our father Abraham prayed, when he had the courage to ask God to "negotiate" on the number of the righteous in Sodom: "And if they were thirty? ... And if they were twenty-five? ... And if they were fifteen ? ... "That courage to fight with God! And the courage of Moses, the great friend of God, who says to his face: "If you destroy this people, destroy me too". Courage. Fight with God in prayer. It wants parresia, parresia in life, in action, and also in prayer. Parrhesia expresses the fundamental quality of Christian life: to have the heart turned to God, to believe in his love (cf. 1 Jn 4:16), because his love drives away all false fear, every temptation to hide in quiet life, in respectability or even in a subtle hypocrisy.
All woodworms that ruin the soul. It is necessary to ask the Holy Spirit for frankness, courage, parresia - always united with respect and tenderness - in witnessing to the great and beautiful works of God, which He accomplishes in us and in our midst. And even in relationships within the community one must always be sincere, open, frank, not fearful or lazy or hypocritical. No, open. Do not stand aside, to sow discord, murmur, but strive to live as sincere and courageous disciples in love and truth. This sowing discord, you know, destroys the Church, destroys the community, destroys one's life, because it also poisons you. And those who live by chatter, who always go murmuring about each other, I like to say - I see it so - that they are "terrorists", because they talk about others; but to talk about someone to destroy it is to do like the terrorist: he goes with the bomb, throws it, destroys it, and then goes quiet.
No. Open, constructive, courageous in charity. And then the other word: hypomoné, which we can translate as under-being, to endure. Staying and learning to live the demanding situations that life presents to us. With this term the Apostle Paul expresses constancy and firmness in carrying forward the choice of God and new life in Christ.
It is a matter of keeping this choice firm, even at the cost of difficulty and opposition, knowing that this constancy, this firmness and this patience produce hope. This is what Paul says. And hope does not disappoint (cf. Rom 5: 3-5). Put this in your head: hope never disappoints! Never disappoint! For the Apostle the foundation of perseverance is the love of God poured into our hearts with the gift of the Spirit, a love that precedes us and enables us to live with tenacity, serenity, positivity, fantasy ... and also with a little humor, even in the most difficult moments. Ask for the grace of humor. It is the human attitude that comes closest to the grace of God. Humor. I met a holy priest, busy up to the hair of things to do - he went, he went ... - but never stopped smiling. And because he had this sense of humor, those who knew him said of him: "But this is able to laugh at others, to laugh at himself and even laugh at his own shadow!" So is humor! The Letter to the Hebrews also invites us to "recall those first days", that is, to rekindle in our hearts and mind the fire of the experience from which everything was born. Chiara Lubich has heard from God the impetus to give birth to Loppiano - and then the other citadels that have arisen in various parts of the world - contemplating, one day, the Benedictine abbey of Einsiedeln, with its church and the cloister of the monks, but also with the library, the carpentry, the fields ... There, in the abbey, God is at the center of life, in prayer and in the celebration of the Eucharist, from which fraternity, work, culture, irradiation in the midst of the people of light and social energy of the Gospel. And so Chiara, contemplating the abbey, was urged to give life to something similar, in a new and modern form, in harmony with Vatican II, starting from the charism of unity: a sketch of a new city in the spirit of the Gospel.
