Sunday, August 25, 2019

Saint August 26 : Our Lady of Czestochowa of Poland also known as the Black Madonna - #Czestochowa

Our Lady of Czestochowa
Feast day: August 26 ( Hist. )
The image of Our Lady in Czestochowa, Poland [at right] is among that small group of Black Madonnas recognized throughout the entire world, largely due to the recent manifestations of public piety shown by the reigning Polish Pope, John Paul II. The image is sometimes called Our Lady of Jasna Gora after the name of the monastery site in which it has been kept for six centuries. Joan Carroll Cruz relates the following 'miracle story' regarding the selection of this site:
St. Ladislaus determined to save the image from the repeated invasions of the Tartars by taking it to the more secure city of Opala, his birthplace. This journey took him through Czestochowa, where he decided to rest for the night. During this brief pause in their journey, the image was taken to Jasna Gora [meaning "Bright Hill"]. There it was placed in a small wooden church named for the Assumption. The following morning, after the portrait was carefully replaced in its wagon, the horses refused to move. Accepting this as a heavenly sign that the portrait was to remain in Czestochowa, St. Ladislaus had the image solemnly returned to the Church of the Assumption.
Another 'miraculous' aspect of this image is that its antiquity is so great that its origins are unknown, as if "dropped from the heavens." Legend attributes its creation to St. Luke, the evangelist, who "painted a portrait of the Virgin on the cedar wood table at which she had taken her meals." St. Helena, the Queen-Mother of Emperor Constantine is said to have located the portrait during her visit to the Holy Land and to have brought it to Constantinople in the fourth century. After remaining there for five centuries, it allegedly was transferred in royal dowries until it made its way to Poland, and the possession of St. Ladislaus in the fifteenth century.
The legend continues: During Ladislaus' time, the image was damaged during a siege, by a Tartar arrow, "inflicting a scar on the throat of the Blessed Virgin." In 1430, Hussites stole and vandalized the precious image, breaking it into three pieces. Adding insult to injury:
One of the robbers drew his sword, struck the image and inflicted two deep gashes. While preparing to inflict a third gash, he fell to the ground and writhed in agony until his death ... The two slashes on the cheek of the Blessed Virgin, together with the previous injury to the throat, have always reappeared--despite repeated attempts to repair them.
However, modern scholarship has its own views on this legend. Leonard Moss claims: "the figure is distinctly thirteenth-fourteenth century Byzantine in form." In general, its Byzantine style is obvious, a variant on Hodegetria. Janusz Pasierb states of the image that "in 1434 it was painted virtually anew" due to the extensive damage caused by vandalism. He adds that "the authors of the new version were faithful to the original as regards its contents." This might explain the persistence of the damage marks mentioned earlier. Finally, note that Pasierb sees the prototype of Our Lady of Czestochowa as "a Byzantine icon ... which from the fifth century on had been worshipped in a church in Constantinople's ton hodegon quarter."
Prayer to Our Lady of Czestochowa
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Holy Mother of Czestochowa, you are full of grace, goodness and mercy. I consecrated to you all my thoughts, words and actions - my soul and body. I beseech your blessings and especially prayers for my salvation.
Today I consecrate myself to you, good Mother, totally - with body and soul amid joy and sufferings, to obtain for myself and others your blessings on this earth and eternal life in heaven. Amen
Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland, pray for us.
Miracles
The miracles worked by Our Lady of Czestochowa seem to occur mainly on a public scale. During her stay in Constantinople, she is reported to have frightened the besieging Saracens away from the city. Similarly, in 1655 a small group of Polish defenders was able to drive off a much larger army of Swedish invaders from the sanctuary. The following year, the Holy Virgin was acclaimed Queen of Poland by King Casimir. It is also recorded that Our Lady dispersed an army of Russian invaders by an apparition at the River Vistula on September 15, 1920. In more recent times, the Czestochowa Madonna has also been acknowledged for her protection of and cooperation with the Polish nation. Beyond these public prodigies:
The miracles attributed to Our Lady of Czestochowa are numerous and spectacular. The original accounts of these cures and miracles are preserved in the archives of the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora.
The image is not so well-known only on account of its history of miracles. Its international reputation has been considerably enhanced because of the personal devotion of Blessed John Paul II:
In modern times, Karol Wojtyla, a native son of Poland, prayed before the Madonna during his historic visit in 1979, several months after his election to the Chair of Peter as John Paul II. He made another visit to Our Lady of Czestochowa in 1983 and again in 1991.
Why Is She Black?
A final question remains: why is Our Lady of Czestochowa black? Cruz mentions a possible link to the Canticle of Canticles: "I am black but beautiful."; but concludes that "The darkness is ascribed to various conditions [e.g. accumulated residue from candles], of which its age is primary."
Broschart, by contrast, opines:
the shrine was destroyed by fire, but the picture was not burned--however, the flames and smoke had darkened it and from that day it has been known as the "Black Madonna."
Recall that Moss saw the image as Byzantine in form, dating from the Medieval period. He added: "the skin pigmentation is characteristic of this stylized portraiture."
Interestingly, Ernst Scheyer, an art historian who studied the image, believed that "the present image was restored in the nineteenth century and painted somewhat darker than previously."
Adding to all this confusion, a notable Swiss copy, completed by Kosmoski in 1956 and kept in the Hospice of the Great St. Bernard Pass, is much darker than the version in Jasna Gora, while a copy at a shrine in Doylestown, Pennsylvania is depicted in lighter flesh tones. All of which makes the question of authorial intent extremely complicated. Her miraculous reputation, though, is beyond dispute.
For further information on Our Lady of Czestochowa, refer to "In Quest of the Black Virgin ..." by Leonard W. Moss; pp. 53-74 in Mother Worship: Themes and Variations (1982) by James Preston (ed.); Miraculous Images of Our Lady (1993) by Joan Carroll Cruz; Call Her Blessed (1961) by Charles B. Broschart; and The Shrine of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa (1989) by Janusz Pasierb.
Source: The Marian Library : Michael Duricy

