Friday, March 6, 2020

Saint March 7 : St. Perpetua and St. Felicity - Heroic Martyrs who Died in 203 and Patrons of Mothers, Expectant Mothers

7 March 202 or 203, Carthage, Roman Province of Africa
Patron of:
Mothers, Expectant Mothers
Martyrs, suffered at Carthage, 7 March 203, together with three companions, Revocatus, Saturus, and Saturninus. The details of the martyrdom of these five confessors in the North African Church have reached us through a genuine, contemporary description, one of the most affecting accounts of the glorious warfare of Christian martyrdom in ancient times. By a rescript of Septimus Severus (193-211) all imperial subjects were forbidden under severe penalties to become Christians. In consequence of this decree, five catechumens at Carthage were seized and cast into prison, viz. Vibia Perpetua, a young married lady of noble birth; the slave Felicitas, and her fellow-slave Revocatus, also Saturninus and Secundulus. Soon one Saturus, who deliberately declared himself a Christian before the judge, was also incarcerated. Perpetua's father was a pagan; her mother, however, and two brothers were Christians, one being still a catechumen; a third brother, the child Dinocrates, had died a pagan.
After their arrest, and before they were led away to prison, the five catechumens were baptized. The sufferings of the prison life, the attempts of Perpetua's father to induce her to apostatize, the vicissitudes of the martyrs before their execution, the visions of Saturus and Perpetua in their dungeons, were all faithfully committed to writing by the last two. Shortly after the death of the martyrs a zealous Christian added to this document an account of their execution. The darkness of their prison and the oppressive atmosphere seemed frightful to Perpetua, whose terror was increased by anxiety for her young child. Two deacons succeeded, by sufficiently bribing the jailer, in gaining admittance to the imprisoned Christians and alleviated somewhat their sufferings. Perpetua's mother also, and her brother, yet a catechumen, visited them. Her mother brought in her arms to Perpetua her little son, whom she was permitted to nurse and retain in prison with her. A vision, in which she saw herself ascending a ladder leading to green meadows, where a flock of sheep was browsing, assured her of her approaching martyrdom.
A few days later Perpetua's father, hearing a rumour that the trial of the imprisoned Christians would soon take place, again visited their dungeon and besought her by everything dear to her not to put this disgrace on her name; but Perpetua remained steadfast to her Faith. The next day the trial of the six confessors took place, before the Procurator Hilarianus. All six resolutely confessed their Christian Faith. Perpetua's father, carrying her child in his arms, approached her again and attempted, for the last time, to induce her to apostatize; the procurator also remonstrated with her but in vain. She refused to sacrifice to the gods for the safety of the emperor. The procurator thereupon had the father removed by force, on which occasion he was struck with a whip. The Christians were then condemned to be torn to pieces by wild beasts, for which they gave thanks to God. In a vision Perpetua saw her brother Dinocrates, who had died at the early age of seven, at first seeming to be sorrowful and in pain, but shortly thereafter happy and healthy. Another apparition, in which she saw herself fighting with a savage Ethiopian, whom she conquered, made it clear to her that she would not have to do battle with wild beasts but with the Devil. Saturus, who also wrote down his visions, saw himself and Perpetua transported by four angels, towards the East to a beautiful garden, where they met four other North African Christians who had suffered martyrdom during the same persecution, viz. Jocundus, Saturninus, Artaius, and Quintus. He also saw in this vision Bishop Optatus of Carthage and the priest Aspasius, who prayed the martyrs to arrange a reconciliation between them. In the meanwhile the birthday festival of the Emperor Geta approached, on which occasion the condemned Christians were to fight with wild beasts in the military games; they were therefore transferred to the prison in the camp. The jailer Pudens had learnt to respect the confessors, and he permitted other Christians to visit them. Perpetua's father was also admitted and made another fruitless attempt to pervert her.
Secundulus, one of the confessors, died in prison. Felicitas, who at the time of her incarceration was with child (in the eighth month), was apprehensive that she would not be permitted to suffer martyrdom at the same time as the others, since the law forbade the execution of pregnant women. Happily, two days before the games she gave birth to a daughter, who was adopted by a Christian woman. On 7 March, the five confessors were led into the amphitheatre. At the demand of the pagan mob they were first scourged; then a boar, a bear, and a leopard, were set at the men, and a wild cow at the women. Wounded by the wild animals, they gave each other the kiss of peace and were then put to the sword. Their bodies were interred at Carthage. Their feast day was solemnly commemorated even outside Africa. Thus under 7 March the names of Felicitas and Perpetua are entered in the Philocalian calendar, i.e. the calendar of martyrs venerated publicly in the fourth century at Rome. A magnificent basilica was afterwards erected over their tomb, the Basilica Majorum; that the tomb was indeed in this basilica has lately been proved by Pere Delattre, who discovered there an ancient inscription bearing the names of the martyrs.
The feast of these saints is still celebrated on 7 March. The Latin description of their martyrdom was discovered by Holstenius and published by Poussines. Chapters iii-x contain the narrative and the visions of Perpetua; chapters xi-ciii the vision of Saturus; chapters i, ii and xiv-xxi were written by an eyewitness soon after the death of the martyrs. In 1890 Rendel Harris discovered a similar narrative written in Greek, which he published in collaboration with Seth K. Gifford (London, 1890). Several historians maintain that this Greek text is the original, others that both the Greek and the Latin texts are contemporary; but there is no doubt that the Latin text is the original and that the Greek is merely a translation. That Tertullian is the author of these Acts is an unproved assertion. The statement that these martyrs were all or in part Montanists also lacks proof; at least there is no intimations of it in the Acts. Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, your love gave the saints Perpetua and Felicity courage to suffer a cruel martyrdom. By their prayers, help us to grow in love of you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Vatican sees Creation of Personnel Office a new “General Directorate for Personnel” to be Presided over by a Director