A city in which the beauty of the People of God stands out first of all, in the richness and variety of its members, of the different vocations, of social and cultural expressions, each in dialogue and at the service of all. A city that has its heart in the Eucharist, the source of unity and life that is always new, and which presents itself to the eyes of those who visit it also in its lay and working, inclusive and open garb: with work of the land, the activities of the enterprise and industry, the training schools, the homes for hospitality and the elderly, the artistic ateliers, the musical complexes, the modern means of communication ... A family in which everyone recognizes children and daughters of the only Father, committed to living the commandment of mutual love among themselves and towards everyone. Not to be quiet outside the world, but to go out, to meet, to take care, to throw the leaven of the Gospel into the pulp of society, especially where it is most needed, where the joy of the Gospel is expected and invoked: in poverty, in suffering, in trial, in research, in doubt. The charism of unity is a providential stimulus and a powerful help to live this evangelical mystique of us, that is, to walk together in the history of the men and women of our time as "one heart and one soul" (cf. 4,32), discovering and loving each other concretely as "members of one another" (cf. Rom 12: 5). This is why Jesus prayed to the Father: "that all may be one as you and I are one" (Jn 17:21), and he showed us in Himself the way up to the complete gift of everything in the abysmal emptying of the cross (cf. Mk 15,34, Phil 2: 6-8). It is that spirituality of "us". You can do yourself, and others too, to joke, a test. A priest who is here - more or less hidden - did this test to me. He told me: "Tell me, father, what is the opposite of 'I', the opposite of 'I'? And I fell into the trap, and immediately I said: 'You'. And he told me: "No, the opposite of every individualism, both of the self and of the you, is 'us'. The opposite is us ". It is this spirituality of us, that which you must carry forward, which saves us from all selfishness and selfish interest. The spirituality of us. It is not only a spiritual fact, but a concrete reality with formidable consequences - if we live it and we decline its dimensions with authenticity and courage - at a social, cultural, political, economic level ... Jesus has redeemed not only the individual, but also the social relation (cfr Esort.ap Evangelii gaudium, 178). Taking this fact seriously means shaping a new face of the city of men according to God's plan of love. Loppiano is called to be this. And he can try, with confidence and realism, to become better and better. This is the essential. And from here we must always start again. This is the answer to the first question: to always start again, but from this reality, which is alive. Not from theories, no, from reality, from how we live. And when reality is lived authentically, it is just a link in this chain that helps us to move forward.
Question n. 2
Good morning, Pope Francis! I'm Xavier and I'm from Colombia. First of all thank you for your concrete love for our suffering people and for the hope it gives us. I am studying for a master's degree in Economics and Politics at the Sophia University Institute, which is based here in Loppiano. Dear Pope Francis, I greet you at the General Assembly of the Focolare (2014) you invited us to "make school" to "train new men and women on the measure of the humanity of Jesus". Loppiano wants to be a "city-school" where are not the roles, nor the differences in age or culture, but only the love between us that manages to build each other. We want Jesus, God-with-his-People, to educate and send us into the world. What fresh and creative contribution do you think can develop the training schools present here in Loppiano and an academic reality such as "Sophia" to build leadership that is able to open new paths?
In Loppiano we live the experience of walking together, with a synodal style, as People of God. And this is the solid and indispensable basis of everything: the school of the People of God where the teacher and guide is the only Master (cf. Mt 23,10) and where the dynamic is that of mutual listening and the exchange of gifts among all. From here they can draw new impulse, enriching themselves with the fantasy of love and opening themselves to the solicitations of the Spirit and of history, the paths of formation that have flourished in Loppiano from the charism of unity: spiritual formation to the different vocations; training for work, for economic and political action; the formation of dialogue, in its various ecumenical and interreligious expressions and with people of different convictions; ecclesial and cultural formation. And this at the service of all, with the gaze that embraces all of humanity, beginning with those who in any way are relegated to the peripheries of existence. Loppiano open city, Loppiano city outgoing. In Loppiano there are no suburbs. It is a great wealth to be able to dispose of all these training centers in Loppiano. It is a great wealth! I suggest that you give them new impetus, opening them on wider horizons and projecting them onto the frontiers. It is essential, in particular, fine-tune the training project that connects the individual paths that most concretely affect children, young people, families and people in the various vocations. The basis and key of everything is the "formative pact", which is at the base of each of these paths and which has in its proximity and dialogue its privileged method. And here is a word that for me is also key: "proximity". One can not be a Christian without being near, without having an attitude of proximity, because proximity is what God did when he sent the Son. First God had done it when he led the people of Israel and asked the people: "Tell me, have you seen another people who have gods so close as I am near you?". So God asks. Proximity, proximity. And then, when he sends the Son to get closer - one of us - to come closer.
This word is key in Christianity and in your charism. Proximity. We must then educate ourselves to exercise the three languages together: the head, the heart and the hands. It is necessary to learn to think well, to feel good and to work well. Yes, even work, because it - as Fr Pasquale Foresi wrote, which played a central role in the realization of Loppiano's design - "is not only a means to live, but is something inherent in our being a human person, and therefore also a means to know reality, to understand life: it is a tool for real and effective human formation ". This is important - the three languages - because we have inherited from the Enlightenment this idea - unhealthy - that education is to fill the head with concepts. And the more you know, you'll be better.
