Monday, February 27, 2017

A 5th century Pope promoting Church unity

Image of St. Hilary, Pope


Feastday: February 28
Death: 468

Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. He was born in Sardinia, Italy, and was a papal legate to the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, barely escaping with his life from this affair. Hilary was used by Pope St. Leo I the Great on many assignments. When Leo died, Hilary was elected pope and consecrated on November 19,461. He worked diligently to strengthen the Church in France and Spain, calling councils in 462 and 465. Hilary also rebuilt many Roman churches and erected the chapel of St. John Lateran. He also publicly rebuked Emperor Anthemius in St. Peter's for supporting the Macedonian heresy and sent a decree to the Eastern bishops validating the decisions of the General Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. Hilary consolidated the Church in Sandi, Africa, and Gaul. He died in Rome on February 28.

Lessons I've learned; things I need to share

On this very quiet and peaceful night(at least at my house) before Mardi Gras, I feel moved, to share some lessons I've learned, maybe perceptions, personal growth, whatever this turns out to be.  This may turn out to be more of a rant and it certainly is not meant to be mean spirited.  In fact, this incredible tug I feel tonight to share is something I am discerning even as I type.  Perhaps by the end of this, I will know why/how the Holy Spirit is involved in this.  So here goes:

First things first; I really have come to despise most of what we have turned Mardi Gras to be; a raucous, foul-mouthed, drunken orgy that encourages an attitude of anything goes.  From a young child, a teenager, even a young father, I lived for Mardi Gras activities.  I always got the impression back in the day that my kids and my wife just went along to help me satisfy my obsession with Carnival.  But my eyes were opened through the years that all the focus, by everyone, especially the media, is on the nasty side of this holiday.  Folks, it is a Catholic based celebration, and I acknowledge the French were probably a bit risqué in developing the "farewell to the flesh".  But Carnival and Mardi Gras(which is a single day and not a season) was always meant to focus on the most important day, Ash Wednesday.  Yes there was rich food and consumption of wine, but our Carnival in New Orleans is all flesh, booze and foul-mouthed behavior, it can be a city-wide orgy.  Families do try and keep it family friendly, sadly, the prevailing culture says, no, make Carnival and Mardi Gras as wild as ever, and as long as you get your ashes on Ash Wednesday, all is well.  Yep, I know, what a Louisiana buzz-kill.  But this is my honest and sincere opinion.  Enjoy the season and the holiday as traditionally as you care to but ask yourself, if what I am witnessing right now, would I take Jesus to see with me?  If not, move on.

As a Permanent Deacon sometimes the most thankfully Catholic people I encounter every month are my inmates at Rayburn.  Why, and I'm speaking very generally, why do we Catholics rarely exhibit a spirit of joy and an attitude of gratitude.  Yes, I surely know and work with many Catholics who are just like this; but I also encounter many faithful Catholics who seem to drink lemon juice straight, as their beverage of choice.  C'mon Catholics, be the light and salt and witness we are called to be.  I find it exhilarating to be Catholic, I hope you do too!  Yes, reality can be a downer sometimes, especially during crisis and loss, but speaking generally, we should be preaching our faith to others through not only words, but by actions, attitude and demeanor!

And before I move on, please dear Catholics know your faith.  Recently we added a holy hour to our Sunday schedule with Benediction just a few moments before Mass.  I had to admonish recently the behavior I witnessed during Benediction; you'd never know that Jesus is present in that monstrance based on what I could see from my vantage point.  And when Catholics attend baptisms, weddings and funerals, why do we not know when to sit, stand or kneel and why do we have no clue as to the proper responses.  We must do better and I am committing here and now that when I see that which I believe to be an abuse, I'm speaking out.  Yes, I will do so pastorally and never will I intentional embarrass or belittle, God forbid, but we have to do better as a people of our Catholic faith.

