Monday, February 25, 2019

Saint February 26 : St. Porphyrius : Bishop of Gaza in Palestine

St. Porphyrius

Feast Day:
February 26
347, Thessalonica, Greece
February 26, 420, Gaza, Palestine
Bishop of Gaza in Palestine, b. at Thessalonica about 347; d. at Gaza, 26 February, 420. After five years in the Egyptian desert of Scete he lived five years in a cave near the Jordan. In spite of his impaired health, he frequently visited the scene of the Resurrection. Here he met the Asiatic Mark, at a later date a deacon of his church and his biographer. To effect the sale of the property still owned by Porphyrius in his native city, Mark set out for Thessalonica and, upon his return, the proceeds were distributed among the monasteries of Egypt and among the necessitous in and around Jerusalem. In 392 Porphyrius was ordained to the priesthood, and the relic of the Holy Cross was intrusted to his care. In 395 he became Bishop of Gaza, a stronghold of paganism, with an insignificant Christian community. The attitude of the pagan population was hostile so that the bishop appealed to the emperor for protection and pleaded repeatedly for the destruction of pagan temples. He finally obtained an imperial rescript ordering the destruction of pagan sanctuaries at Gaza. A Christian church was erected on the site of the temple of Marnas. In 415 Porphyrius attended the Council of Diospolis. The "Vita S. Porphyrii" of Mark the Deacon, formerly known only in a Latin translation, was published in 1874 by M. Haupt in its original Greek text; a new edition was issued in 1895 by the Bonn Philological Society.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis to Pro-Life Academy "...the work of promotion and defense of life is always more effective and fruitful."


Sala Clementina
Monday, 25 February 2019

Brothers and sisters,

I cordially greet you on the occasion of your General Assembly, and I thank Archbishop Paglia for his kind words. This meeting takes place in the first Jubilee of the Academy for Life: 25 years after its birth. On this important anniversary, I sent the President last month a letter titled Humana communitas. What moved me to write this message is, first of all, the wish to thank all the Presidents who have taken the lead of the Academy and all the Members for the competent service and the generous commitment to protect and promote human life in these 25 years of activity.

We know the difficulties in which our world struggles. The fabric of family and social relations seems to wear down more and more and there is a tendency to close on oneself and on one's own individual interests, with serious consequences on the "great and decisive question of the unity of the human family and its future" (Lett. Humana communitas, 2). A dramatic paradox is thus outlined: just when humanity possesses the scientific and technical capacities to achieve a fairly widespread well-being, according to God's delivery, we observe instead an exacerbation of conflicts and an increase in inequality. The enlightenment myth of progress declines and the accumulation of the potentialities that science and technology have provided us do not always get the desired results. In fact, on the one hand, technological development has allowed us to solve problems that were insurmountable until a few years ago, and we are grateful to the researchers who have achieved these results; on the other hand, difficulties and threats, sometimes more insidious than the previous ones, have emerged. The "being able to do" risks obscuring the person doing and the person doing it. The technocratic system based on the criterion of efficiency does not respond to the most profound questions that man poses; and if on the one hand it is not possible to do without its resources, on the other it imposes its logic on those who use them. Yet the technique is characteristic of the human being. It should not be understood as a force that is alien to and hostile to it, but as a product of its ingenuity through which it provides for the needs of living for oneself and for others. It is therefore a specifically human mode of inhabiting the world. However, today's evolution of technical capacity produces a dangerous enchantment: instead of delivering the tools that improve their care to human life, there is the risk of giving life to the logic of the devices that decide its value. This overturning is destined to produce nefarious outcomes: the machine is not limited to driving alone, but ends up guiding man. Human reason is thus reduced to an alienated rationality of effects, which can not be considered worthy of man.

We see, unfortunately, the serious damage caused to the planet, our common home, from the indiscriminate use of technical means. This is why global bioethics is an important front on which to engage. It expresses awareness of the profound impact of environmental and social factors on health and life. This approach is very in tune with the integral ecology, described and promoted in the Encyclical Laudato si '. Moreover, in today's world, marked by a close interaction between different cultures, we need to bring our specific contribution of believers to the search for universally shared operational criteria, which are common points of reference for the choices of those who have the serious responsibility for decisions take on a national and international level. This also means engaging in dialogue regarding human rights, clearly highlighting their corresponding duties. In fact they constitute the ground for the common search for a universal ethic, on which we find many questions that tradition has dealt with by drawing on the patrimony of natural law.