No. Education must touch the head, the heart and the hands. Educating to think well, not only to learn concepts, but to think well; educate to feel good; educate to do well. So that these three languages are interconnected: that you think what you feel and do, you feel what you think and do, you do what you feel and think, in unity. This is educating. The incisiveness and projection on a large scale of this promising commitment attest two incidents of the realities that have arisen in Loppiano in recent years: the "Lionello Bonfanti" business hub, center for training and dissemination of the civil and communion economy; and the academic experience at the frontier of the Sophia University Institute, erected by the Holy See, of which a local office - I am very pleased - will soon be activated in Latin America. It is important that in Loppiano there is a university center for those who - as its name says - seek Wisdom and set the goal of building a culture of unity. Culture of unity. I did not say uniformity. No. Uniformity is the opposite of unity! It reflects, starting from its founding inspiration, the lines I traced in the recent Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium, inviting a wise and courageous renewal of academic studies. And this to offer a competent and prophetic contribution to the missionary transformation of the Church and to the vision of our planet as a single homeland and of humanity as one people, made up of many peoples, who inhabits a common home. Come on, come on like this!
Question n. 3
Loppiano does not want to remain closed in itself, wants to contribute to building a more united world. So here with us today, Holy Father, there are some migrant friends, who have had to leave their homes, their homes, their countries of their origins but they have found their home in Loppiano. Good morning Holy Father, we come from the Ivory Coast, from Mali, from Cameroon, from Nigeria, and after a long journey from our countries we arrived in Italy and then moved to Loppiano. For over a year we have lived side by side, we are from different countries, languages and traditions, Muslim and Christian religions of different Churches. One can imagine that life in our home was not easy. Loppiano's life has helped us to overcome difficulties and see ourselves as brothers. "Beginning" was a word that helped us a lot. I take this opportunity to thank all the Italian authorities who have welcomed us. For us to be here and to be able to read this greeting and to thank her is a great honor. She is in our prayers. Holy Father, in the more than 50 years of Loppiano's life, Chiara Lubich has given different definitions: City Gospel and City school, City on the mountain and City of joy, City of dialogue and Mariapolis, City of Mary: they are all expressions that have accompanied and continue to accompany our steps. So today we would like to ask you, Holy Father, a word too. What is our "mission" in the stage of the new evangelization, but also what answer can we give to the challenges of our time as an opportunity for growth for all?
I want to look up at the horizon and invite you to lift it up with me, to look with trustful fidelity and with creative generous to the future that begins today. The story of Loppiano is nothing but the beginning. You are at the beginning. It is a small seed thrown into the furrows of history and already germinated luxuriantly, but which must put strong roots and bear substantial fruit, at the service of the mission of proclamation and incarnation of the Gospel of Jesus that the Church today is called to live. And this calls for humility, openness, synergy, risk capacity. We must use all this: humility and risk capacity, together, openness and synergy. The urgencies, often dramatic, that challenge us from all sides can not leave us quiet, but they ask us the best, always trusting in the grace of God. In the change of era we are living - it is not an era of change, but a change of epoch - we must commit ourselves not only to the encounter between people, cultures and peoples and to an alliance between civilizations, but to win together the epochal challenge of building a shared culture of encounter and a global civilization of the covenant . Like a rainbow of colors in which the white light of God's love unfolds in a fan! And to do this we need men and women - young people, families, people of all vocations and professions - who are able to trace new paths to travel together. The Gospel is always new, always. And in this Easter time the Church has often told us that the Resurrection of Jesus brings us youth and makes us ask for this renewed youth. Always keep going with creativity. The challenge is that of creative fidelity: to be faithful to the original inspiration and together be open to the breath of the Holy Spirit and courageously undertake the new ways that He suggests. For me - and I advise you to do so - the greatest example is what we can read in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles: look how they have been able to remain faithful to the teaching of Jesus and have the courage to do so many "crazy things" "Because they made it, going everywhere. Because? They knew how to combine this creative fidelity. Read this text of Scripture, not once, two, three four, five or six times, for there you will find the path of this creative fidelity. The Holy Spirit, not our common sense, not our pragmatic capabilities, not our limited ways of seeing.
No, go on with the breath of the Spirit. But how do you know and follow the Holy Spirit? Practicing community discernment. That is, gathering in assembly around the risen Jesus, the Lord and Teacher, to listen to what the Spirit is telling us today as a Christian community (see Revelation 2: 7) and to discover together, in this atmosphere, the call that God makes us hear in the historical situation in which we find ourselves living the Gospel. It is necessary to listen to God until we hear the cry of the People with Him, and we need to listen to the People until we breathe the will to which God calls us. The disciples of Jesus must be contemplatives of the Word and contemplatives of the People of God. We are all called to become artisans of community discernment. It is not easy to do it, but we must do it if we want to have this creative fidelity, if we want to be docile to the Spirit. This is the way for Loppiano to discover and follow God's way step by step in the service of the Church and of society.