Next, why do we, as social media freaks, truly believe that our constant postings for or against a President, any other politicians or a political issue will make one iota of a difference?  I'm perplexed at the garbage I see with increasing frequency and for most of you it is highly predictable.  I mean if we were that passionate about our faith beliefs and faith life, we would all be living in a more incredibly awesome, caring world.  I get politics, I have my own likes and dislikes.  But all we do when we rush to social media is affirm ourselves, affirm those who believe just like us and alienate those who do not believe just like us.  It's that simple.  And even if you are a political freak, if you are a Christian, much of what I see is not Christian, much of it is calumny; don't know what that means?  Look it up, please! 

Finally, something I've experienced recently is a pattern of daily prayer really, really helps.  Recently, trying my best to do something special in this 100th year anniversary of Fatima, I've paid attention to prayer pattern.  Let me suggest some of what I am doing as a way to maybe jump start your prayer life.  I am now waking every morning to two prayers, the Morning Offering and the Angelus.  I love the Morning Offering and wish I would never have abandoned this prayer; it keeps things in perspective, especially if you know the day may be difficult.  I pray the Angelus in the morning, and then again at noon and 6 in the evening.  This is pattern of the universal Church.  In addition to these, I try and pray an entire Rosary every day, if you can't maybe a decade every day would help.  And I also pray either Evening or Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours.  Of course, I also communicate prayerfully in a conversation/dialogue with God.  All of these prayers are available on websites like EWTN and many others.  Please consider a prayer pattern or regimen because I can't tell you the blessings and graces I am receiving from this!!

Hope this was not so bad; if nothing else I feel better!  Time to pray my final Angelus for the day!!

Holy Spirit; I'm still listening!

The Cathoic Roots of Carnival/Mardi Gras; preparing for Lent; never meant to be the spectacle we have turned it in to...It should be a family event getting us ready for prayer, fasting and almsgiving

Catholic Roots of Mardi Gras: Carnival-"Farewell to the Flesh"

Thu, Feb 27, 2014
American Catholic
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last hurrah before the Catholic season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It also has links to the Christmas season through the period known as Carnival. Gras, literally "Fat Tuesday," has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the "last hurrah" before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That's why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of streetsweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.
What is less known about Mardi Gras is its relation to the Christmas season, through the ordinary-time interlude known in many Catholic cultures as Carnival. (Ordinary time, in the Christian calendar, refers to the normal "ordering" of time outside of the Advent/Christmas or Lent/Easter seasons. There is a fine Scripture From Scratch article on that topic if you want to learn more.)
Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning "farewell to the flesh." Like many Catholic holidays and seasonal celebrations, it likely has its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons. Some believe the festival represented the few days added to the lunar calendar to make it coincide with the solar calendar; since these days were outside the calendar, rules and customs were not obeyed. Others see it as a late-winter celebration designed to welcome the coming spring. As early as the middle of the second century, the Romans observed a Fast of 40 Days, which was preceded by a brief season of feasting, costumes and merrymaking.
The Carnival season kicks off with the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, Three Kings' Day and, in the Eastern churches, Theophany. Epiphany, which falls on January 6, 12 days after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. In cultures that celebrate Carnival, Epiphany kicks off a series of parties leading up to Mardi Gras.
Epiphany is also traditionally when celebrants serve King's Cake, a custom that began in France in the 12th century. Legend has it that the cakes were made in a circle to represent the circular routes that the Wise Men took to find Jesus, in order to confuse King Herod and foil his plans of killing the Christ Child. In the early days, a coin or bean was hidden inside the cake, and whoever found the item was said to have good luck in the coming year. In Louisiana, bakers now put a small baby, representing the Christ Child, in the cake; the recipient is then expected to host the next King Cake party.
data:image/jpeg;base64,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There are well-known season-long Carnival celebrations in Europe and Latin America, including Nice, France; Cologne, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The best-known celebration in the U.S. is in New Orleans and the French-Catholic communities of the Gulf Coast. Mardi Gras came to the New World in 1699, when a French explorer arrived at the Mississippi River, about 60 miles south of present day New Orleans. He named the spot Point du Mardi Gras because he knew the holiday was being celebrated in his native country that day.
Eventually the French in New Orleans celebrated Mardi Gras with masked balls and parties, until the Spanish government took over in the mid-1700s and banned the celebrations. The ban continued even after the U.S. government acquired the land but the celebrations resumed in 1827. The official colors of Mardi Gras, with their roots in Catholicism, were chosen 10 years later: purple, a symbol of justice; green, representing faith; and gold, to signify power.
Mardi Gras literally means "Fat Tuesday" in French. The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of Carnival. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from "to shrive," or hear confessions), Pancake Tuesday and fetter Dienstag. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins.
For more on the customs of Lent, please visit our Lent feature.