The Lettera Humana communitas explicitly recalls the theme of "emerging and converging technologies". The possibility to intervene on living matter to orders of ever smaller size, to process ever larger volumes of information, to monitor - and manipulate - the cerebral processes of cognitive and deliberative activity, has enormous implications: it touches the very threshold of specificity biological and spiritual difference of the human. In this sense, I affirmed that "the difference in human life is an absolute good" (n.4).
It is important to reiterate: "Artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological innovations must be used to contribute to the service of humanity and to the protection of our common home rather than to the exact opposite, as unfortunately they predict some estimates" ( Message to the World Economic Forum in Davos, 12 January 2018). The inherent dignity of every human being must be firmly placed at the center of our reflection and action.

In this regard, it should be noted that the designation of "artificial intelligence", although certainly effective, may risk being misleading. The terms conceal the fact that - in spite of the useful fulfillment of servile tasks (it is the original meaning of the term "robot"), functional automatisms remain qualitatively distant from the human prerogatives of knowledge and action. And therefore they can become socially dangerous. Moreover, the risk of man being technologized, rather than the humanized technique, is already real: so-called "intelligent machines" are hastily attributed capacities that are properly human.
We need to understand better what the intelligence, the conscience, the emotionality, the affective intentionality and the autonomy of moral action mean in this context. In fact, artificial devices that simulate human capabilities are devoid of human quality. It must be taken into account to guide the regulation of their use, and the research itself, towards a constructive and equitable interaction between human beings and the latest versions of machines. In fact, they spread in our world and radically transform the scenario of our existence. If we can also put these references to bear in mind, the extraordinary potential of the new discoveries can radiate their benefits on every person and on the whole of humanity.

The ongoing debate among the same specialists already shows the serious problems of governability of algorithms that process huge amounts of data. As well as serious ethical questions pose technologies for manipulation of genetic makeup and brain functions. In any case, the attempt to explain the whole of thought, of sensitivity, of human psychism on the basis of the functional sum of its physical and organic parts, does not account for the emergence of the phenomena of experience and consciousness. The human phenomenon exceeds the result of the calculable assembly of the individual elements. Also in this context, the axiom according to which the whole is superior to the parts takes on new depth and meaningfulness (see Exhortation of the Evangelii Gaudium, 234-237).

Precisely in this line of the complexity of the synergy of psyche and techno, on the other hand, what we learn about brain activity provides new clues about the way of understanding the conscience (of self and of the world) and the human body itself: it is not it is possible to disregard the interweaving of multiple relationships for a deeper understanding of the integral human dimension.

Of course, from the data of the empirical sciences we can not draw metaphysical deductions. We can, however, draw from them indications that instruct anthropological reflection, even in theology, as has always happened in its history. It would indeed be decidedly contrary to our more genuine tradition to set ourselves on an anachronistic conceptual apparatus, incapable of adequately intermingling with the transformations of the concept of nature and of artifice, conditioning and freedom, of means and ends, induced by the new culture of acting. , typical of the technological era. We are called to place ourselves on the path taken firmly by the Second Vatican Council, which calls for the renewal of theological disciplines and a critical reflection on the relationship between Christian faith and moral action (cf. Optatam Totius, 16).

Our commitment - even intellectual and specialist - will be a point of honor for our participation in the ethical alliance in favor of human life. A project that now, in a context in which increasingly sophisticated technological devices directly involve the human qualities of the body and the psyche, it becomes urgent to share with all men and women engaged in scientific research and care work. It is a difficult task, certainly, given the fast pace of innovation. The example of the teachers of the believing intelligence, who entered with wisdom and audacity in the processes of their contemporaneity, in view of an understanding of the patrimony of the faith worthy of a reason worthy of man, must encourage and sustain us.