* * * * *
Before concluding, thanks again to all of you for the reception and the party! And together one last thing that I care to tell you. We are gathered here in front of the Sanctuary of Maria Theotokos. We are under the gaze of Mary. Also in this there is a harmony between Vatican II and the Focolare charism, whose official name for the Church is the Work of Mary. November 21, 1964, at the conclusion of the third session of the Council, Blessed Paul VI proclaimed Mary "Mother of the Church". I myself wanted to establish this year the liturgical memorial, which will be celebrated for the first time on May 21st, Monday after Pentecost. Mary is the Mother of Jesus and is, in him, the Mother of us all: the Mother of unity. The Shrine dedicated to her here in Loppiano is an invitation to put us in the school of Mary to learn to know Jesus, to live with Jesus and of Jesus present in each one of us and in our midst. And do not forget that Maria was a lay person, she was a lay person. The first disciple of Jesus, his mother, was a lay person. There is a great inspiration here. And a beautiful exercise that we can do, I challenge you to do it, is to take [in the Gospel] the most conflicting episodes of the life of Jesus and to see - as in Cana, for example - how Mary reacts. Maria takes the floor and intervenes. "But, father, [these episodes] are not all in the Gospel ...". And you imagine, imagine that the Mother was there, that she saw this ... How would Maria have reacted to this? This is a real school to keep going. Because she is the woman of fidelity, the woman of creativity, the woman of courage, the woman of patience, the woman of enduring things. Always look at this, this lay, first disciple of Jesus, as he reacted in all the conflicting episodes of his son's life. It will help you a lot. And do not forget to pray for me because I need it. Thank you!
Pope Francis " Faced with a world that is sometimes hostile to the ideals preached by Christ, do not hesitate to respond with the joyful and serene witness..."
IN NOMADELFIA, IN THE DIOCESE OF GROSSETO,
WHERE WILL MEET THE COMMUNITY FOUNDED BY DON ZENO SALTINI;
(Nomadelfia is a group, which started in 1948, that lives according to the Gospel with no private ownership of property and cares for abandoned children)
MEETING WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY OF DON ZENO SALTINI
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Thursday, 10 May 2018
Dear brothers and sisters of Nomadelfia!
I came here among you in memory of Don Zeno Saltini and to express my encouragement to your community founded by him. I greet you all with affection: your President Francesco Matterazzo, the parish priest Fr Ferdinando Neri, the many friends and the Bishop of Grosseto, in whose diocese you are inserted and who follows the path of Don Zeno's work with care. Nomadelfia is a prophetic reality that aims to realize a new civilization, implementing the Gospel as a form of good and beautiful life.
Your Founder dedicated himself with apostolic zeal to prepare the ground for the seed of the Gospel, so that he could bring forth fruits of new life. Raised in the fields of the fertile plains of Emilia, he knew that when the appropriate season arrives, it is time to put his hand to the plow and prepare the soil for sowing. He was impressed by the sentence of Jesus: "No one who puts his hand to the plow and then turns back is suitable for the kingdom of God" (Lk 9,62). He repeated it often, perhaps presaging the difficulties he would encounter to embody, in the concreteness of daily life, the renewing power of the Gospel.
The law of fraternity, which characterizes your life, was the dream and the objective of the whole life of Don Zeno, who wanted a community of life inspired by the model outlined in the Acts of the Apostles: "The multitude of those who were having become believers they had only one heart and one soul, and no one considered his property to be his own, but among them everything was common "(Acts 4:32). I urge you to continue this style of life, trusting in the power of the Gospel and of the Holy Spirit, through your limpid Christian witness.
Faced with the suffering of children who were orphaned or affected by discomfort, Don Zeno understood that the only language they understood was that of love. Therefore, he knew how to identify a peculiar form of society where there is no room for isolation or loneliness, but the principle of collaboration between different families is in force, where the members recognize themselves as brothers in the faith. Thus in Nomadelfia, in response to a special vocation of the Lord, bonds are established that are much more solid than those of kinship. A consanguinity with Jesus is carried out, proper to those who have been reborn from the water and the Holy Spirit and according to the words of the divine Master: "Whoever does God's will is for me brother, sister and mother" (Mc 3,35 ). This special bond of consanguinity and familiarity, is also manifested by the mutual relations between people: all are called by name, never with the surname, and in everyday relations we use the confidential "you".