Holy See: creation of centralized Personnel Office
Pope Francis establishes a new “General Directorate for Personnel” in the Vatican in order to facilitate more effective management of employees of the Holy See.
By Vatican News
In response to the proposal advanced by the Council of Cardinals and the Council for the Economy, His Holiness Francis has arranged for the institution of the “General Directorate of Personnel” at the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

The “General Directorate of Personnel” will take on the tasks of the current Personnel Office of the Secretariat of State, and its competence will extend not only to the Dicasteries and entities of the Holy See itself, but also the Institutes (for example, the Institute for the Works of Religion), Factories, Chapters, Administrations, Organs, Foundations, Domus and other entities dependent on the Holy See or in some way connected to it, in derogation of the respective Regulations.

This new Directorate will be presided over by a director and will be endowed with strategic, inspection and operational power, with functions of coordination, control and supervision; it will also be equipped so as to be able to respond, in a timely fashion, to the various requests it will be called upon to meet.

The new “General Directorate of Personnel” will maintain close links with the Secretariat for the Economy, the Labour Office of the Apostolic See, the Pension Fund and the Governorate of Vatican City State, as well as with the independent evaluation commission for the recruitment of lay personnel to the Apostolic See (CIVA).

This is a step of great importance on the path of reform initiated by the Holy Father.
Full Text Source:

Pope Francis chooses Theme for 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees - “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee” on September 27, 2020

The 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be celebrated on Sunday 27 September 2020. As the title for his annual Message, the Holy Father has chosen “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee”. The Message will focus on the pastoral care of internally displaced persons (IDPs), who currently number over 41 million worldwide.
As the title makes clear, the reflection begins with the experience of the young Jesus and his family as displaced persons and refugees. This provides a Christological grounding for the Christian action of welcome or hospitality. Over the coming months, the theme will be developed in six sub-themes expressed by six pairs of verbs: to know in order to understand; to draw near so as to serve; to listen in order to reconcile; to share and thus to grow; to involve in order to promote; and finally, to collaborate and therefore to build.
Again this year, the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will encourage, prepare and support the celebration of this day. Resources are being developed and a communication campaign will soon get underway. Each month, information, reflections, and multimedia aids will be offered as means of exploring and expressing the theme chosen this year by the Holy Father.
[00315-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]