He introduced Nicene Creed to the Mass, fought Arianism

Image of St. Leander of Seville


Feastday: February 27
Birth: 534
Death: 600

St. Leander of Seville, Bishop (Feast - February 27th) Leander was born at Cartagena, Spain, of Severianus and Theodora, illustrious for their virtue. St. Isidore and Fulgentius, both bishops were his brothers, and his sister, Florentina, is also numbered among the saints. He became a monk at Seville and then the bishop of the See. He was instrumental in converting the two sons Hermenegild and Reccared of the Arian Visigothic King Leovigild. This action earned him the kings's wrath and exile to Constantinople, where he met and became close friends of the Papal Legate, the future Pope Gregory the Great. It was Leander who suggested that Gregory write the famous commentary on the Book of Job called the Moralia. Once back home, under King Reccared, St. Leander began his life work of propagating Christian orthodoxy against the Arians in Spain. The third local Council of Toledo (over which he presided in 589) decreed the consubstantiality of the three Persons of the Trinity and brought about moral reforms. Leander's unerring wisdom and unflagging dedication let the Visigoths and the Suevi back to the true Faith and obtained the gratitude of Gregory the Great. The saintly bishop also composed an influential Rule for nuns and was the first to introduce the Nicene Creed at Mass. Worn out by his many activities in the cause of Christ, Leander died around 600 and was succeeded in the See of Seville by his brother Isidore.  In Spain he is considered a Doctor of the Church

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A getting ready for Lent Q&A by Archbishop Aymond

Focus on one attitude or behavior to change during Lent

Madison Thibodeaux • Fri, Feb 24 2017

Archbishop headshot

    We are getting ready to enter into the season of Lent. Can you talk about the nature of the season?  During Lent, we are invited into the desert with Jesus as he fasted and prayed for 40 days in preparation for his public ministry. We are asked to observe 40 days of prayer and sacrifice in preparation to celebrate more worthily the Triduum, which is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the liturgy of Good Friday and the Resurrection of Christ. Lent is a time when we are called to look very honestly at ourselves. In so doing, we ask God to help us to see ourselves as he sees us. First of all, he would remind us of the ways in which we are loved by him and the goodness that exists in our hearts and in our actions. And then, he would compassionately call us to look at our weaknesses and those things which lead us into sin.

    What’s your definition of sin?
    Sin is when we do not fulfill the dream that God has for us. We sin through the things that we do or say – or sometimes we sin through the things that we fail to do or fail to say. As we pray in the “Confiteor” at Mass: “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do…” I confess for what I have done and for what I have failed to do in my thoughts, words and actions. Very often it’s not the things that we do but fail to do in showing the love and the mercy of Jesus. Therefore, Lent calls us to be humble enough to go before the Lord and ask him to remind us of the areas of our life that need to change.

    Does it go deeper than our behaviors?
    Yes. We could look at our actions, but as we know, all actions are rooted in our heart by an attitude. My question to God for Lent is, “What attitude in my life is it that needs to be changed? How do I need to undergo conversion from some of the darkness that I embrace to the new life you call me to?” For me, it would be very easy to name eight or 10 or 12 ways in which I need to change, but, after all, we only have 40 days! I believe in Lent it is important to pick one area of our life, one attitude, that God is calling us to change. At the end of Lent, it’s not to say I fulfilled my penance but, more importantly, how I have changed, how I have come closer to God’s dream for me. How has my attitude become more like Christ?