I also want to underline another prophetic sign, a sign of great humanity of Nomadelfia: it is about loving attention to the elderly who, even when they do not enjoy good health, remain in the family and are supported by the brothers and sisters of the whole community . Continue on this path, embodying the model of fraternal love, also through visible works and signs, in the many contexts where evangelical charity calls you, but always preserving the spirit of Don Zeno who wanted a "light" and essential Nomadelfia in its structures . Faced with a world that is sometimes hostile to the ideals preached by Christ, do not hesitate to respond with the joyful and serene witness of your life, inspired by the Gospel.
Thank you so much for the warmth and the family atmosphere with which you welcomed me. It was a brief meeting but full of meaning and emotion; I will take it with me, especially in prayer. I will bring your faces: the faces of a large family with the pure flavor of the Gospel.
And now, enjoying the joy of being all brothers because we are children of the heavenly Father, let us recite our Father together.
Recital of the Our Father
And now I impart to all of you, to your families, to your loved ones the Apostolic Blessing, invoking upon each one the light and the power of the Holy Spirit.
And pray for me, do not forget.
* * *
Thank you so much for the welcome. And for the gifts, which are "family gifts", this is very important: they are gifts that come from the heart, from the family, from here; simple, but rich in meaning.
Thank you very much! Thank you for welcoming, for your joy.
And go ahead! Thank you.
March for Life Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral with several Bishops was Packed and heard a touching Pro-Life Homily
The Annual Canadian March for Life in Canada was held on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in the nation's capital of Ottawa. This year's March brought about 10,000-15,000 people according to organizer Jim Hughes. Several smaller marches are also held throughout the country. Every year several Masses are held throughout the city to accomodate the large number of Catholics gathered. This year's main Mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame was filled with many youth and various clergy and religious. The main presider was Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa; with him were several other Bishops and clergy. At the Basilica, St. Patrick's Cardinal Collins presided to another packed Church. The Bilingual Mass at Notre Dame received a touching homily by Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd (pic left with Pope Francis) of Montreal. Bishop Dowd related the story of his beloved 94 year old father who recently died. He then related how his sister gave birth to her daughter several weeks prematurely. Despite pressure to abort she gave birth and now their daughter is a beautiful testimony to their choice for life. His sister brought forward the baby to the front of the Cathedral. He also told the story of his brother who was diagnosed with ALS and is struggling with a family of three children. But he noted how the community has come together to support him despite his illness. He encouraged the crowd that "Life is Precious" whether at 94 years old or a baby. The choir, directed by Miriam Westen, was composed of many youth (and adults) coming from all parts of Canada to sing at the March for Life. (pic below) They sang, Ave Verum by Mozart, O Jesu King by Thomas Tallis and a very special Pro-Life Hymn entitled "O Lord, the Giver of all Life" which is set to the tune of "O God our Help in Ages Past". This hymn was written by Mr. Cal Shenk and was released by the Priests for Life. The full lyrics are below and are free to use in parishes.A Pro-life Hymn
O Lord, the Giver of all lifeO Lord, the Giver of all life
Whose ways are ever just,
Your people lift their hearts to you
In praise and prayer and trust.
Protect the lives of those unborn;
Let laws reflect your will;
Give us your strength to work for life,
That man may cease to kill.
Help us to know your will for us;
Give courage for the fight.
Dismiss our doubts; renew our hearts
To struggle for the right.
O Mother of the Crucified,
Who bore the Lord of life,
For ev’ry mother intercede;
Be with us in our strife.
Lord Christ, to whom each soul is dear,
For whom each child has worth,
Receive your children who have died
Before their time of birth.