I wish you to continue the study and research, because the work of promotion and defense of life is always more effective and fruitful. May the Virgin Mother assist you and accompany you my blessing. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.
FULL TEXT Release from - Unofficial Translation
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Pro-Life Christians hold National Day of Mourning for Abortion by Prayer, Wearing black and Refraining from Shopping

Life News and other media reported that Pro-lifers were encouraged to wear black and refrain from shopping Saturday, February 23, for a National Day of Mourning for abortion.

A New York pastor came up with the idea for the protest after his state legalized abortions for almost any reason up to birth in January.

Organizers are asked Christian business owners to close their stores, and all Christians to wear black, refuse to shop and spend time in prayer and repentance for the national sin of abortion on Saturday. They also held a rally at 1 p.m. at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York, near where Gov. Andrew Cuomo and pro-abortion lawmakers passed and celebrated the pro-abortion law. Tickets were required but free.

Elizabeth Johnston, the “Activist Mommy” (pictured) is author and was a speaker at the event.

Johnston said, FaithWire reports. “And we are owning this sin. Even as God’s people, if you’ve never committed an abortion, there’s a sense in which we have been completely complicit, completely silent. We have not been the Good Samaritan that we must be, and so we have to own this as God’s people for allowing this bloodshed for 46 years. And we’re gonna get on our faces before God, thousands of people, and repent for the sin of abortion.”

More than 20 other cities held similar events for those unable to attend the main protest in Albany.

New York Pastor Jon Speed led by example in January when he closed his book store, The Book Scout, in protest of the new pro-abortion law. The Benham Brothers were also speakers at the event.

The New York law allows unborn babies to be aborted for almost any reason up to birth.
For more details about the peaceful pro-life protest, visit
Edited from

Conversion through the Witness of the Chair of St. Peter and its Popes - a Scholarly Insight by Stephan Groene

The Office of St. Peter: the most difficult vocation in the world
 Preliminary Observation
On Sunday, Lätare, about 12 years ago, I found myself in the lap of the Holy Mother Church after I had wrestled for ten long years: with myself - and with the conditions in the German local church; the "why" goes far beyond here..
Two reasons were crucial to my conversion: the unchangeable doctrine of the church, as embodied in the wonderfully understandable 'Catechism of the Catholic Church'.
And the Holy Father in Rome, the then Benedict XVI., and who was already well known to me as Cardinal Ratzinger during my studies of theology. However, it was the Papal Office in and of itself - as a guarantor of the unchangeable doctrine of the church - that attracted me.
In my opinion Cardinal Ratzinger should have remained the good Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, which he always was, at least in the time of St. John Paul II. He was ultimately not decisive for my conversion.
So I knew twelve years ago: even if a local church, such as the German, hopelessly a plaything of the devil; the world church remains unchanged with the Roman pope.
For we know from the history of the church: Asia Minor, originally proselytized by the apostle Paul, is today's Turkey - and Christianity is wiped out. And North Africa with St. Augustine is practically in the hands of Islam.
Nowhere is it written that the history of Millennial Christianity in Germany must be written down.

Francis: the saint of my crossing
For a Protestant, saints are at best models, and at the worst disgusting hypocrites, for holiness is in this life inaccessible, since it is only 'given by faith', never through works.
Through the millennium dam of the blessing of homosexuals in German Protestantism, I knew: lived homosexuality should never be blessed, for it is one of the gravest sins. Nowhere in Protestantism does the catechism have this meaning, as in Catholicism.
And all it took was a little something to convince me of Catholicism. I read from a small booklet with original quotations from St. Francis and the three-legged legend. For example, one recommendation was to chew donkey dung to quench an overly fast tongue - so you can fight envy, resentment and quarrels too!
I thought: if it is possible to live the gospel as Saint Francis did, then Martin Luther must be wrong.
Well, it was and is hard to assume that Saint Francis is such a big hypocrite that he fooled all people - so the gospel is alive in Catholicism!