Pope Francis explains "..for us Christians, this means that we are called to establish a true communion with Jesus, praying, going to church, approaching the Sacraments..." FULL TEXT + Video


Angelus by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 25 August 2019


Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel (cf. Lk 13: 22-30) presents us with Jesus passing by teaching through cities and villages, on our way to Jerusalem, where he knows he must die on the cross for the salvation of us all. In this picture, the question of a man is inserted, who turns to Him saying: "Lord, are those few saved?" (V. 23). The question was debated at that time - how many are saved, how many are not ... - and there were different ways of interpreting the Scriptures in this regard, depending on the texts they took. But Jesus turns the question upside down - which focuses more on quantity, that is "are they few? ..." - and instead places the answer on the level of responsibility, inviting us to use the present time well. In fact, he says: "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I tell you, will try to enter, but will not succeed" (v. 24).

With these words, Jesus makes it clear that it is not a question of numbers, there is no "closed number" in Paradise! But it is a question of crossing the right passage right now, and this right step is for everyone, but it is tight. That is the question. Jesus does not want to deceive us, saying: "Yes, rest assured, it is easy, there is a beautiful highway and in the end a big door ...". It does not tell us this: it speaks to us of the narrow door. He tells us things as they are: the passage is narrow. What do you mean? In the sense that to be saved one must love God and one's neighbor, and this is not comfortable! It is a "narrow door" because it is demanding, love is always demanding, it requires commitment, indeed, "effort", that is a determined and persevering will to live according to the Gospel. St. Paul calls it "the good fight of faith" (1 Tim 6:12). It takes the effort of every day, all day to love God and others.

And, to better explain himself, Jesus tells a parable. There is a landlord, who represents the Lord. His house symbolizes eternal life, that is, salvation. And here the image of the door returns. Jesus says: "When the landlord gets up and closes the door, you, left out, will begin to knock on the door saying:" Lord, open us ". But he will answer: "I don't know where you are from" "(v. 25). These people will then try to be recognized, reminding the landlord: "I ate with you, I drank with you ... I listened to your advice, your teachings in public ..." (see v. 26); "I was there when you gave that conference ...". But the Lord will repeat that he does not know them, and calls them "workers of injustice". Here's the problem! The Lord will recognize us not for our titles - "But look, Lord, that I belonged to that association, that I was a friend of this monsignor, of that cardinal, of that priest ...". No, titles don't matter, they don't count. The Lord will recognize us only for a humble life, a good life, a life of faith that is translated into works.

And for us Christians, this means that we are called to establish a true communion with Jesus, praying, going to church, approaching the Sacraments and nourishing ourselves with his Word. This keeps us in faith, nourishes our hope, revives charity. And so, with the grace of God, we can and must spend our lives for the good of our brothers, fight against every form of evil and injustice.

May the Virgin Mary help us in this. She went through the narrow door that is Jesus. She welcomed him with all her heart and followed him every day of her life, even when she didn't understand, even when a sword pierced her soul. For this reason we invoke her as "Gate of Heaven": Mary, Gate of Heaven; a door that exactly follows the form of Jesus: the door to the heart of God, a demanding heart, but open to all of us.