    What about the practice of giving things up for Lent?
    That’s a very noble thing to do. Some people choose to do something extra in terms of kindness or prayer, which also is a noble thing to do. But our penance should match the area of our life that we’re trying to change and that God is calling us to conversion. Therefore, if it is my speech that causes me to sin, then my penance should relate in some way to being attentive and making sacrifices as to what I say, or perhaps more importantly, do not say. During Lent, we are called to embrace penance. We decide what penance we will use to help us to conversion. The church also requires us to fast, which is actually quite minimal. We are asked to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. That means for persons between the ages of 18 and 59, taking only one full meal. Two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal are allowed. We’re also asked to abstain from meat on all the Fridays of Lent. Let’s face it, that’s not much of a sacrifice for us in south Louisiana! Sometimes people will say that if a certain celebration falls on a Friday in Lent, it’s not “convenient” to abstain from meat. Penance is not convenient. It is supposed to be a sacrifice. We live in a world that tells us that convenience is more important than sacrifice or denying ourselves of something.

    You’ve mentioned in the past about choosing one behavior or attitude to examine during Lent. Has anybody ever told you that’s a very practical way of going about Lenten sacrifice?
    They have, and I guess, equally important, I’ve gotten something out of it. There was a time in my life when I would list all these things – these attitudes and actions – that needed to change, and I became overwhelmed and sort of despondent. Others have shared with me the same feeling. I think it’s very helpful to look into one area and say this is the root cause, the reason why I am able to justify sin or to neglect what God is asking me to do. I would hope we do a specific examination of conscience at the end of the day to see how well during that day we lived up to our Lenten penance, which was very specifically related to curbing a particular attitude. My prayer is for everyone to have a fruitful Lenten season so that we can more joyfully and worthily celebrate the Lord Jesus’ victory over death.

    Pope Francis Sunday Angelus

    ANGELUS ADDRESS: On Trust in God
    “Love Your Enemies and Pray for Those Who Persecute You”
    Angelus 30 August 2015
    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!
    Today’s Gospel page (cf. Matthew 6:24-34) is a strong call to trust in God, don’t forget: to trust in God, who takes care of the living beings in Creation. He provides food for all the animals, is concerned about the lilies and the grass of the field (cf. vv. 26-28); His beneficent and solicitous gaze watches daily over our life. It flows under the goad of so many worries, which risk taking away our serenity and balance; however, this anguish is often useless because it does not succeed in changing the course of events. Jesus exhorts us insistently not to be worried about tomorrow (cf. vv. 25.28.31), reminding us that beyond all there is a loving Father who never forgets His children: to entrust ourselves to Him does not resolve problems magically, but enables us to face them with the right spirit, courageously; I am courageous because I entrust myself to my Father, who takes care of everything and loves me so much.
    God is not a distant and anonymous being: He is our refuge, the source of our serenity and our peace. He is the rock of our salvation, whom we can cling to in the certainty of not falling; one who clings to God never falls! He is our defense from evil always lurking. God is for us our great friend, ally, Father, but we are not always aware of it. We are not aware that we have a friend, an ally, a Father who loves us, and we prefer to lean on immediate goods that we can touch, on contingent goods, forgetting and at times rejecting the supreme good, namely, God’s paternal love. It is so important to feel Him a Father in this time of orphanhood! To feel Him a Father in this orphan world. We distance ourselves from God’s love when we go in obsessive search of earthly goods and riches, thus manifesting an exaggerated love of these realities.
    Jesus tells us that this strenuous and illusory search is the reason of our unhappiness. And He gives His disciples a fundamental rule of life: “Seek first, instead, the Kingdom of God” (v. 33). It is about realizing the plan that Jesus proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount, trusting in God who does not disappoint — so many friends or so many that we believed were friends, have disappointed us; God never disappoints! –;  making us faithful administrators of the goods that He has given us, also the earthly, but without “overacting” as if everything, including our salvation, depended only on us. This evangelical attitude requires a clear choice, which today’s passage indicates with precision: “You cannot serve God and mammon” (v. 24) — either the Lord, or fascinating but illusory idols. This choice, which we are called to make, then has repercussions on all our acts, programs and commitments. It is a choice to be made clearly and to renew continually, because the temptations to reduce everything to money, pleasure and power are pressing. There are so many temptations because of this.
    Whereas honoring these idols leads to tangible though fleeting results, choosing God and His Kingdom does not always show its fruits immediately. It is a decision that is taken in hope and that leaves to God its full realization. Christian hope is outstretched to the future fulfilment of God’s promise and does not halt in face of a difficulty, because it is founded on God’s fidelity, which never fails. He is faithful, He is a faithful Father; He is a faithful friend, He is a faithful ally.
    May the Virgin Mary help us to entrust ourselves to the love and goodness of our heavenly Father, to live in Him and with Him. This is the presupposition to overcome the torments and adversities of life, and also the persecutions, as the testimony of so many of our brothers and sisters shows us.
    [Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
    After the Angelus
    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    I extend my warm greeting to all of you, pilgrims of Rome, of Italy and of different countries. I greet the Polish faithful of Warsaw and of other localities, who have carried out a Marian pilgrimage; and, from Spain, those of Ciudad Real and the young people of Formentera. I greet the youngsters of Cuneo, Zelarino, Mattarello and Malcesine, Fino Mornasco and Monteolimpino; the Confirmation candidates of Cavenago d’Adda, Almenno San Salvatore and Serravalle Scrivia; the faithful of Ferrara, Latina, Sora, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Creazzo and Rivalta sul Mincio.
    I greet the group that came on the occasion of the “Day of Rare Diseases” — thank you, thank you for all that you do — and I hope that the patients and their families are adequately supported in the not easy course, be it at the medical as well as the legislative level.
    I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!