#BreakingNews Patient tests Positive for Coronavirus in Vatican - Certain Activities Suspended and Postponed

Coronavirus: Vatican suspends health services
As the Holy See considers measures to stem the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the Vatican has closed its healthcare services after a patient tested positive for the disease.
By Vatican News

The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, told reporters on Friday morning that the Vatican’s healthcare services have been temporarily shuttered to disinfect facilities used for outpatient services. The Emergency department remains open.

He said the measures were taken after a patient tested positive with the Covid-19 coronavirus on Thursday.

“The Directorate of Health and Hygiene is informing the competent Italian authorities and, in the meantime, the planned health protocols have been initiated,” he added.

Pope on the mend
Earlier, on Thursday evening, Mr. Bruni briefed the media on Pope Francis’ health, as he continues to recover from a common cold.

“The cold with which the Holy Father was diagnosed is running its due course. He continues to celebrate Holy Mass daily and follow the Spiritual Exercises, as we have reported in recent days.”

Vatican activities may be affected
Mr. Bruni also told reporters that the Vatican is considering ways to avoid spreading the Covid-19 coronavirus.

“With regard to the upcoming activities of the Holy Father, the Holy See, and the Vatican City State, measures are being studied to prevent the spread of Covid-19”.

Any actions taken, he said, will be done in coordination with measures decreed by the Italian authorities.

Masses, charity continue in Rome
The Diocese of Rome has cancelled all “non-sacramental activities” until 15 March.

These include catechism classes, marriage preparation courses, retreats, pilgrimages, and most other group activities.

Eucharistic celebrations continue normally in Rome’s churches. But priests are discouraged from inviting the faithful to exchange the sign of peace. Holy Water fonts are also to be emptied.

Despite these precautionary measures, Caritas Rome says the Church’s acts of charity toward the poor will not stop.

Local churches are encouraged to keep soup kitchens open and to provide shelter for the homeless and refugees, while respecting Italian hygiene and sanitary directives.

Full Text Source:

Archbishop Fisher of Sydney provides Insights on Religion and Mental Health "Being a Christian doesn’t immunize you to life’s challenges." Full Text

