Monday, September 18, 2017

Every year his blood bubbles; it's true

St. Januarius

Image of St. Januarius


Feastday: September 19
Patron of blood banks; Naples; volcanic eruptions

St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento during the Emperor Diocletion persecution. Bishop Januarius went to visit two deacons and two laymen in prison. He was then also imprison along with his deacon and lector. They were thrown to the wild beasts, but when the animals did not attack them, they were beheaded. What is believed to be Januarius' blood is kept in Naples, as a relic. It liquifies and bubbles when exposed in the cathedral. Scientists have not been able to explain this miracle to date. St. Januarius lived and died around 305 A.D. and his feast day is September 19th

Pope Francis Monday Morning Homily

At Santa Marta Pope Urges 5 Minutes of Prayer for Those in Power
‘It Is a Sin Not to Pray for Rulers’

Mass at Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano
Mass at Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano
Take five minutes today to reflect on the duty to pray for rulers, requested Pope Francis during the morning Mass at Santa Marta Residence, on September 18, 2017. “It’s a sin not to pray for rulers,” he warned.
In his homily, reported on Vatican Radio in Italian, the Holy Father commented on the day’s Readings, where Saint Paul recommends “supplications, prayers  … for kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:1-8) and where a Roman centurion implores Jesus to cure his slave (Luke 7:1-10).
This centurion, he noted, “felt the need to pray” because “he was aware that he was not the master of everything, that he was not the last resort.” On the contrary, he who “does not pray, shuts himself in his self-reference or in that of his party, in this circle that one can’t get out of; he is a man closed in on himself.”
A ruler should have “this consciousness of subordination,” he must remember “that there is another who has more power than him. Who has more power than a ruler? The people who gave him the power and God, from whom the power comes through the people. When a ruler has this consciousness of subordination, he prays.”
The ruler’s prayer, continued the Pope, “is the prayer for the common good of the people entrusted to him.” To unbelievers, he recommended: “If you can’t pray, consult . . . your conscience … wise men of your people . . . but don’t remain alone with the small group of your party.”
And the people must pray for all rulers without exception, stressed the Pontiff, preventing objections. “’No, I didn’t vote for him . . . let him do what he wants.’ No, we can’t leave rulers alone; we must accompany them with prayer. Christians must pray for rulers. “But Father, how can one pray for one who’s done so many bad things?’ ‘He has even greater need. Pray, do penance for the ruler.’”
“I ask you for a favor,” concluded Pope Francis, “that each one of you take five minutes today, not more. If he is a ruler, let him ask himself: “Do I pray for the one who gave me the power through the intermediary of the people?’ . . . If one is not a ruler, ‘Do I pray  . . . for all rulers?’ When you do your examination of conscience to go to Confession, if you find that you’ve not prayed for rulers, bring that to Confession, because it’s a sin not to pray for rulers.”

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The flying Saint

St. Joseph of Cupertino

Image of St. Joseph of Cupertino


Feastday: September 18
Patron of Aviators, Flying, Studying, and those suffering mental handicaps
Birth: 1603
Death: 1663
Beatified By: by Pope Benedict XIV in 1753
Canonized By: by Pope Clement XIII in 1767