    Saturday, February 25, 2017

    From royalty to Sainthood

    St. Isabel of France

    Image of St. Isabel of France


    Feastday: February 26

    Sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile, she refused offers of marriage from several noble suitors to continue her life of virginity consecrated to God. She ministered to the sick and the poor, and after the death of her mother, founded the Franciscan Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Longchamps in Paris. She lived there in austerity but never became a nun and refused to become abbess. She died there on February 23, and her cult was approved in 1521

    Pope Francis to visit the Anglicans

    Pope to Visit Anglican All Saints Church on Sunday
    During Visit to Italy’s Largest Anglican Congregation, Francis Will Bless Byzantine Statue
    Evensong marking the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. Image:© (image found on the website of the Ambassador's blog)
    Marking the first Pope to enter inside an Anglican church in his own diocese as Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis’ visit this Sunday, Feb. 26, to the Church of England chaplaincy of All Saints in Rome, will be historic.
    According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, during the afternoon encounter to Italy’s largest Anglican congregation, “the Holy Father will join the congregation for a short Choral Evensong service which includes the blessing of a specially commissioned icon and the twinning of All Saints with the Catholic parish of Ognissanti, a Rome church with strong ecumenical ties.”
    During the afternoon liturgy at the Church near Rome’s Spanish steps, which will take the form of a shortened Choral Evensong, Pope Francis will deliver a homily and afterwards, he will answer questions from members of the congregation.
    The Italian state recently granted legal recognition to the church, which is part of the Diocese in Europe’s Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta.
    The event, the statement pointed out, comes as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations for All Saints which began with a small group of worshippers holding the first Church of England liturgy on October 27th 1816. The current church was built over half a century later, designed by George Edmund Street, one of the most famous British architects of the Victorian era.

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    From England to Germany she is our Saint of the Day

    Image of St. Walburga


    Feastday: February 25
    Death: 779

    St. Walburga, Virgin (Feast day - February 25) Walburga was born in Devonshire England, around 710. She was the daughter of a West Saxon chieftain and the sister of St. Willibald and Winebald. Walburga was educated at Wimborne Monastery in Dorset, where she became a nun. In 748, she was sent with St. Lioba to Germany to help St. Boniface in his missionary work. She spent two years at Bishofsheim, after which she became Abbess of the double monastery at Heidenheim founded by her brother Winebald. At the death of Winebald, St. Walburga was appointed Abbess of both monasteries by her brother Willibald, who was then Bishop of Eichstadt. She remained superior of both men and women until her death in 779. She was buried first at Heidenheim, but later her body was interred next to that of her brother, St. Winebald, at Eichstadt. at a small church called Holy Cross around which a group of canonesses were gathered