Sydney Catholic Business Network Luncheon
Hyatt Regency - Archbishop Anthony Fisher's Address - Full Text
I echo Lisa’s welcome to a new year of the Sydney Catholic Business Network and thank you all for your participation.
1. Mental health is a big issue
One in five Australians suffers some form of psychological illness in any particular year, and nearly half do so at some stage in their life.[1] It affects all age groups, sexes, ethnicities, beliefs, professions. The figures are staggering, and mean a lot of people are hurting out there, many of them silently, without professional help, unbeknown to family, friends and work colleagues. Even if you’ve never suffered debilitating anxiety or depression yourself, I bet you know and love someone who has.
Late last year the Productivity Commission issued its draft report on Mental Health in Australia and its effects on businesses like those represented at this network.[2] It found that 75% of those who develop mental illness experience symptoms before they turn 25, and that stress, depression and worse are costing business as much as $17b a year in absenteeism (and sick-leave related costs) and ‘presenteeism’ (where an employee is at work but less productive).[3] If the problem is now recognized by many workplace leaders, it’s still not always clear what to do about it.
2. Why the rise of mental illness and what to do about it?
Like the rise of allergies, ADHD and Asperger’s, some of this huge rise in mental illness numbers is a consequence of greater awareness, declining stigma, better identification, and increased reporting. But as with allergies something about modernity seems to be contributing to a real rise in psychological issues.
Amongst the factors identified in the literature are:
  • Financial, work, study, social or personal pressures[4]
  • Family and relationship breakdown and social isolation[5]
  • School, workplace, domestic or cyber bullying[6]
  • Negative media and desensitised culture[7]
  • Substance use and abuse[8]
  • Access to professional help.[9]
But I wonder if there’s also a religious element to some of today’s mental health challenges and solutions… To what extent might people be less anxious or depressed if they prayed and meditated more? Or if their religious understanding and practice were deepened? To what extent might people be more resilient to internal and external pressures if they had such experiences and support?
3. Mental health and the loss of faith
Earlier I noted that, as with asthma and allergies, something(s) about modernity seems to be contributing to psychological issues. Today I’d like to identify a few possible spiritual-moral factors. Back in the 1960s the great sociologist Peter Berger coined the term ‘plausibility structures’ – structures of family, friends, institutions and cultural practices that contribute to the plausibility and durability of particular beliefs. In the past, he observed, religion had very strong plausibility structures: it was supported by extended family, ethnic group, neighbourhood, school, civil law and social customs. These prioritized churchgoing, for instance, and this in turn provided a source of identity and a social glue. But those previous plausibility structures have largely dissolved, contributing not only to a steady decline in religious faith and practice but very possibly to a parallel rise of mental illness.
Of course, the relationship is a complex one. At some times and places religion has problem contributed to obsessions and manias, or misunderstood psychological disorders as diabolical possession or moral failure, and applied remedies that were far from helpful.[10] At other times and places Christians and other believers have recognised mental illness for what it is, have loved and prayed for the sick, and have cared for them in the home, the parish and the first mental health institutions established by religious orders.
A large body of contemporary research suggests that, on the whole, religious beliefs and practices are associated with ‘greater well-being, less depression and anxiety, greater social support, and less substance abuse’.[11] Though the evidence is controverted, many credible studies have found that prayer, meditation, ritual, religious-moral teaching and practice contribute to the prevention or healing of mental illness.
Religion contributes to individual and social wellbeing by offering meaning, purpose and hope, by proposing practices that express and underpin these beliefs, by providing a range of educational, health and welfare services to members and outsiders, and by giving people other human and (they believe) divine support. These religions also cultivate a kind of character and integrity that may contribute to psychological resilience, and relationships that can be preventative of mental illness (by preempting social isolation, for instance) or supportive when people are suffering (e.g. when grieving a loved one). Above all, perhaps, the great faiths offer keys to human self-understanding that may help people maintain balance, perspective, self-criticism and virtue. It is far from clear that secular modernity has found equally effective structures of ideals and support.
4. The Bible and mental health
In the Old Testament God the Father and Creator saw the world and judged it very good (Gen 1:31). That ‘God don’t make junk’. Though human beings – and the rest of creation – are damaged by the Fall,[12] and that brokenness plays out in various ways, including physical and psychological illness, still human beings are all loved by God and destined to greatness.
And so in the Scriptures we see God’s people cry out to Him in their loneliness and affliction: “Why are you cast down, my soul, why all the turmoil within me? Hope in God, I shall praise Him still.”[13]This God cares for them in their brokenness: “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,” says the Psalmist, “and saves the crushed in spirit”.[14] So God the Father and Creator draws His people out of the deepest psychological pits.[15]
In the Gospels God the Son and Redeemer took our nature and experienced our challenges. He was tempted,[16]felt gut-wrenching compassion,[17]wept with grief.[18] He was disappointed,[19] deeply troubled,[20] frightened[21] and even angry.[22]At one stage relatives thought He was “beside himself”[23] and the Jews declared Him mad or possessed.[24] He felt despondency as He cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[25] Jesus is God, then, sympathizing with the human condition from the inside.
What’s more, Jesus acknowledges that our sicknesses – like that of the man born blind – are not our fault, not punishment for our sins or the sins of those around us.[26] Though Christians recognize that trials can produce fruits like maturity, compassion and endurance,[27] their God is a God of love, who never treats human beings as playthings or actively wills their torment.[28]
Jesus sympathizes, explains and then responds. He calms storms within as well as outside. He returns dignity to women racked by shame,[29] a place in society to outcast lepers,[30] the dying to anxious intercessors,[31] loved ones to the grieving.[32] He brings peace to a demoniac who was self-harming by cutting himself with stones, so people “saw the man dressed and in his right mind”.[33] Luke’s Jesus came “to set free the oppressed” and to heal “every kind of sickness”.[34] He sought to include an ever-widening group amongst those we count neighbour, friend and family,[35] to demonstrate the hospitality of God to all,[36] and to mandate His disciples to do likewise.[37]
The Son of God came, He said, so that we “might have life, life to the full” and He was willing to give His life to that end.[38] That mission continued in the Acts of the Apostles when the disciples experienced the Holy Spirit praying in them and for them when they could only moan in despair.[39] He brings comfort, healing and guidance.[40] The great commission to preach and heal as Jesus did might seem impossible, but under the Spirit’s influence those first Christians did just that.[41]
They experienced that Spirit bringing love in place of isolation, joy instead of depression, peace in lieu of panic, patience rather than compulsion, kindness to self instead of self-harm, gentleness to others instead of violence, generosity in lieu of narcissism, fidelity for fickleness, and self-control in place of various behavioural disorders.[42] The God of Inspiration is prevention and therapy for many maladies of the heart.
5. The Church and mental health
The Church has had a long-standing interest in the interior life. It’s ministry has often been called ‘the cure of souls’. This reflects the ancient image of Christ the Physician of souls and bodies.[43]
Confessors, penitents and others have long recognised that there are links between the psychological and spiritual dimensions of the person;[44] that identity, direction and community are important for both; that knowing one is infinitely loved by God and receiving moral and spiritual formation can ground a certain resilience to psychological stress; that prayer and meditation, confession and anointing can be significant contributors to well-being; that the Church can provide healthcare and psychological services as well; that the Christian community can instantiate and model communion with the mentally ill; and that it can and should champions the rights of the psychologically frail in the wider community even as it offers them friendship and a spiritual home.
Being a Christian doesn’t immunize you to life’s challenges. The three St Teresas – of Avila, Lisieux and Calcutta – probably all suffered from depression; they certainly knew about ‘the dark night of the soul’. As St Augustine put it: Christians “both fear and desire, grieve and rejoice.” They are not immune to such psychological tensions, he insisted, but “because their love is rightly placed, all these emotions of theirs are made right”.[45]
If 1 in 5 people suffers from mental health issues of one kind or another, Sydney Catholic Business Network members face a daunting challenge. Yet when someone once asked Mother Teresa how she could possibly help the millions of poor and needy in Calcutta, she replied ‘One at a time’. Let’s promise to do what we can.

[1]     Lauren Cook, “Mental Health in Australia: A Quick Guide”, Research Paper Series 2018-19, 14 February 2019 .
[2]     Productivity Commission, Mental Health Draft Report: Overview and Recommendations (October 2019). The final report is expected later this year.
[3]     Stephen Lunn, “Mental illness costs $180bn, study reveals,” The Australian 31 October 2019. Cf. Leon Gettler, “The surprising cost of mental health in the workplace,” Blue Notes 30 May 2016; TNS Social Research, State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia (2014); VicHealth, “Excessive pressure at work is costing Australia’s economy $730 million a year due to job-stress related depression, a University of Melbourne and VicHealth report has revealed,” 16 December 2014$730m-a-year
[4]     Australian Psychological Society, Stress and Wellbeing: How Australians Are Coping with Life,19%20per%20cent%20in%202015; Centre for Social Impact, Why is Financial Stress on the Rise? Financial Resilience in Australia 2016 (Sep 2017)
[5]     Relationships Australia, Issues and Concerns for Australian Relationships Today (2011); Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “Social Isolation and Loneliness” (11 Sep 2019),
[7]     Centre for Media Transition, The Impact of Digital Platforms on News and Journalistic Content (University of Technology Sydney, 2018)
[8]     Christopher Dowrick & Allen Frances, ‘Medicalising and medicating unhappiness’, British Medical Journal, 347(7937) (2013), 20-23; Gordon Parker, “Is Depression over-diagnosed? Yes”, British Medical Journal 335(7615) (2007), 328; Allan Horwitz & Jerome Wakefield, The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder (OUP: 2007); Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Illicit Drug Use
[9]     Natasha Robinson, “’Missing middle’ slip through mental healthcare gaps,” The Australian 30 October 2019; Stephen Lunn, “Early checks needed to ease mental risks,” The Australian 31 October 2019 – both referring to Productivity Commissioon,
[10]    Cf. H. Koenig & D. Larson, “Religion and mental health: Evidence for an association,”  International Review of Psychiatry 13(2) (2009), 67-78.
[11]    Koenig & Larson, ‘Religion and mental health’.  Cf. also N. AbdAleati, N. Zaharim & Y. Mydin, “Religiousness and mental health: Systematic review study,” Journal of Religion & Health 55(6) (2016), 1929-37; S. Dein et al, “Religion, spirituality and mental health,” Psychiatrist 34(2) (2010), 63-4 and “Religion, spirituality, and mental health: Current controversies and future directions,” Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease 200(10) (2012), 852-55; R. Dew et al, “Religion/spirituality and adolescent psychiatric symptoms: A review,” Child Psychiatry & Human Development 39(4) (2008), 381-98; C. Estrada et al, “Religious education can contribute to adolescent mental health in school settinmgs,” International Journal of Mental Health Systems 13(28) (2019); A. Fabricatore et al, “Stress, religion, and mental health: Religious coping in mediating and moderating roles,” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 14(2) (2004), 91-108; R. Fallot, “Spirituality and religion in psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery from mental illness,” International Review of Psychiatry 13(2) (2001), 110-16 and “Spirituality and religion in recovery: Some current issues,” Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal xxx; N. Fisher, “Science says: Religion is good for your health,” Forbes 29 March 2019; J. Fruehwirth, “The science is in: Faith can be effective against adolescent depression,” America 30 September 2019; L. George, C. Ellison & D. Larson, “Explaining the Relationships between religious involvement and health,” Psychological Inquiry 13(3) (2002), 190-200; M. Harrison et al, “The epidemiology of religious coping; a review of recent literature,” International Review of Psychiatry 13(2) (2001), 86-93; J. Hovey, “Religion-based emotional social support mediates the relationship between intrinsic religiosity and mental health,” Archives of Suicide Research 18(4) (2014), 376-91; K. Jansen et al, “Anxiety, depression and students’ religiosity,” Mental Health 12(3) (2010), 267-71; M. King et al, “Religion, spirituality and mental health: Results from a national study of English households,” British Journal of Psychiatry 202(1) (2013), 68-73; H.G. Koenig, “Research on religion, spirituality, and mental health: A review,” Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 54(5)(2009), 283-91 and “Religion, spirituality, and health: A review and update,” Advances in Mind-Body Medicine 29(3) (2015), 19-26; D. Larrivee & L. Echarte, “Contemplative meditation and neuroscience: Prospects for mental health,” Journal of Religion & Health 57(3) (2018), 960-78; D. Oman, C.E. Thoresen, and J. Hedberg, ‘Mental health, religion, and culture’, Journal of Psychology & Theology 42(2) (2014), 229-30; K. Pargament, “The psychology of religion and spirituality? Yes and No,” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 9(1) (1999), 3-16 and “The bitter and the sweet: An evaluation of the costs and benefits of religiousness,” Psychological Inquiry 13(3) (2002), 168-81; I. R. Payne et al, “Review of religion and mental health: Prevention and enhancement of psychosocial functioning,” Prevention in Human Services 9(2) (1991), 11-40; M. Petres et al, “Mechanisms behind religiosity and spirituality’s effect on mental health, quality of life and well-being,” Journal of Religion & Health 57(5) (2018), 1842-55; L. Rew & Y Wong, “A systematic review of associations among religiosity/spirituality and adolescent health attitudes and behaviors,” Journal of Adolescent Health 38 (2006), 433–42; B-Y. Rhi, “Culture, spirituality, and mental health,” Psychiatric Clinics of North America 24(3) (2001), 569-79; A. Shaw, “Religion, spirituality, and posttraumatic growth: A systematic review,” Mental Health, Religion & Culture 8(1) (2005), 1-11; K. Siegel et al, “Religion and coping with health-related stress,” Psychology & Health 16(6) (2001), 631-53; T. Sion & P. Nash, ‘Coping through prayer: An empirical study in implicit religion concerning prayers for children in hospital’, Mental Health, Religion & Culture 16, 936-52; L. Vitorino et al, “The association between spirituality and religiousness and mental health,” Scientific Reports 8 (2018); S. Weber & K. Pargament, “The role of religion and spirituality in mental health,” Current Opinion in Psychiatry 27(5) (2014), 358-63; Y. Wong et al., “A systematic review of recent research on adolescent religiosity/spirituality and mental health,” Issues in Mental Health & Nursing 27(2) (2009), 161-83.
[12]    Gen ch 3; Ps 73:26; Isa 40:30; 1Cor 15:42; 2Cor 4:16; CCC 1264; 2448.
[13]    Ps 42:5; cf. 6:3; 5:16; 32:5; 38:5; 39:9,12; 88:3; 107:20 etc.
[14]    Ps 34:18; cf. 145:18; Ex 15:26.
[15]    Job 33:28; Ps 40:2; 103:4; Lam 3:55.
[16]    Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:13; Lk 4:2-13.
[17]    Mt 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34; Lk 6:36; 7:13; 15:20.
[18]    Jn 11:35.
[19]    Mk 6:6.
[20]    Mt 26:37-9; Jn 13:21.
[21]    Lk 22:44.
[22]    Mt 21:12-7; Mk 11:15-9; Lk 19:45-8; Jn 2:13-6.
[23]    Mk 3:21.
[24]    Mk 3:22; Jn 10:19-20.
[25]    Mt 27:46.
[26]    Jn 9:3. Cf. CCC 2448.
[27]    Isa 53:11; Rom 5:3-5; Jas 1:2; CCC 1501 etc.
[28]    1Jn chs 3 & 4.
[29]    Lk 7:36-50; 8:43-8; 13:10-17; Jn 8:1-11; cf. Rom 8:1; 1Jn 1:9.
[30]    e.g. Lk 5:12-16.
[31]    Lk 7:2-10; Jn 4:46-54.
[32]    Lk 7:11-17; 8:40-49; Jn 11:1-44.
[33]    Mk 5:1-20; Lk 8:26-39.
[34]    Lk 4:18-19,38-41; 6:18-9; 7:21-2; 9:11.
[35]    Mt 5:4; 11:19; Mk 3:31-5; Lk 7:34; 10:29-37; 14:12; 15:15.
[36]    Lk 5:27-32; 7:36-50; 9:11-17; 10:38-42; 15:1-2; 19:1-10.
[37]    Mt 10:8; Mk 6:12-3; 16:17-8; Lk 9:2; 10:37.
[38]    Jn 3:16; 10:10; 15:13.
[39]    Rom 8:26-7.
[40]    Acts 9:31; 10:38; 11:24; Rom 8:2-16; 9:1; 14:17; 15:13 etc. Cf. Jn 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7.
[41]    Acts 2:19,22,43; 3:1-16; 4:8-10; 5:12; 9:32-4; 14:8-10; Jas 5:14.
[42]    Gal 5:22-3; CCC 736; 1832.
[43]    CCC 1509.
[44]    CCC 1500-5.
[45]    St. Augustine, City of God, Book 14, 9.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : 1st Friday, March 6, 2020 - #Eucharist in Lent

Friday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 228

Reading 1EZ 18:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed,
if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;
he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?
says the Lord GOD.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
that he may live?
And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,
can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because he has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, he shall die.
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,
does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7A, 7BC-8

R.    (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R.    If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R.    If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Let Israel wait for the LORD.
R.    If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R.    If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Verse Before The GospelEZ 18:31

Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

GospelMT 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”