Blest Trinity, O living God,
To you our prayers ascend:
Bring all at last to dwell with you
Molokai (1999) "Molokai: The Story of Father Damien" (original title) 113 min - Biography | Drama - 17 March 1999 (Belgium) The true story of the 19th century priest who volunteered to go to the island of Molokai, to console and care for the lepers. For Breaking News, Prayers, Inspiration and Free Movies
St. Antonius of Florence
Feast: May 10
|St. Antoninus, or Little Antony, was born at Florence in 1389. His parents, named Nicholas Pierozzi and Thomassina, were noble citizens of that place, and he was the only fruit of their marriage. From the cradle he was modest, bashful, docile, and had no inclination but to piety, being even then an enemy both to sloth and to the amusements of children. It was his only pleasure to read the lives of saints and other good books, to converse with pious persons, or employ himself in prayer, to which he was much given from his infancy. Accordingly, if he was not at home or at school, he was always to be found at St. Michael's church before a crucifix, or in our Lady's chapel there. And whether he applied himself to that holy exercise in his closet or the church, he always kneeled or lay prostrate, with a perseverance that astonished everybody. By the means of a happy memory, a solid judgment, and quick penetration, assisted by an assiduous application, he became an able master at an age when others scarce begin to understand the first elements of the sciences. But his passion for learning was not equal to his ardor to perfect himself in the science of salvation. In prayer, he begged nothing of God but his grace to avoid sin, and to do his holy will in all things. F. Dominic, a learned and holy preacher of the order of St. Dominic, afterwards made cardinal, archbishop of Ragusa, and legate of the holy see, was then employed in building a convent at Fiesoli, two miles from Florence. Antoninus was wonderfully delighted with the unction of his sermons, and never went out of Florence but to converse with that apostolic man, to whom he applied at last for the Dominican habit. The father judging him as yet too young, and his constitution too tender for so strict a life of perpetual abstinence, frequent fasts, long watchings, and other rigors, advised him to wait yet some years, and bid him first study the canon law, adding, that when he should have learned Gratian's decree by heart, his request should be granted. So dry and difficult a task would have seemed to another equivalent to an absolute refusal. However, Antoninus set about it, and joining prayer and severe mortifications with his studies, made an essay of the ]life to which he aspired; and in less than a year presented himself again to the prior of Fiesoli; and by answering his examination upon the whole decree of Gratian, gave him a surprising proof of his capacity, memory, and fervor. The prior hesitated no longer, but gave him the habit, he being then sixteen years of age. The young novice was most exact in complying with every point of the rule, and appeared the most humble, the most obedient, most mortified, and most recollected of his brethren. Being advanced to the priesthood, he augmented his exercise of piety; he was never seen at the altar but bathed in tears. Whether sick or well, he day always on the hard boards; and so perfectly had he subjected the flesh to the spirit, that he seemed to feel no reluctance from his senses in the service of God. He was chosen very young to govern the great convent of the Minerva in Rome, and after that, was successively prior at Naples, Cajeta, Cortona, Sienna, Fiesoli, and Florence: in all which places he zealously enforced the practice of the rule of St. Dominic, and more by his actions than words. Besides his domestic employments he preached often, and with great fruit. The works which he published increased his reputation. He was consulted from Rome, and from all quarters, especially in intricate cases of the canon law. The learned cardinal de Lucca reckons him among the most distinguished auditors or judges of the Rota, though we do not find at what time he discharged that office. He was chosen vicar or general superior of a numerous reformed congregation in his order. He would not remit any thing in his austerities or labors when exhausted by a decay, of which however he recovered. Pope Eugenius IV called him to the general council of Florence; and he assisted in quality of divine at all its sessions, and at the disputations with the Greeks. During his stay at Florence he was made prior of the convent of St. Mark in that city, for which Cosmus of Medicis, called the father of his country, was then building a sumptuous church, which pope Eugenius IV. consecrated. After having established in this house the true spirit of his order, he visited his convents in Tuscany and Naples.|
While employed in introducing the primitive discipline of his order in the province of Naples, the see of Florence became vacant by the death of its archbishop. The intrigues of several candidates protracted the election of a successor. But pope Eugenius IV. no sooner named F. Antoninus to the Florentines, as possessed of the qualities they had desired in their future bishop, namely, sanctity, learning, and experience, and his being a native of their own city, than they all acquiesced in his choice. Antoninus, who had then been two years absent from Florence, employed in the visitation of his monasteries, was equally surprised and afflicted that he should have been thought of for so eminent a dignity. And that he might escape it, he set out with the design of concealing himself in the isle of Sardinia; but being prevented in the execution, he was obliged to go to Sienna, whence he wrote to the pope, conjuring his holiness not to lay that formidable burden on his weak shoulders, alleging his being in the decline of life, worn out with fatigues and sickness; enlarging also upon his great unworthiness and want of capacity; and begging that he would not now treat him as an enemy whom he had honored with so many marks of friendship. He could not close his letter without watering it with his tears. The pope, however, was inflexible, and sent him an order to repair without delay to his convent at Fiesoli. He wrote at the same time to the city of Florence, to acquaint, them that he had sent them an archbishop to their gates. The principal, persons of the clergy and nobility, with Cosmus of Medicis at their head, went out to compliment him on that occasion; but found him so averse to the dignity, that all their entreaties to take it upon him