God's comfort - as Our Lady wished in Fatima

Next to St. Francis, I was given a small statue made of limewood: Mary in prayerful posture, praying - as simple as an angel of God. I did not think much of it back then.
Since my Confirmation Saint is Padre Pio, who wore the stigmata of Jesus, the stigmata on his body - as did St. Francis -, I thought, early on, how this can be done: to suffer the suffering of God with us sinners?
As Christians, we are called to stand in prayer for each other - and to support each other through gifts, words and works.
This includes sacrifices, e.g. when St. Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe dies of starvation for a polish father in the Auschwitz extermination camp.
In my opinion, the most beautiful unfolding of our faith is precisely what Martin Luther has never understood at all: the self-sacrificing love of God!
For God lives on Golgotha ​​today as he did then, and because he lives, he suffers no less than two thousand years ago today!
And he suffers no less among the godless heathen than among the disobedience of us Catholics - and wants to be comforted.
We love Jesus, when we imagine Him weeping for His lost sheep - and comforting Him - like Saint Veronica with the sweat cloth, and wanting to be with Him - like the Blessed Mother. There is hardly a more intimate love than to suffer for Jesus - and His representative in Rome. This is essentially the message of Mary's apparitions in Fatima: comforting Jesus and Mary through prayer and sacrifice because the joy of God is so great and glorious.

Feeling with the Church - Sentire cum Ecclesia
Jesus Christ is the Church because the Church is His body. How beautiful it is, if we know exactly: St. Peter was in Rome and died there. And there is his grave. And then there was a successor and then another one today. This is what we call, inter alia, Apostolic Succession (succession).
There has never been a break. So who sees the Holy Father today, encounters Jesus in another form.
The promise to the fisherman Peter from Galilee today is Francis: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of the underworld will not overtake it" (Mt 16:18).
This dogma of infallibility is the core and the star of Catholicism: "that this throne of St. Peter is always untouched by any error, according to the divine promises of our Lord and Redeemer made to the princes of his disciples" (DH 3070: semper errore illibatam permanere).
For the Protestants, there is no pity for the Church: the gospel is accepted by faith alone - and enough!
But what is really going on with us Catholics? Are we suffering with Peter? Are we trying to put ourselves in the position of His representative?

What if the Vatican were a stock corporation ...
In Germany we have many large automobile companies, for example Daimler-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen. They all produce motor vehicles that have all four wheels, sometimes just three (trikes) or even two (bikes). It has never happened - never! - that a Daimler boss would have praised the Volkswagen cars - or vice versa. It has never happened that a BMW boss in public pulled the cars of VW or Mercedes in the dirt - never!
The unwritten law applies in the free market: there is good - and better! But never make the competitor bad! Of course, jokes are allowed - and sharp remarks.
Every clever seller knows: all companies make up the common market - and the competitors talk badly, ultimately harming everyone.

Why do the dubia cardinals, Archbishop Viganò and Cardinal Müller love accusations?
I'm really not a Vaticanist, so one who could say something enlightening about this or that case.
I'm only good at common sense - like all people - and that makes me think the following.
It was the Pharisees who wanted to trap Jesus Christ with their catch questions: they could not rejoice in the good and the many healings, but wanted to make a rope for the Savior of the world - the dubia cardinals seem to have their model here. Is it really only about footnote 351 in a secondary exhortation as in Amoris laetitia? Or is it rather the justification of proxy wars, in which the seemingly conservative fight against the alleged modernists?

It was the traitor of Judas who did not like Jesus Christ at all, so he betrayed him and ran away. Is Archbishop Viganò's gait in the self-chosen underground really a model for fear of life and limb? Or was he wisely afraid of the prosecutor of North America in order not to be prosecuted in the abuse cases? Is not a shepherd, running away from the alleged wolf on the Cathedra of Peter, a hireling?
It was Martin Luther who warned many times before of the 'Antichrist' in Rome - at least since his writing of the 'Babylonian captivity of the Church' in 1520. He thought that the whore of Babylon from the Revelation of John could be found at Rome on the Tiber at seven Suggest hills. When Cardinal Müller uses the word 'Antichrist' in his so-called 'Faith Manifesto', it shudders me as a former Lutheran. Twice he uses it - positively he quotes only Benedict XVI, but he does not mention the Holy Father Francis in any word. Is Cardinal Müller thus a Luther Revividus (a recurring Luther)?

Do we have Sympathy for the Holy Father?
How many thousands, if not millions of letters, newspaper articles, television programs, videos and social media commentaries are written about the Holy Father? And in how many speeches are not about malice, insults and distortions, but about the truth?
And when is it about love?
When God lives and Jesus Christ is His Son, when do we understand that our Holy Father is His representative, deserving not only respect but also understanding and loving prayer?
When the whole godless world is ripping its mouth, how painful must the enemies within the church be for the Son of the living God and His representative?
Is not our Pope Francis a human being, but only the target of intrigues, stupidities and power struggles between modernists and traditionalists?
In my opinion, the abuse crisis has no reason in the birth of an Argentinean-born Argentinean - and this man is not the one who rips the church to pieces.
No, this man is the chosen Pontifex Maximus, who has the promise of Jesus: "Do it to Peter and super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam" (Mt 18:16)
And you, gentlemen clericalists: what promise do you have?
About the Author: Stephan Gröne, I was born 1966 in Berlin, Capital of Germany. At the age of 25 I found Jesus Christ.  I studied ‚Protestant Theology‘ with a Diploma at Humboldt-University. 
As a Protestant I preached the Gospel. I teach religion in public schools and had a research contract with University of Zurich (Switzerland) to analyse paradoxes and write a book on it: ‚Gödel, Wittgenstein, Gott: Paradoxes in Philosophy and Theology‘.
As a Catholic  I am praying and writing articles in my blog.
Stephan Gröne, lives in Germany and submitted this Article to Catholic News World

Vatican Meeting against Abuse establishes Concrete Measures including a "Task Force" and Rulebook

Protection of Minors: Press briefing announces concrete initiatives
The “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting concludes with a Press Briefing in the Vatican and the announcement of concrete commitments and initiatives to protect children, and to combat abuse.
By Vatican News

There have been four Press Conferences, coinciding with the four days of the Meeting. Each one has provided a synthesis of the day’s discussions and reflections, and allowed journalists an opportunity to engage with participants and speakers in what was often a lively Q&A session.

One implicit (and explicit) question underscored the concluding press briefing on Sunday: “What now”? Expectations were high, especially given Pope Francis’ mandate to participants, at the start of the Meeting, to come up with “concrete” initiatives to help the Church in protecting minors.

Concrete initiatives
It fell to Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, as Moderator of the Meeting on the “Protection of Minors in the Church”, to announce three such initiatives:

1. The imminent publication of a Motu proprio by the Pope, providing rules and regulations to safeguard minors and vulnerable adults within Vatican City State.

2. The distribution of a “vademecum” (or rulebook) to Bishops around the world, explaining their juridical and pastoral duties and responsibilities with regard to protecting children.

3. The creation of an operative “task force”, comprising competent experts, to assist those Bishops’ Conferences that may lack the necessary resources or expertise to confront the issue of safeguarding minors, and deal with abuse.

There was a fourth response to the “what now” question: the fact that the Organizing Committee will be meeting with heads of Vatican Curia departments to discuss follow-up and reflect on a related question: “What next?”

Media relationships
The “Protection of Minors” Meeting in the Vatican has received extensive coverage throughout the media over the last few days. The Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, Paolo Ruffini, acknowledged as much when he thanked journalists for their work. He stressed the role of journalists as that of “searching for and reporting the truth”. He spoke of the importance of “listening without prejudice”, and confirmed how   “there can be no communication if everyone is talking and no one is listening”. Ruffini, and others on the panel at the Press Conference, praised Mexican journalist, Valentina Alazraki, for her “courageous” contribution to the Meeting on Saturday, when she addressed the Bishops on the theme of transparency: “Communication to all people”.

Addressing the Press Conference, Valentina Alazraki encouraged “working together with the Church” on this issue, but reminded the Bishops never to say “no comment”, and to be sure to provide media with “timely and fair information”.

Last impressions

Asked for his take-away on the “Protection of Minors” Meeting, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, called it “timely, useful, and necessary”. He and his brother Bishops, he said, came away with a universal understanding and consciousness that confronting the problem of abuse is “a priority for the Church”. He also praised the contribution of women at the encounter, highlighting the value of their “feminine insights and perspectives”.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta provided his own “flashbacks of these four days”. He said he was struck by the Holy Father’s concluding speech and his clarity, defining both abuse and cover-ups as “egregious crimes”. “There is no going back”, said the Archbishop. He also said that the presence of victims-survivors was a vital part of the experience. “We cannot not listen to victim-survivors”, he added. Archbishop Scicluna stressed how “at the end of the day, it is a change of heart that is important”. We need the right motivation and, for that, we need to listen to different voices – including those of women, who (in the case of this Meeting) provided a “breath of fresh air”.

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, is a member of the Organizing Committee and Head of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He spoke of a “qualitative and quantitative leap along a decade-long journey that will continue”. Attitudes have changed, he said, and people have been transformed: they are determined to “go back home and do something about it”.

Right now, concluded Fr. Zollner, “we need to focus on what we have done here” at this Meeting in the Vatican, and to tackle “the systemic roots of the problem”. These, the themes of the three days of the Meeting, reflect both the problem and the solution: Responsibility, Accountability, and Transparency. FULL TEXT Release from Vatican News va
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Pope Francis to Greek Orthodox "... generous sharing and the quiet power of prayer." FULL TEXT

Hall of Popes
Monday, 25 February 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with particular joy that I welcome you and thank you for your visit.  I am especially grateful to Bishop Agathanghelos.  Before all else, I ask you a favour: that on your return to Athens you convey my cordial and fraternal good wishes to His Beatitude Hieronymos II, who a few days ago, on 16 February, celebrated the eleventh anniversary of his enthronement. I ask the Father who is the giver of every good gift (cf. Jas 1:17) to grant him health, peace and spiritual joy. I pray too that, through the intercession of the Apostle Paul who preached the Gospel in Greece and crowned his witness by martyrdom here in Rome, he may abundantly bless the beloved Greek people.
Cooperation between Apostolikí Diakonía and the Council for Promoting Christian Unity has been taking place for over fifteen years and has resulted in a number of praiseworthy cultural and educational projects. It is a fine example of how fruitful it can be when Catholics and Orthodox work together. In these years, both the organizers of these initiatives and those who have benefited from them, chiefly the young students of our Churches, have realized that what we have in common is much greater than what keeps us apart. Working together helps us to see one another as brothers and sisters. Our young people teach us not to remain prisoners of our differences, but to grow in the desire to journey together and to dream of surmounting the difficulties standing in the way of full communion. It is up to us to continue to advance together, to work together and to see ourselves once more as brothers and sisters. At every step, and in all we do, we can glimpse, with God’s help, his loving presence that leads us to ever deeper communion. I would like, then, to join with you in imploring the grace to make this journey. And to do so, not as individuals going their separate ways and working for their own goals, as if others were simply set at our side by history, but rather as brothers and sisters whom God’s providence has made us encounter as we journey together towards the one Lord, bearing one another’s burdens and rejoicing in each other’s progress. I thank Apostolikí Diaconía for the steps already taken on this journey, and I assure you of the support of the Catholic Church for its continuation.
The pastoral care of the family is another fruitful field for cooperation between Orthodox and Catholics, one that needs to be cultivated with passion and urgency. In our time, marked by swift social changes that have resulted in an increased inner fragility, Christian families in a variety of geographic and cultural settings face many similar challenges. We are called to remain close to them and to help families rediscover the gift of marriage and the beauty of preserving a love renewed daily by patient and generous sharing and the quiet power of prayer. We are also called to be present wherever family life does not correspond to the fullness of the evangelical ideal, or is not lived in peace and joy (cf. Amoris Laetitia, 5). Together, then, while respecting our different spiritual traditions, we can actively cooperate in promoting, in various settings, both national and international, activities and initiatives having to do with families and family values.

Once more, I thank you for your visit, and I ask the Lord to grant you his abundant blessings. I ask you, please, to save a place for me in your prayers. Thank you.
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, February 25, 2019 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 341

Reading 1SIR 1:1-10

All wisdom comes from the LORD
and with him it remains forever, and is before all time
The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?
Heaven's height, earth's breadth,
the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
Before all things else wisdom was created;
and prudent understanding, from eternity.
The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom
and her ways are everlasting.
To whom has wisdom's root been revealed?
Who knows her subtleties?
To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed?
And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways ?
There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,
seated upon his throne:
There is but one, Most High
all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one,
seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion.
It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,
has seen her and taken note of her.
He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends.

Responsorial PsalmPS 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5

R.(1a)  The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R.The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R.The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R.The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

AlleluiaSEE 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 9:14-29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around 
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

Saint February 25 : St. Tarasius : Pariarch of Constantinople

Patriarch of Constantinople, date of birth unknown; died 25 February, 806.
He was the son of the Patrician and Prefect of Constantinople, George, and his wife Eukratia, and entered the service of the State. In 784 when Paul IV Patriarch of Constantinople died Tarasius was an imperial secretary, and a champion of the veneration of images. It may be that before his death the patriarch had recommended Tarasius as his successor in the patriarchate to the Empress Irene who was regent for her son Constantine VI (780-797). After the burial of Paul IV a great popular assembly was held before the Magnaura Palace to discuss the filling of the vacant see. The empress delivered an oration on the new appointment to the patriarchate and the people proclaimed Tarasius as the most worthy candidate. The empress agreed but said that Tarasius refused to accept the position. Tarasius now made a speech himself in which he declared he felt himself unworthy of the office, further that the elevation of a layman was very hazardous, and that the position of the Church of Constantinople had become a very difficult one, as it was separated from the Catholics of Western Europe and isolated from the other Oriental patriarchates; consequently he would only be willing to accept the position of patriarch on condition that Church unity be restored and that, in connection with the pope, an oecumenical council be called. The majority of the populace approved of these views and the imperial Court agreed to it. So on 25 December, 784, Tarasius was consecrated patriarch. In 785 he sent the priest George as his legate to Hadrian I with a letter in which he announced his appointment. In his reply the pope expressed his disapproval of the elevation of Tarasius directly from the laity to the dignity of a bishop contrary to canonical regulation, but allowed clemency to rule in view of the orthodoxy of the new patriarch's views, and recognized him as patriarch. After this by joint action with the pope and the imperial Court Tarasius called the Second Council of Nicaea, the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which rejected Iconoclasm. Union with the Roman Church was restored.
After the synod the patriarch had a number of struggles not only with the Iconoclastic party of the capital but also with a party of Orthodox monks. First, the latter upbraided him for restoring to office the bishops who had formerly maintained Iconoclasm, but who had submitted to the decrees of the Council of 787. As, however, this was in accordance with the decrees of the council the accusation was allowed to drop. Another accusation was much more serious, namely, that Tarasius tolerated and encouraged simony, because those bishops who had given money to obtain their positions were only commanded by him to do a year's penance and were permitted to retain their offices. The patriarch defended himself in writing against this accusation which he denied in toto; moreover, he issued a severe synodal letter against Simonists. The monks, however, were not satisfied; they maintained their accusations and also attacked the Council of 787. At a later date Theodore of Studium, who took part in these disputes, changed his opinion of Tarasius, and also of the Second Council of Nicaea, the oecumenical character of which he acknowledged. Many serious difficulties still existed in regard to Western Europe. There were also fresh disputes in Constantinople when the Emperor Constantine VI put aside his lawful wife and wished to marry Theodata, a relative of Abbot Theodore of Studium. Tarasius positively refused to perform the second marriage and expressed his displeasure at the conduct of the priest Joseph who had married the emperor. The zealous monks, whose leaders were the Abbots Plato of Saccudium and Theodore of Studium, accused the patriarch of weakness, because he took no further steps against the emperor. They refused to have Church fellowship any longer with Tarasius, and were, consequently, violently persecuted by the emperor who, however, also treated the patriarch harshly. After Irene had dethroned Constantine in 797, Tarasius deposed the priest Joseph and peace was once more restored between the patriarch and the monks. (See THEODORE OF STUDIUM). In 802 Tarasius crowned as emperor Nicephorus, who had overthrown Irene, an act that greatly dissatisfied the populace. The patriarch had nothing to do with the intrigues of the court. His life was ascetic and simple, he checked the luxury of the clergy, preached with great zeal, and was very benevolent to the poor. After his death he was venerated as a saint. His name is also placed in the Roman Martyrology under the date of 25 February. Catholic Enclopedia