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims.

I greet in particular the community of the Pontifical North American College, especially the newly arrived new seminarians. Dear seminarians, I urge you to spiritual commitment and fidelity to Christ, to the Gospel and to the teaching of the Church. Without building on these columns, it will be impossible to really build your vocation. I greet the young people of Catholic Action in the diocese of Bologna; the boys of the pastoral unit of Rovato, diocese of Brescia; and those of Ponte Nossa, diocese of Bergamo.

We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon. We pray that, with everyone's commitment, they may be tamed as soon as possible. That forest lung is vital to our planet.

I see that there are some of my Argentine countrymen, and I greet them well!

I wish you all a good Sunday. And please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday, August 25, 2019 - Readings + Video - #Eucharist - 21st Ordinary Time - C


Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 123

Reading 1IS 66:18-21

Thus says the LORD:
I know their works and their thoughts,
and I come to gather nations of every language;
they shall come and see my glory.
I will set a sign among them;
from them I will send fugitives to the nations:
to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan,
to the distant coastlands
that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory;
and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations
as an offering to the LORD,
on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries,
to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD,
just as the Israelites bring their offering
to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

Responsorial PsalmPS 117:1, 2

R.(Mk 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2HEB 12:5-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
"My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges."
Endure your trials as "discipline";
God treats you as sons.
For what "son" is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.

AlleluiaJN 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father, except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
"Lord, will only a few people be saved?"
He answered them,
"Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
'Lord, open the door for us.'
He will say to you in reply,
'I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.'
Then he will say to you,
'I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!'
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last."

Saint August 25 : St. Joseph Calasanctius the Founder of the Piarist Order

St. Joseph Calasanctius
Feast Day August 25 ( New )
Called in religion "a Matre Dei", founder of the Piarists, b. 11 Sept., 1556, at the castle of Calasanza near Petralta de la Sal in Aragon; d. 25 Aug., 1648, at Rome; feast 27 Aug. His parents, Don Pedro Calasanza and Donna Maria Gastonia, gave Joseph, the youngest of five children, a good education at home and then at the school of Petralta. After his classical studies at Estadilla he took up philosophy and jurisprudence at Lérida and merited the degree of Doctor of Laws, and then with honours completed his theological course at Valencia and Alcalá de Henares. His mother and brother having died, Don Pedro wanted Joseph to marry and perpetuate the family. God interfered by sending a sickness in 1582 which soon brought Joseph to the brink of the grave. On his recovery he was ordained priest 17 Dec., 1583, by Hugo Ambrose de Moncada, Bishop of Urgel. Joseph began his labours as priest in the Diocese of Albarracin, where Bishop della Figuera appointed him his theologian and confessor, synodal examiner, and procurator, and when the bishop was transferred to Lérida his theologian followed him to the new diocese. In 1586 della Figuera was sent as Apostolic visitator to the Abbey of Montserrat, and Joseph accompanied him as secretary. The bishop died the following year and Joseph left, though urgently requested to remain. He hurried to Calasanza only to be present at the death of his father. He was then called by his Bishop of Urgel to act as vicar-general for the district of Trempe. In 1592 he embarked for Rome, where he found a protector in Cardinal Marcantonio Colonna who chose him as his theologian and instructor to his nephew. Rome offered a splendid field for works of charity, especially for the instruction of neglected and homeless children, many of whom had lost their parents. Joseph joined a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and gathered the boys and girls from the streets and brought them to school. The teachers, being poorly paid, refused to accept the additional labour without remuneration. The pastor of S. Dorotea, Anthony Brendani, offered him two rooms and promised assistance in teaching, and when two other priests promised similar help, Joseph, in November, 1597, opened the first public free school in Europe. Pope Clement VIII gave an annual contribution and many others shared in the good work, so that in a short time Joseph had about a thousand children under his charge. In 1602 he rented a house at S. Andrea della Valle and commenced a community life with his assistants and laid the foundation of the Order of Piarists. Much envy and opposition arose against him and his new institute, but all were overcome in time. In 1612 the school was transferred to the Torres palace adjoining S. Pantaleone. Here Joseph spent the remaining years of his life in his chosen calling. He lived and died a faithful son of the church, a true friend of forsaken children. His body rests in S. Paltaleone. His beatification was solemnized on 7 Aug., 1748, and his canonization by Clement XIII, 16 July, 1767. Source: Catholic Encyclopedia