were to no purpose, till the pope, being again applied to in the affair, sent him an order to obey, backing it with a threat of excommunication if he persisted in opposing the will of God. After many tears, Antoninus at last complied; he was consecrated and took possession of his bishopric in March, 1446. His regulation of his household and conduct was a true imitation of the primitive apostolic bishops. His table, dress, and furniture showed a perfect spirit of poverty, modesty, and simplicity. It was his usual saying, that all the riches. Of a successor of the apostles ought to be his virtue. He practiced all the observances of his rule as far as compatible with his functions. His whole family consisted of six persons, to whom he assigned such salaries as might hinder them from seeking accidental perquisites, which are usually iniquitous or dangerous. He at first appointed two grand vicars, but afterwards, to avoid all occasions of variance, kept only one; and remembering that a bishop is bound to personal service, did almost every thing himself, but always with mature advice. As to his temporalities, he relied entirely on a man of probity and capacity, to reserve himself totally for his spiritual functions. He gave audience every day to all that addressed themselves to him, but particularly declared himself the father and protector of the poor. His purse and his granaries were in a manner totally theirs; when these were exhausted, he gave them often part of his scanty furniture and clothes. He never was possessed of any plate, or any other precious moveables, and never kept either dogs or horses; one only mule served all the necessities of his family, and this he often sold for the relief of some poor person; on which occasion, some wealthy citizen would buy it, to restore it again as a present to the charitable archbishop. He founded the college of St. Martin, to assist persons of reduced circumstances, and ashamed to make known their necessities, which establishment now provides for above six hundred families. His mildness appeared not only in his patience in bearing the insolence and importunities of the poor, but in his sweetness and benevolence towards his enemies. One named Ciardi, whom he had cited before him to answer certain criminal accusations, made an attempt on his life; and the saint narrowly escaped the thrust of his poniard, which pierced the back of his chair. Yet he freely forgave the assassin, and praying for his conversion, had the comfort to see him become a sincere penitent in the order of St. Francis.
The saint wanted not courage whenever the honor of God required it. He suppressed games of hazard; reformed other abuses in all orders preached almost every Sunday and holiday, and visited his whole diocese every year, always on foot. His character for wisdom and integrity was such, that he was consulted from all parts, and by persons of the highest rank, both secular and ecclesiastical: and his decisions gave so general a satisfaction, that they acquired him the name of Antoninus the counsellor. Yet this multiplicity of business was no interruption of his attention to God. He allowed himself very little sleep. Over and above the church office, he recited daily the office of our Lady, and the seven penitential psalms; the office of the dead twice a week, and the whole psalter on every festival. In the midst of his exterior affairs he always preserved the same serenity of countenance, and the same peace of mind, and seemed always recollected in God. Francis Castillo, his secretary, once said to him, bishops were to be pitied if they were to be eternally besieged with hurry as he was. The saint made him this answer, which the author of his life wished to see written in letters of gold: "To enjoy interior peace, we must always reserve in our hearts amidst all affairs, as it were, a secret closet, where we are to keep retired within ourselves, and where no business of the world can ever enter." Pope Eugenius IV. falling sick, sent for Antoninus to Rome, made his confession to him, received the viaticum and extreme-unction from his hands, and expired in his arms on the 23d of February, 1447. Nicholas IV succeeded him. St. Antoninus having received his benediction, hastened to Florence, where a pestilence had begun to show itself, which raged the whole year following. The holy archbishop exposed himself first, and employed his clergy, both secular and regular, especially those of his own order, in assisting the infected; so that almost all the friars of St. Mark, St. Mary Novella, and Fiesoli were swept away by the contagion, and new recruits were sent from the province of Lombardy to inhabit those houses. The famine, as is usual, followed this first scourge. The holy archbishop stripped himself of almost every thing; and by the influence of his words and example, many rich persons were moved to do the like. He obtained from Rome, particularly from the pope, great succors for the relief of the distressed. Indeed, the pope never refused any thing that he requested; and ordered that no appeals should be received at Rome from any sentence passed by him. After the public calamity was over, the saint continued his liberalities to the poor; but being informed that two blind beggars had amassed, the one two hundred, and the other three hundred ducats, he tool; the money from them, and distributed it among the real objects of charity; charging himself, however, with the maintenance of those two for the rest of their lives. Humility made him conceal his heroic practices of penance and piety from others, and even from himself; for he saw nothing but imperfections even in what others admired in him, and never heard any thing tending to his own commendation without confusion and indignation. He formed many perfect imitators of his virtue. An accident discovered to him a hidden servant of God. A poor handicraftsman lived in obscurity, in the continual practice of penance, having no other object of his desires but heaven. He passed the Sundays and holidays in the churches, and distributed all he gained by his work, beyond his mean subsistence, among the poor, with the greatest privacy; and kept a poor leper, serving him and dressing his ulcers with his own hands, bearing the continual reproaches and complaints of the ungrateful beggar, not only with patience, but also with joy. The leper became the more morose and imperious, and carried complaints against his benefactor to the archbishop, who, discovering this hidden treasure of sanctity in the handicraftsman, secretly honored it, while he punished the insolence of the leper.