    Friday Morning Papal Homily

    Pope’s Morning Homily: “Is Justice or Mercy More Important to God? They Are One Thing …”
    At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says Jesus Does Not Yield  to the Hypocritical Logic of Casuistry and Always Affirms the Truth, with Mercy
    L'Osservatore Romano
    Jesus tells the truth; He does not yield to the logic of casuistry, behind which hypocrisy hides.
    According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta, commenting on today’s Gospel in which the Doctors of the Law ask the Nazarene: “Is it licit for a husband to repudiate his wife?”
    According to the Holy Father, they use this question to put Jesus “to the test,” who instead  is not deceived. “They only thought of the faith in terms of ‘it can’ or ‘it cannot’ be done, up to where it can, up to where it cannot “ be done. The Pontiff describes it as the “logic of casuistry,” in which “Jesus does not enter.”
    In fact, the Savior addresses a question to them: “But what did Moses order? What is in your Law?” And they “explain the permission that Moses gave to repudiate one’s wife, and they are in fact the ones who fall into the trap. Because Jesus describes them as ‘hard of heart’: ‘Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote this norm for you,’ and He says the truth, without casuistry, without permissions – the truth,” continued Francis.
    Jesus never negotiates with the truth, commented the Pontiff. And He does so also when His disciples ask him about adultery, to whom He repeats: “One who repudiates his wife and marries another, commits adultery toward her, and if she has repudiated her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
    Despite adultery being “grave,” reflects the Pope, Jesus speaks so often with an adulteress, a pagan, even drinking “from her glass, which was not purified.” He confronts the sinner and in the end absolves her thus: “I do not condemn you. Do not sin again.”
    Pope Bergoglio describes this “way of Jesus” as a course that goes “from casuistry to the truth and to mercy.” Therefore, he commented: “Jesus leaves casuistry out. To those who wished to put Him to the test, to those who thought with this logic of ‘it can’ , he describes – not here but in another passage of the Gospel; — as hypocrites. Also with the fourth Commandment, they refused to assist their parents with the excuse that they had made a good offering to the Church. Hypocrites, casuistry is hypocritical. It is a hypocritical thought. ‘It can – it cannot’ be done … which then becomes more subtle, more diabolic: but up to where can I? But from here to here, I cannot. It is the deceit of casuistry. “
    A Christian’s task is to imitate Jesus, having truth coincide with mercy, which in the Savior is “the incarnation of the Father’s Mercy.” To succeed in this task “is not easy,” clarified Francis. “The grace of God is needed.”
    Hence, his invitation to turn to the Lord: “’Lord, may I be just, but just with mercy.’ Not just, covered by casuistry. Just in mercy, as you are. Just in mercy. Then, one of a casuistic mentality can ask: ‘But what is more important in God, justice or mercy?’ It is also a bad thought that seeks to find a way out … What is more important? They are not two: they are only one, only one thing.”
    Therefore, “in God justice is mercy and mercy is justice. May the Lord help us to understand this way, which isn’t easy, but which will make us happy and will make many people happy,” concluded the Pope.

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Thursday morning preaching with the Pope