St. Joseph was born in 1603 at Cupertino, in the diocese of Nardo in the Kingdom of Naples. After spending his childhood and adolescence in simplicity and innocence, he finally joined the Franciscan Friars Minor Conventual. After his ordination to the holy priesthood, he gave himself up entirely to a life of devotion to the Lord and his church. His deep devotional life led him to the kind of holiness which is forged through humility, voluntary mortification, and obedience. He was consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and promoted devotion to her among all classes of people as wonderful path to a deeper Christian life and love for Jesus Christ.
It is said that his mother often considered him a nuisance and treated him harshly. Joseph was purported to be slow to learn and absent-minded. He was said to frequently wander aimlessly, with his mouth gaping open. And, he had a bad temper, so, he was not at all popular. He tried to learn the trade of shoemaking, but failed. He asked to become a Franciscan, but they initially would not accept him. Finally he did join the Capuchins. However, for a very short period of time. Eight months later, they sent him away. Sources say it was because he could not seem to do anything right.
He dropped piles of dishes and kept forgetting to do what he was told. His mother was not at all pleased to have the eighteen-year-old Joseph back home again, so she finally got him accepted as a servant at the Franciscan monastery. He was given the friars habit and put to hard work taking care of the horses.
About this time, Joseph began to change. He grew in humility and gentleness, fruits of the Holy Spirit at work in a person. He became more careful and successful at his work. He also began to pray more do more voluntary acts of penance. Finally, he was able to enter the Franciscan order and, eventually, study for the priesthood. Although he was a good and holy friar, he had a very hard time with studies. During his seminary exams, the examiner happened to ask him to explain the only thing he knew well, and so he was ordained a deacon, and later a priest.
After this, the Holy Spirit began to work many amazing miracles through St. Joseph. Over seventy times, people say they saw him rise from the ground while offering mass or praying. Often he went into ecstasy and would be caught up in talking with God. He fell so deeply in love with God that everything he saw only drew him into a deeper union. He said that all the troubles of this world were nothing but the "play" battles children have with popguns. St. Joseph became so famous for the miracles that he was finally kept hidden from the public, but he was happy for the chance to be alone with his beloved Lord. On His part, Jesus never left him alone and one day came to bring him to Heaven. Pope Clement XIII canonized him in 1767. He is the patron saint of air travelers, pilots and learning disabled.
The life of this saint was marked by ecstasies and levitations. The mere mention of God or a spiritual matter was enough to take him out of his senses; at Mass he is said to have frequently floated in the air in rapture. Once as Christmas carols were being sung, he soared to the high altar and knelt in the air, in ecstatic prayer. The people flocked to him in droves seeking help and advice in the confessional, and he assisted many in living a truly devout Christian life. However, this humble man had to endure many severe trials and terrible temptations throughout his life. He died on September 18, 1663

Homily for 24th Sunday Ordinary Time

In 1970 the big movie of the year was Love Story and in that movie we all learned this famous line: "love means never having to say I'm sorry."  Well, I'm here to tell you that is just bunk; not true, love, often requires the words "I'm sorry"  Actually, to hear words like I forgive you, I'm sorry, please forgive me and you are forgiven are words of love; it's part of the language of love.

As people of faith we are called to love, and we are called to forgive.

Today's Gospel is from the 18th chapter of Matthew and continues the teachings of Jesus relative to how the members of His Church must live.  Last week we got a lesson on fraternal correction, this week we have a lesson on compassion, forgiveness and mercy.  And it begins with Saint Peter, our very 1st Pope.  Saint Peter, who often leads with his mouth is prepared today when he brings his question to Jesus.  Wanting to know how often he must forgive a brother who has hurt him, he offer the number 7 to Jesus; I think we should forgive 7 times he tells Jesus.  Now Peter would know that the Jewish teaching of that day was 3 times we must forgive; so he was actually being very generous with the suggestion of 7 times.  Then Jesus corrects him and says how about 77 times, or in other translations of this same Gospel it says 7 X 70 times.  So Jesus greatly increases Peter's offer of 7 times.  Whether Jesus meant 77 or 490 is not the point, both answers imply all the time.

To drive home His point, Jesus goes on to tell the story of these two servants; one who owes a great debt, the other a small debt.  The servant who owed the great debt begs for mercy and is met with compassion.  His debt is forgiven.  He is free!  And how much was his debt?  We are told 10,000 talents; in today's world that would translate to a sum of about $ 3.2 million.  Yet his first encounter after having his debt cleared is to confront a fellow servant who owed him a debt of just about $ 10.  To him, he showed no mercy, no compassion.  He mistreated him and had him put away.  But the master heard of his lack of compassion and summoned him back.  I forgave you a great debt and you could not do the same for your fellow servant.  In a moment of righteous anger, he had him put away too.  Then Jesus delivered the message we all must hear and hear clearly, unless we forgive our brothers and sisters, our Heavenly Father will not forgive us.  Who here does not want the promise of God's forgiveness and mercy?  After all we just heard proclaimed that the Lord is kind and merciful.  Yet Jesus makes it clear; mercy is for those who give mercy.

On our own this might be darn near impossible.  Some of us here may have hurts and wounds that are deep and raw and seemingly impossible to forget.  Yet St. Paul gives us a way.  We hear today, if we live, we live for Christ; if we die, we die for Christ.  In all things, we are for Christ.  Brothers and sisters, if we live for Christ, if we are prepared to die for Christ, we can ask and receive the graces from God to be a person of compassion, a person of forgiveness.