Florence was shook by frequent earthquakes during three years, from 1453, and a large tract of land was laid desolate by a violent storm. The saint maintained, lodged, and set up again the most distressed, and rebuilt their houses. But he labored most assiduously to render these public calamities instrumental to the reformation of his people's manners. Cosmus of Medicis used to say, that he did not question but the preservation of their republic, under its great dangers, was owing chiefly to the merits and prayers of its holy archbishop. Pope Pius II. has left us, in the second book of his Commentaries, a most edifying history of the eminent virtues of our saint, and the strongest testimonies of his sanctity. The love of his flock made him decline a secular embassy to the emperor Frederic ill. God called him to the reward of his labors on the 2d of May, 1459, in the seventieth year of his age, the thirteenth of his archiepiscopal dignity. He repeated on his death-bed these words, which he had often in his mouth during health, "To serve God is to reign." Pope Pius II. being then at Florence, assisted at his funeral. His hair-shirt and other relics were the instruments of many miracles. He was buried, according to his desire, in the church of St. Mark, among his religious brethren, and was canonized by Adrian VI. in 1523. His body was found entire in 1559, and translated with the greatest pomp and solemnity, into a chapel prepared to receive it in the same church of St. Mark, richly adorned by the two brothers Salviati, whose family looks upon it as their greatest honor that this illustrious saint belonged to it. Nor is it easy to imagine any thing that could surpass the rich embellishments of this chapel, particularly the shrine; nor the pomp and magnificence of the procession and translation, at which a area number of cardinals, bishops, and princes from several parts assisted, who all admired to see the body perfectly free from corruption, one hundred and thirty years after it had been buried.
The venerable Achard, bishop of Avranches, in his excellent treatise On Self-denial, reduces the means and practice of Christian perfection to seven degrees of self-renunciation, by which he is disposed for the reign of love in his soul. These degrees he otherwise calls seven deserts of the soul. The first is the desert of penance. The second of solitude, at least that of the heart. The third of mortification. The fourth of simplicity of faith. The fifth of obedience. The sixth of the pure love of God. The seventh of zeal for his honor in the salvation of our neighbor. For a man, first, is to renounce sin by sincere repentance. Secondly, the world by solitude. Thirdly, the flesh by the mortification of his senses. Fourthly, though reason is man's most noble excellency, yet this being obscured and often blinded by the passions, easily becomes the seat of pride, and leads into the most dangerous precipices and errors. Man is therefore bound to humble his reason by keeping it in due subordination, and in a certain degree to renounce it by simplicity of heart and sincere humility. And this is so far from being against reason, that it is the sovereign use of reason. Fifthly, a man is moreover obliged to renounce his own will by perfect obedience. Sixthly, he must moreover renounce all that he is by the pure love of God, which ought to have no bounds. Seventhly, none but one who has tasted the sweetness of heavenly contemplation, knows how incomparable an advantage he renounces who deprives himself of it. Yet zeal for our neighbor's salvation, and tender compassion for his spiritual miseries, move the saints sometimes to prefer toils and sufferings to its pure delights and charms. By these rules we see by what degrees or means pious pastors attain to the apostolic spirit of their state, and how heroic their sacrifice is. Source Lives of the Saints Butler- Image source: Google