    Pope’s Morning Homily: No Double Lives, Convert
    At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Reflects on How Scandal Destroys
    Photo Archives - L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO
    No more double lives. Convert now…
    According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis gave this advice to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on how converting shouldn’t be on our list of procrastinated items, because scandal destroys.
    Drawing inspiration from today’s Gospel, the Pope urged: “Cut off your hand,” “Pluck out your eye,” but “don’t scandalize the little ones,” referring to the just, those who confide in the Lord, who believe simply in the Lord.
    “But what is scandal?” the Pontiff asked, noting scandal is saying one thing and doing another.
    “It is a double life, a double life. A totally double life: ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this association and that one; but my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my workers a just wage, I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money…’ A double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others.”
    How Many Times
    “How many times have we heard – all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere – ‘but to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down.”
    This, Francis lamented, happens every day, and is seen all the time on TV or in the papers.
    “In the papers, there are so many scandals, and there is also the great publicity of the scandals. And with the scandals there is destruction.”
    Francis then gave the example of a company that was on the brink of failure. While the workers were wishing to avoid a just strike, the company had not done well, and they wished to talk with the company’s authorities.
    The people, the Argentine Pontiff noted, didn’t have money for their daily needs because they had not received their wages. Yet, the head of the company, a Catholic, Pope Francis said, was taking his winter vacation on a beach in the Middle East, and the people knew it.
    “These are scandals,” Francis said.
    “Jesus talks, in the Gospel, about those who commit scandal, without saying the word ‘scandal,’ but it’s understood: But you will arrive in heaven and you will knock at the gate: ‘Here I am, Lord!’ – ‘But don’t you remember? I went to Church, I was close to you, I belong to this association, I did this… Don’t you remember all the offerings I made?’
    ‘Yes, I remember. The offerings, I remember them: All dirty. All stolen from the poor. I don’t know you.’
    That, Francis warned, will be Jesus’ response to these scandalous people who live a double life.
    Double Life
    “The double life comes from following the passions of the heart, the capital sins that are the wounds of original sin,” hiding the passions, but following them, the Pope explained. The first Reading, in fact, tells us that they do not satisfy, and not to trust in riches, to not say, “There’s enough for myself.” And so Pope Francis calls us to not put off conversion:
    Pope Francis then encouraged all faithful to consider if there is something of a double life within us, and if as we seem to be good believers, good Catholics, underneath, we are doing something else.
    ‘But, sure, the Lord will eventually forgive everything, but I’ll keep going as I have been…’ If there is something saying, “Sure, this is not going well, I will convert, but not today: tomorrow.’ Let’s think about that. And let us profit from the Word of the Lord.
    Pope Francis concluded, reminded those present that scandal destroys.

    Founded religious order for care of girls; beatified by Pope St JPII

    Image of Bl. Tommaso Maria Fusco


    Feastday: February 24
    Birth: 1831
    Death: 1891
    Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