All throughout every Mass, we are reminded about forgiveness.  In the penitential rite, we confess our sinfulness to God and "to you my brothers and sisters".  When we pray this, do we ever think about that; right there at the very beginning of Mass, we include our brothers and sisters in our prayer of sorrow for sin.  Then we pray the Our Father in every Mass, and hopefully in our daily prayer life too.  Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.  Dare I say, if we are not about forgiveness, if we still harbor a grudge, we are not sincerely praying the Lord's Prayer.  This prayer totally mirrors this Gospel message and many others, we beg God for mercy and we offer mercy, to one another.  Finally we offer the sign of peace at every Mass right before we approach the altar to receive the precious Body of Jesus in Holy Communion.  This was placed in the Mass to remind us that Scripture calls us to be reconciled to one another before presenting ourselves at the altar of the Lord.  Even something as important as receiving Jesus in Holy Communion compels us to forgive one another.

Several weeks ago I had an opportunity in a homily to suggest we all pray for someone that week we were not fully reconciled with.  Whoever that person may be, and for whatever reason we feel hurt, take that person to prayer and seek God's grace to be able to forgive.  May this Gospel today encourage each of us to revisit those efforts.  Again, Jesus is not offering a personal opinion or a holy suggestion, He is commanding us to forgive one another if we desire forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.

The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion.

And Love does mean saying I'm sorry and I forgive you!

Visionary, propecy, writings, Saint

St. Hildegarde

Image of St. Hildegarde


Feastday: September 17
Death: 1179

Hildegarde at Bockelheim, Germany, in 1098. Afflicted with fragile health as a child, she was placed in the care of her aunt, Blessed Jutta, who lived as a recluse. Jutta eventually formed a community of nuns, and Hildegarde joined the group, becoming prioress of the house when Jutta died in 1136. Hildegarde moved the community to Rupertsburg, near Bingen on the Rhine, and she established still another convent at Eibengen around the year 1165, overcoming great opposition on many occasions. Hildegarde was known for visions and prophecies, which at her spiritual directors request, she recorded. They were set down in a work called Scivias and approved by the archbishop of Mainz and Pope Eugenius III at the recommendation of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Living in a turbulent age, Hildegarde put her talents to work in the quest for obtaining true justice and peace. She corresponded with four popes, two emperors, King Henry II of England, and famous clergy. Her pronouncements attracted the fancy of the populace-drawing down upon her both acclaim and disparagement. Hildegarde wrote on many subjects. Her works included commentaries on the Gospels, the Athanasian Creed, and the Rule of St. Benedict as well as Lives of the Saints and a medical work on the well-being of the body. She is regarded as one of the greatest figures of the 12th century the first of the great German mystics as well as a poet, a physician, and a prophetess. She has been compared to Dante and to William Blake. This remarkable woman of God died on September 17, 1179. Miracles were reported at her death, and she was proclaimed as a Saint by the multitudes. She was never formally canonized, but her name was inserted in the Roman Martyrology in the fifteenth century

Today's Sunday Angelus on forgiveness

Angelus Address: On Forgiveness
“Whoever Has Experienced the Joy, the Peace and the Interior Freedom that Comes from Being Forgiven, Can Open Himself in Turn to the Possibility of Forgiving”

Angelus / Foto: Francesco Sforza - © PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
* * *
Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s evangelical passage (Cf. Matthew 18:21-35) gives us a teaching on forgiveness, which doesn’t deny the wrong suffered but recognizes that the human being, created in the image of God, is always greater than the evil he commits. Saint Peter asked Jesus: “how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (v. 21). To Peter it already seems the maximum to forgive the same person seven times; and perhaps for us it seems a lot to do so twice. But Jesus answers: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (v. 22), that is, always: you must forgive always. And He confirms it recounting the parable of the merciful king and of the merciless servant, in which He shows the incoherence of him who was first forgiven and then refuses to forgive.
The king of the parable is a generous man that, gripped by compassion, condones an enormous debt — “ten thousand talents”: enormous — to a servant that entreats him. However, that same servant, no sooner he meets another fellow servant who owes him one hundred denarii — that is, much less –, behaves mercilessly, having him thrown into prison. The incoherent attitude of this servant is also ours, when we refuse to forgive our brothers. While the king of the parable is the image of God, who loves us with a love so rich in mercy as to receive us, love us and forgive us continually.
Since our Baptism God has forgiven us, condoning an insolvent debt: original sin. However, that is the first time. Then, with unbounded mercy, He forgives us all our faults no sooner we show even a small sign of repentance. God is thus: merciful. When we are tempted to close our heart to one who has offended us and apologizes, let us remember the words of the celestial Father to the merciless servant: “I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (vv. 32-33). Whoever has experienced the joy, the peace and the interior freedom that comes from being forgiven, can open himself in turn to the possibility of forgiving.
In the prayer of the Our Father, Jesus wished to insert the same teaching of this parable. He put in direct relation the forgiveness that we ask of God, with the forgiveness that we must grant our brothers: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).  God’s forgiveness is the sign of His overflowing love for each one of us; it’s a love that leaves us free to go away, as the prodigal son, but waits every day for our return. It’s the enterprising love of the shepherd for the lost sheep; it’s the tenderness that receives every sinner that knocks at its door. The celestial Father  — our Father — is full of love and wants to offer it to us, but He can’t do so if we close our heart to love for others.
May the Virgin Mary help us to be ever more aware of the gratuitousness and grandeur of the forgiveness received from God, to become merciful like Him, good Father, slow to anger and great in love.
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims from different countries: families, parish groups, Associations. I greet the faithful of La Plata (Argentina), the officers of the Military School of Colombia, and the catechists of Rho. I greet the participants in the Via Pacis footrace, which has touched places of worship of the different religious Confessions present in Rome. I hope that this cultural and sports initiative can foster dialogue, coexistence and peace.
I greet the numerous young people from Loreto, accompanied by Capuchin Friars, who began today a day of reflection and meditation: you bring us the “perfume” of the Shrine of the Holy House, thank you!  I also greet the Pro Loco volunteers and the walkers who today begin the relay for Assisi. good walk!
I wish you all a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Saint who fought againt heresies after the Protestant rebellion

St. Robert Bellarmine

Image of St. Robert Bellarmine


Feastday: September 17
Birth: 1542
Death: 1621

Born at Montepulciano, Italy, October 4, 1542, St. Robert Bellarmine was the third of ten children. His mother, Cinzia Cervini, a niece of Pope Marcellus II, was dedicated to almsgiving, prayer, meditation, fasting, and mortification of the body.
Robert entered the newly formed Society of Jesus in 1560 and after his ordination went on to teach at Louvain (1570-1576) where he became famous for his Latin sermons. In 1576, he was appointed to the chair of controversial theology at the Roman College, becoming Rector in 1592; he went on to become Provincial of Naples in 1594 and Cardinal in 1598.
This outstanding scholar and devoted servant of God defended the Apostolic See against the anti-clericals in Venice and against the political tenets of James I of England. He composed an exhaustive apologetic work against the prevailing heretics of his day. In the field of church-state relations, he took a position based on principles now regarded as fundamentally democratic - authority originates with God, but is vested in the people, who entrust it to fit rulers.
This saint was the spiritual father of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, helped St. Francis de Sales obtain formal approval of the Visitation Order, and in his prudence opposed severe action in the case of Galileo. He has left us a host of important writings, including works of devotion and instruction, as well as controversy. He died in 1621

Bishop and patristic writer

St. Cyprian

Image of St. Cyprian


Feastday: September 16
Death: 258

Cyprian of Carthage, Bishop often called the African Pope, was an important Patristic writer of the early Church. His writings can be found in most patristic books including Jurgens, Vol. 1 pg. 216. AD258 One of the early writers of the Primacy of the Pope as stated in :The Unity of the Catholic Church". A very important writer which shows that the Protestant view that the Chair of Peter was a later invention, is false

A 3rd century Pope and Martyr

St. Cornelius
Image of St. Cornelius


Feastday: September 16

Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, Cornelius was elected Pope to succeed Fabian in an election delayed fourteen months by Decius' persecution of the Christians. The main issue of his pontificate was the treatment to be accorded Christians who had been apostasized during the persecution. He condemned those confessors who were lax in not demanding penance of these Christians and supported St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, against Novatus and his dupe, Felicissimus, whom he had set up as an antibishop to Cyprian, when Novatus came to Rome. On the other hand, he also denounced the Rigorists, headed by Novatian, a Roman priest, who declared that the Church could not pardon the lapsi (the lapsed Christians), and declared himself Pope. However, his declaration was illegitimate, making him an antipope. The two extremes eventually joined forces, and the Novatian movement had quite a vogue in the East. Meanwhile, Cornelius proclaimed that the Church had the authority and the power to forgive repentant lapsi and could readmit them to the sacraments and the Church after they had performed proper penances. A synod of Western bishops in Rome in October 251 upheld Cornelius, condemned the teachings of Novatian, and excommunicated him and his followers. When persecutions of the Christians started up again in 253 under Emperor Gallus, Cornelius was exiled to Centum Cellae (Civita Vecchia), where he died a martyr probably of hardships he was forced to endure