    Thomas Mary Fusco, the seventh of eight children, was born on1 December 1831 in Pagani, Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Sarno, Italy, to Dr Antonio, a pharmacist, and Stella Giordano, of noble descent. They were known for their upright moral and religious conduct, and taught their son Christian piety and charity to the poor.
    He was baptized on the day he was born in the parish of S. Felice e Corpo di Cristo. In 1837, when he was only six years old, his mother died of cholera and a few years later, in 1841, he also lost his father. Fr Giuseppe, an uncle on his father's side and a primary school teacher, then took charge of his education.
    Since 1839, the year of the canonization of St Alphonsus Mary de' Liguori, little Tommaso had dreamed of church and the altar; in 1847 he was at last able to enter the same diocesan seminary of Nocera which his brother Raffaele would leave after being ordained a priest in 1849.
    On 1 April 1851, Tommaso Maria received the sacrament of Confirmation and on 22 December 1855, after completing his seminary formation, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Agnello Giuseppe D'Auria.
    In those years, sorrowful because of the loss of his loved ones, including his uncle (1847) as well as his young brother, Raffaele (1852), the devotion to the Patient Christ and to his Blessed Sorrowful Mother, already dear to the entire Fusco family, took root in Tommaso Maria, as in fact his biographers recall: "He had a deep devotion to the crucified Christ which he cherished throughout his life".
    Right from the start he saw to the formation of boys for whom he opened a morning school in his own home, while for young people and adults, bent on increasing their human and Christian formation, he organized evening prayers at the parish church of S. Felice e Corpo di Cristo. This was a true place of conversion and prayer, just as it had been for St Alphonsus, revered and honoured in Pagani for his apostolate.
    In 1857, he was admitted to the Congregation of the Missionaries of Nocera under the title of St Vincent de Paul and became an itinerant missionary, especially in the regions of Southern Italy.
    In 1860 he was appointed chaplain at the Shrine of our Lady of Carmel (known as "Our Lady of the Hens") in Pagani, where he built up the men's and women's Catholic associations and set up the altar of the Crucified Christ and the Pious Union for the Adoration of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
    In 1862 he opened a school of moral theology in his own home to train priests for the ministry of confession, kindling enthusiasm for the love of Christ's Blood; that same year, he founded the "(Priestly) Society of the Catholic Apostolate" for missions among the common people; in 1874 he received the approval of Pope Pius IX, now blessed.
    Deeply moved by the sorry plight of an orphan girl, a victim of the street, after careful preparation in prayer for discernment, Fr Tommaso Maria founded the Congregation of the "Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood" on 6 January, the Solemnity of Epiphany in 1873. This institute was inaugurated at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the presence of Bishop Raffaele Ammirante, who, with the clothing of the first three sisters with the religious habit, blessed the first orphanage for seven poor little orphan girls of the area. It was not long before the newborn religious family and the orphanage also received the Pope's blessing, in response to their request.
    Fr Tommaso Maria continued to dedicate himself to the priestly ministry, preaching spiritual retreats and popular missions; and from his apostolic travels sprang the many foundations of houses and orphanages that were a monument to his heroic charity, which was even more ardent in the last 20 years of his life (1870-1891).
    In addition to his commitments as founder and apostolic missionary, he was parish priest (1874-1887) at the principal church of S. Felice e Corpo di Cristo in Pagani, extraordinary confessor to the cloistered nuns in Pagani and Nocera and, in the last years of his life, spiritual father of the lay congregation at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
    It was not long before Fr Tommaso Maria, envied for the good he achieved in his ministry and for his life as an exemplary priest, was faced with humiliation and persecution and, in 1880, even a brother priest's slanderous calumny. However, sustained by the Lord, he lovingly carried that cross which own Pastor, Bishop Ammirante had foretold at the time of his institute's foundation: "Have you chosen the title of the Most Precious Blood? Well, may you be prepared to drink the bitter cup".
    During the harshest of trials, which he bore in silence, he would repeat: "May work and suffering for God always be your glory and in your work and suffering, may God be your consolation on this earth, and your recompense in heaven. Patience is the safeguard and pillar of all the virtues".
    Wasting away with a liver-disease, Fr Tommaso Maria died a devout death on 24 February 1891, praying with the elderly Simeon: Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word" (Lk 2, 29).
    He was only 59 years old! In the notice issued by the town council of Pagani on 25 February 1891 the Gospel witness of his life, known to one and all, was summarized in these words: "Tommaso Maria Fusco, Apostolic Missionary, Founder of the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood, an exemplary priest of indomitable faith and ardent charity, worked tirelessly in the name of the Redeeming Blood for the salvation of souls: in life he loved the poor and in death forgave his enemies".
    His life was directed to the highest devotion of Christian virtues by the priestly life, lived intensely in constant meditation on the mystery of the Father's love, contemplated in the crucified Son whose Blood is "the expression, measure and pledge" of divine Charity and heroic charity to the poor and needy, in whom Fr Tommaso Maria saw the bleeding Face of Jesus.
    His writings, preaching and popular missions marked his vast experience of faith and the light of Christian hope that shone from his vocation and actions. He had a vital, burning love for God; it enflamed his words and his apostolate, made fruitful by love for God and neighbour, by union with the crucified Jesus, by trust in Mary, Immaculate and Sorrowful, and above all by the Eucharist.
    Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco was an Apostle of Charity of the Most Precious Blood, a friend of boys and girls and young people and attentive to every kind of poverty and human and spiritual misery.
    For all these reasons he enjoyed the fame of holiness among the diocesan priests, among the people and among his spiritual daughters who received his charism, and witness to it today in the various parts of the world where they carry out their apostolate in communion with the Church.
    The cause for the beatification of Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco was initiated in 1955 and the decree of his heroic Christian virtues was published on 24 April 2001. The miraculous healing of Mrs Maria Battaglia on 20 August 1964 in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicily, through the intercession of Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco was recognized on7 July 2001.
    With his beatification, Pope John Paul II presents Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco as an example and a guide to holiness for priests, for the people of God and for his spiritual daughters, the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood.