Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Saint April 27 : St. Zita : Patron of Patron of Servants, #Homemakers , #Rape victims, Waitresses


St. Zita
VIRGIN
Feast: April 27

Information:
Feast Day:April 27
Born:1218 at Monsagrati near Lucca, Italy
Died:27 April 1272 at Lucca, Italy
Canonized:5 September 1696 by Pope Leo X and Pope Innocent XII
Major Shrine:Basilica di San Frediano, Lucca
Patron of:Domestic servants, homemakers, lost keys, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, single laywomen, waiters, waitresses

She was born in the beginning of the thirteenth century at Montsegradi, a village near Lucca in Italy. She was brought up with the greatest care, in the fear of God, by her poor virtuous mother, whose early and constant attention to inspire the tender heart of her daughter with religious sentiments seemed to find no obstacles, either from private passions or the general corruption of nature, so easily were they prevented or overcome. Zita had no sooner attained the use of reason, and was capable of knowing and loving God, than her heart was no longer able to relish any other object, and she seemed never to lose sight of him in her actions. Her mother reduced all her instructions to two short heads, and never had occasion to use any further remonstrance to enforce her lessons than to say, "This is most pleasing to God; this is the divine will"; or, "That would displease God."

The sweetness and modesty of the young child charmed everyone who saw her. She spoke little, and was most assiduous at her work; but her business never seemed to interrupt her prayers. At twelve years of age she was put to service in the family of a citizen of Lucca, called Fatinelli, whose house was contiguous to the church of St. Frigidian. She was thoroughly persuaded that labour is enjoined all men as a punishment of sin, and as a remedy for the spiritual disorders of their souls; and far from ever harbouring in her breast the least uneasiness, or expressing any sort of complaint under contradictions, poverty, and hardships, and still more from ever entertaining the least idle, inordinate, or worldly desire, she blessed God for placing her in a station in which she was supplied with the most effectual means to promote her sanctification, by the necessity of employing herself in penitential labour, and of living in a perpetual conformity and submission of her will to others. She was also very sensible of the advantages of her state, which afforded all necessaries of life, without engaging her in the anxious cares and violent passions by which worldly persons, who enjoy most plentifully the goods of fortune, are often disturbed; whereby their souls resemble a troubled sea, always agitated by impetuous storms, without knowing the sweetness of a true calm. She considered her work as an employment assigned her by God, and as part of her penance; and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and employed in prayer a considerable part of the time which others gave to sleep. She took care to hear mass every morning with great devotion before she was called upon by the duties of her station, in which she employed the whole day with such diligence and fidelity that she seemed to be carried to them on wings, and studied when possible to anticipate them.
Notwithstanding her extreme attention to her exterior employments, she acquired a wonderful facility of joining with them almost continual mental prayer and of keeping her soul constantly attentive to the divine presence. Who would not imagine that such a person should have been esteemed and beloved by all who knew her?
Nevertheless, by the appointment of divine providence, for her great spiritual advantage, it fell out quite otherwise and for several years she suffered the harshest trials. Her modesty was called by her fellow-servants simplicity, and want of spirit and sense; and her diligence was judged to have no other spring than affectation and secret pride. Her mistress was a long time extremely prepossessed against her, and her passionate master could not bear her in his sight without transports of rage.
It is not to be conceived how much the saint had continually to suffer in this situation. So unjustly despised, overburdened, reviled, and often beaten, she never repined nor lost her patience; but always preserved the same sweetness in her countenance, and the same meekness and charity in her heart and words, and abated nothing of her application to her duties. A virtue so constant and so admirable at length overcame jealousy, antipathy, prepossession, and malice.
Her master and mistress discovered the treasure which their family possessed in the fidelity and example of the humble saint, and the other servants gave due praise to her virtue. Zita feared this prosperity more than adversity, and trembled lest it should be a snare to her soul. But sincere humility preserved her from its dangers; and her behaviour, amidst the caresses and respect shown her, continued the same as when she was ill-treated and held in derision; she was no less affable, meek, and modest; no less devout, nor less diligent or ready to serve everyone. Being made housekeeper, and seeing her master and mistress commit to her with an entire confidence the government of their family and management of all their affairs, she was most scrupulously careful in point of economy, remembering that she was to give to God an account of the least farthing of what was intrusted as a depositum in her .hands; and, though head-servant, she never allowed herself the least privilege or exemption in her work on that account.
She used often to say to others that devotion is false if slothful. Hearing a man-servant speak one immodest word, she was filled with horror, and procured him to be immediately discharged from the family. With David, she desired to see it composed only of such whose approved piety might draw down a benediction of God upon the whole house and be a security to the master for their fidelity and good example. She kept fast the whole year, and often on bread and water; and took her rest on the bare floor or on a board. Whenever business allowed her a little leisure, she spent it in holy prayer and contemplation in a little retired room in the garret; and at her work repeated frequently ardent ejaculations of divine love, with which her soul appeared always inflamed. She respected her fellow-servants as her superiors. If she was sent on commissions a mile or two in the greatest storms, she set out without delay, executed them punctually, and returned often almost drowned, without showing any sign of reluctance or murmuring.
By her virtue she gained so great an ascendant over her master that a single word would often suffice to check the greatest transports of his rage; and she would sometimes cast herself at his feet to appease him in favour of others. She never kept anything for herself but the poor garments which she wore: everything else she gave to the poor. Her master, seeing his goods multiply, as it were, in her hands, gave her ample leave to bestow liberal alms on the poor, which she made use of with discretion, but was scrupulous to do nothing without his express authority. If she heard others spoken ill of, she zealously took upon her their defence and excused their faults.
Always when she communicated, and often when she heard mass, and on other occasions, she melted in sweet tears of divine love: she was often favoured with ecstasies during her prayers. In her last sickness she clearly foretold her death, and having prepared herself for her passage by receiving the last sacraments, and by ardent signs of love, she happily expired on the 27th of April, in 1272, being sixty years old: one hundred and fifty miracles wrought in the behalf of such as had recourse to her intercession have been juridically proved. Her body was found entire in 1580 and is kept with great respect in St. Frigidian's church, richly enshrined; her face and hands are exposed naked to view through a crystal glass. Pope Leo X granted an office in her honour. The city of Lucca pays a singular veneration to her memory.
The solemn decree of her beatification was published by Innocent XII in 1696, with the confirmation of her immemorial veneration. See her life, compiled by a contemporary writer, and published by Papebroke, the Bollandist, on the 27th of April, p. 497, and Benedict XIV De Canoniz. lib. ii. c. 24, p. 245.
Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

#PopeFrancis "..God does not abandon us, that God loves us and this world tenderly.." FULL TEXT - Audience + Video


The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The last words of Matthew’s Gospel recall the prophetic proclamation that we find at the beginning: “His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means, God with us” (Matthew 1:23; cf. Isaiah 7:14). God will be with us, every day, to the close of the age. The whole Gospel is enclosed in these two quotations, words that communicate the mystery of a God whose name, whose identity is to be-with: He is not an isolated God; He is a God-with, in particular, with us, namely, with the human creature. Our God is not an absent God, sequestered in a very distant heaven; instead, He is a God “passionate” for man, so tenderly loving as to be incapable of separating Himself from him. We humans are clever in cutting off bonds and bridges. He, instead, is not. If our heart becomes cold, His remains always incandescent; our God accompanies us always, even if, unfortunately, we were to forget Him. Decisive on the ridge that divides incredulity from faith is the discovery of being loved and accompanied by our Father, of never being left alone by Him.
Our existence is a pilgrimage, a journey. Even all those who are moved by a simply human hope perceive the seduction of the horizon, which drives them to explore worlds they still do not know. Our spirit is a migrant spirit. The Bible is full of stories of pilgrims and travelers. Abraham’s vocation began with this command: “Go from your country” (Genesis12:1). And the Patriarch left that piece of the world that he knew well and that was one of the cradles of the civilization of his time. Everything conspired against the good sense of that trip. Yet Abraham left. We do not become mature men and women if we do not perceive the attraction of the horizon: that limit between heaven and earth, which calls to be reached by a people of walkers.
In his journey on earth, man is never alone. The Christian especially never feels abandoned, because Jesus assures us that He does not only wait for us at the end of our long journey, but that He accompanies us in every one of our days.
Until when will God’s care continue in His dealings with man? Until when will the Lord Jesus, who walks with us, until when will He care for us? The Gospel’s answer leaves no room for doubt: to the close of the age! The heavens will pass away, the earth will pass away, human hopes will be cancelled, but the Word of God is greater than all and will not pass away. And He will be the God with us, the God Jesus who walks with us. There will be no day in our life in which we will cease to be of concern for God’s heart. But someone might say: “But what are you saying?” I say this: there will be no day in our life in which we will cease to be of concern for God’s heart. He is concerned about us, and walks with us. And why does He do this? — Simply because He loves us. Is this understood? He loves us! And God will surely provide for all our needs; He will not abandon us in the time of trial and of darkness. This certainty calls for being nested in our spirit to never be extinguished. Some call it with the name “Providence,” that is, God’s closeness, God’s love, God’s walking with us is also called “God’s Providence”: He provides for our life.
It is no accident that among the Christian symbols of hope there is one that I like so much: the anchor. It expresses that our hope is not vague; it is not confused with the changing sentiment of one who wishes to improve the things of this world in an unrealistic way, relying only on his will power. Christian hope finds its root in fact not in the attraction of the future but in the certainty of what God has promised us and realized in Jesus Christ. If He has guaranteed that He will never abandon us, if the beginning of every vocation is a “Follow Me,” with which He assures us that He will always stay ahead us, then why fear? With this promise, Christians can walk everywhere, also going across portions of the wounded world, where things are not going well, we are among those that even there continue to hope. The Psalm says: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4). It is precisely where the darkness increases that it is necessary to have a light lit. Let us return to the anchor. Our faith is the anchor in heaven. We have our life anchored in heaven. What must we do? <We must> grip the cord: it is always there. And we go ahead because we are sure that our life has as an anchor in heaven, on that shore where we will arrive.
If we entrusted ourselves only to our strength, we would certainly have reason to feel disappointed and defeated, because the world often shows itself refractory to the laws of love. So often it prefers the laws of egoism. However, if the certainty survives in us that God does not abandon us, that God loves us and this world tenderly, then the perspective changes immediately. “Homo viator, spe erectus,” said the ancients. Along the way, Jesus’ promise “I am with you” makes us stand, erect, with hope, confident that the good God is already working to bring about what humanly seems impossible, because the anchor is on heaven’s beach.
The holy faithful people of God are people that stand – “homo viator” — and walk, but stand, “erectus,” and walk in hope. And, wherever they go, they know that God’s love has preceded them: there is no part of the world that escapes the victory of the Risen Christ. And what is the victory of the Risen Christ? <It is> the victory of love. Thank you
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] 
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I am happy to receive the youngsters of the Profession of Faith of Treviso and the couples of the Archdiocese of Ancona-Osimo, who are observing their 50th wedding anniversary: I hope that this pilgrimage will arouse in each one the rediscovery of the Sacraments received, efficacious signs of God’s grace in our life. And you, who observe your 50th wedding anniversary, say to young people that it is beautiful: beautiful is the life of Christian marriage!
I greet the participants in the congress on the anti-earthquake building industry in Latin America at the Italo-Latin American Institute promoted by the European University; the third-age Divine Word Fathers; the Blue Telephone Association; the Choir of Clusone; the faithful of Cardito, Belvedere and Pellezzano, as well as the “Soccer Priests” sports society and those of Andria and Oriolo. May the visit to the tombs of the Apostles foster in all the sense of belonging to the ecclesial family.
A special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist. May his discipleship in following Saint Paul be an example for you, dear young people, to put yourselves in the following of the Savior; may his intercession support you, dear sick, in the difficulty and trial of sickness; and may his brief and incisive Gospel remind you, dear newlyweds, of the importance of prayer in the matrimonial course you have undertaken.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT - Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Feast April 26 : Our Lady of Good Counsel : History and Novena #Prayer to SHARE


NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL
FEAST APRIL 26
Holy Virgin, moved by the painful uncertainty we experience in seeking and acquiring the true and the good, we cast ourselves at thy feet and invoke thee under the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel. We beseech thee: come to our aid at this moment in our worldly sojourn when the twin darknesses of error and of evil that plots our ruin by leading minds and hearts astray.

Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the victims of doubt and of error so that they may not be seduced by evil masquerading as good; strengthen them against the hostile and corrupting forces of passion and of sin.

Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from thy Divine Son the love of virtue and the strength to choose, in doubtful and difficult situations, the course agreeable to our salvation. Supported by thy hand we shall thus journey without harm along the paths taught us by the word and example of Jesus our Savior, following the Sun of Truth and Justice in freedom and safety across the battlefield of life under the guidance of thy maternal Star, until we come at length to the harbor of salvation to enjoy with thee unalloyed and everlasting peace. Amen.

(By Pope Pius XII, 23 January 1953)


 
HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL 
Records dating from the reign of Paul II (1464-71) relate that the picture of Our Lady, at first called "La Madonna del Paradiso" and now better known as "Madonna del Buon Consiglio", appeared at Genazzano, a town about twenty-five miles southeast of Rome, on St. Mark's Day, 25 April, 1467, in the old church of Santa Maria, which had been under the care of Augustinians since 1356. The venerated icon itself, which is drawn on a thin scale of wall-plaster little thicker than a visiting-card, was observed to hang suspended in the air without the slightest apparent support; thus early tradition, which furthermore tells how one might have passed a thread around the image without touching it. At once devotion to Our Lady inSanta Maria sprang up; pilgrim-bands began to resort thither; while miracles in ever-increasing numbers, of which a register was opened two days after the event, were wrought, as they still continue to be, at the shrine. In July following, Pope Paul deputed two bishops to investigate the alleged wonder-working image. Their report, however, is not known to be extant. The cult of Our Lady increased. In 1630 Urban VIII himself went to Genazzano on a pilgrimage, as didPius IX in 1864. On 17 November, 1682, Innocent XI had the picture crowned with gold by theVatican Basilica. In 1727 Benedict XIII granted the clergy of Genazzano an Office and Mass ofOur Lady for 25 April, anniversary of the apparition, elsewhere the feast being kept a day later so as not to conflict with that of St. Mark the Evangelist. On 2 July, 1753, Benedict XIVapproved of the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel for the faithful at large, and was himself enrolled therein as its pioneer member; Pius IX was a member, and also Leo XIII. On 18 December, 1779, Pius VI, while re-approving the cult of Our Lady, granted all Augustinians anOffice with hymns, lessons, prayer and Mass proper of double-major rite; with a plenary indulgence also for the faithful, to which Pius VIII added another for visitors to the shrine. On 18 December, 1884, Leo XIII approved of a new Office and Mass of second-class rite for allAugustinians, while on 17 March, 1903, he elevated the church of Santa Maria — one of the four parish churches at Genazzano — to the rank of minor basilica; and, on 22 April following, authorized the insertion in the Litany of Loreto of the invocation "Mater Boni Consillii" to follow that of "Mater Admirabilis". The same pontiff, ten years earlier (21 December, 1893) hadsanctioned the use of the White Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel for the faithful. In theUnited States there are many churches and institutions in honour of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
SHARED FROM CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA 

Wow #PopeFrancis makes History giving the 1st ever Papal TED Talk - FULL TEXT + Video "Hope is the door..."

Pope Francis gave the first-ever papal TED Talk went on e.
TED is a non-profit organization that began in 1984 as a conference covering Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED). It provides talks by various knowledgeable figures but never a Pontiff. 
TED’s annual Conference in Vancouver were promised a surprise “world figure” who would deliver his 18-minute message on the conference theme, “The Future You”, alongside tennis superstar, Serena Williams, entrepreneur, Elon Musk, and chess champion, Garry Kasparov.
FULL TEXT of Pope Francis' TED Talk: 

Good evening, or, good morning, I am not sure what time it is there. Regardless of the hour, I am thrilled to be participating in your conference. I very much like its title—”The Future You”—because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at the future through a “you.”
“The Future You:” the future is made of you’s, it is made of encounters, because life flows through our relations with others.
Quite a few years of life have strengthened my conviction that each and everyone’s existence is deeply tied to that of others: life is not time merely passing by, life is about interactions.
As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering: “Why them and not me?”
I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s “discarded” people.
And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: “Why them and not me?”
First and foremost, I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.
We don’t think about it often, but everything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state. Even the harsh judgment I hold in my heart against my brother or my sister, the open wound that was never cured, the offense that was never forgiven, the rancor that is only going to hurt me, are all instances of a fight that I carry within me, a flare deep in my heart that needs to be extinguished before it goes up in flames, leaving only ashes behind.
Many of us, nowadays, seem to believe that a happy future is something impossible to achieve. While such concerns must be taken very seriously, they are not invincible. They can be overcome when we don’t lock our door to the outside world.
Happiness can only be discovered as a gift of harmony between the whole and each single component. Even science—and you know it better than I do – points to an understanding of reality as a place where every element connects and interacts with everything else.
And this brings me to my second message. How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.
How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries.
Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the “culture of waste,” which doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.
Solidarity is a term that many wish to erase from the dictionary. Solidarity, however, is not an automatic mechanism. It cannot be programmed or controlled. It is a free response born from the heart of each and everyone. Yes, a free response!
When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?
In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity. And I know that TED gathers many creative minds. Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude. Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The “you” is always a real presence, a person to take care of.
There is a parable Jesus told to help us understand the difference between those who’d rather not be bothered and those who take care of the other. I am sure you have heard it before. It is the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
When Jesus was asked: “Who is my neighbor?” namely, “Who should I take care of?” He told this story, the story of a man who had been assaulted, robbed, beaten and abandoned along a dirt road. Upon seeing him, a priest and a Levite, two very influential people of the time, walked past him without stopping to help. After a while, a Samaritan, a very much despised ethnicity at the time, walked by. Seeing the injured man lying on the ground, he did not ignore him as if he weren’t even there.
Instead, he felt compassion for this man, which compelled him to act in a very concrete manner. He poured oil and wine on the wounds of the helpless man, brought him to a hostel and paid out of his pocket for him to be assisted.
The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of today’s humanity. People’s paths are riddled with suffering, as everything is centered around money, and things, instead of people. And often there is this habit, by people who call themselves “respectable,” of not taking care of the others, thus leaving behind thousands of human beings, or entire populations, on the side of the road.
Fortunately, there are also those who are creating a new world by taking care of the other, even out of their own pockets. Mother Teresa actually said: “One cannot love, unless it is at their own expense.”
We have so much to do, and we must do it together. But how can we do that with all the evil we breathe every day?
Thank God, no system can nullify our desire to open up to the good, to compassion and to our capacity to react against evil, all of which stem from deep within our hearts.
Now you might tell me, “Sure, these are beautiful words, but I am not the Good Samaritan, nor Mother Teresa of Calcutta.” On the contrary: we are precious, each and every one of us. Each and every one of us is irreplaceable in the eyes of God. Through the darkness of today’s conflicts, each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness, and never the other way around.
To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow.
Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree. It is like some invisible yeast that allows the whole dough to grow, that brings flavor to all aspects of life.
And it can do so much, because a tiny flicker of light that feeds on hope is enough to shatter the shield of darkness. A single individual is enough for hope to exist.
And that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No. Hope began with one “you.” When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution.
The third message I would like to share today is, indeed, about revolution: the revolution of tenderness.
What is tenderness? It is the love that comes close and becomes real. It is a movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands. Tenderness means to use our eyes to see the other, our ears to hear the other, to listen to the children, the poor, those who are afraid of the future. To listen also to the silent cry of our common home, of our sick and polluted earth. Tenderness means to use our hands and our heart to comfort the other, to take care of those in need.
Tenderness is the language of the young children, of those who need the other. A child’s love for mom and dad grows through their touch, their gaze, their voice, their tenderness. I like when I hear parents talk to their babies, adapting to the little child, sharing the same level of communication. This is tenderness: being on the same level as the other.
God himself descended into Jesus to be on our level. This is the same path the Good Samaritan took. This is the path that Jesus himself took. He lowered himself, he lived his entire human existence practicing the real, concrete language of love.
Yes, tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility.
Please, allow me to say it loud and clear: the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.
There is a saying in Argentina: “Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach.” You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness.
Through humility and concrete love, on the other hand, power – the highest, the strongest one – becomes a service, a force for good.
The future of humankind isn’t exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies. Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a “you” and themselves as part of an “us.”
We all need each other.
And so, please, think of me as well with tenderness, so that I can fulfill the task I have been given for the good of the other, of each and every one, of all of you, of all of us.
Thank you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday April 26, 2017 - #Eucharist























Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

Lectionary: 269


Reading 1ACTS 5:17-26

The high priest rose up and all his companions,
that is, the party of the Sadducees,
and, filled with jealousy,
laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,
led them out, and said,
"Go and take your place in the temple area,
and tell the people everything about this life."
When they heard this,
they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.
When the high priest and his companions arrived,
they convened the Sanhedrin,
the full senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the jail to have them brought in.
But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison,
so they came back and reported,
"We found the jail securely locked
and the guards stationed outside the doors,
but when we opened them, we found no one inside."
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report,
they were at a loss about them,
as to what this would come to.
Then someone came in and reported to them,
"The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area
and are teaching the people."
Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,
but without force,
because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Saint April 26 : St. Marcellinus #Pope and Martyr


=St. Marcellinus
=POPE AND MARTYR =
Feast Day:
April 26
Born:
Rome, Italy
Died:
25 October 304 at Rome, Italy
He succeeded St. Caius in the bishopric of Rome, in 296, about the time that Diocletian set himself up for a deity and impiously claimed divine honours. Theodoret says that in those stormy times of persecution Marcellinus acquired great glory. He sat in St. Peter's chair eight years, three months, and twenty-five days, dying in 304, a year after the cruel persecution broke out, in which he gained much honour. He has been styled a martyr, though his blood was not shed in the cause of religion, as appears from the Liberian Calendar, which places him among those popes that were not put to death for the faith. =It is a fundamental maxim of the Christian morality, and a truth which Christ has established in the clearest terms and in innumerable passages of the gospel, that the cross, or sufferings and mortifications, are the road to eternal bliss. They, therefore, who lead not here a crucified and mortified life are unworthy ever to possess the unspeakable joys of his kingdom. Our Lord himself, our model and our head, walked in this path, and his great apostle puts us in mind that he entered into bliss only by his blood and by the cross. Nevertheless, this is a truth which the world can never understand, how clearly soever it be preached by Christ and recommended by his powerful example and that of his martyrs and of all the saints. Christians still pretend, by the joys and pleasures of this world, to attain to the bliss of heaven, and shudder at the very mention of mortification, penance, or sufferings. So prevalent is this fatal error, which self-love and the example and false maxims of the world strongly fortify in the minds of many, that those who have given themselves to God with the greatest fervour are bound always to stand upon their guard against it, and daily to renew their fervour in the love and practice of penance, and to arm themselves with patience against sufferings, lest the weight of the corruption of our nature, the pleasures of sense, and flattering blandishments of the world, draw them aside and make them leave the path of mortification, or lose courage under its labours, and under the afflictions with which God is pleased to purify them and afford them means of sanctifying themselves. SOURCE: History of the Christian Church

#PopeFrancis "Our world needs peace, love and mercy. It needs peacemakers..." FULL TEXT Video message before visit to Egypt


Please find below the official English translation of the Pope’s video message:
Dear People of Egypt,
As-salamu alaykum!
Peace be with you!
With a heart full of joy and gratitude I will soon visit your beloved country, the cradle of civilization, the gift of the Nile, the land of sun and hospitality, the land where Patriarchs and Prophets lived, and where God, Benevolent and Merciful, the Almighty and One God, made his voice heard.
I am truly happy to be coming as a friend, as a messenger of peace, and a pilgrim to the country that, over two thousand years ago, gave refuge and hospitality to the Holy Family as they fled the threats of King Herod (cf. Mt 2:10-16).  I am honoured to visit the land visited by the Holy Family!
I greet all of you warmly and I thank you for your invitation to visit Egypt, which you call ‘Umm il Dugna – Mother of the universe!
I offer heartfelt thanks to the President of the Republic, to His Holiness Patriarch Tawadros II, to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and to the Coptic-Catholic Patriarch, all of whom invited me.  I also thank each of you for opening your hearts to me, and in particular all those who worked so hard to make this journey possible.
I would like this visit to be a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East, a message of friendship and respect for all the inhabitants of Egypt and the region, and a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world, in which Egypt holds so important a place.  I would also hope that my visit will make a fruitful contribution to interreligious dialogue with the followers of Islam and to ecumenical dialogue with the venerable and beloved Coptic Orthodox Church.
Our world is torn by blind violence, a violence that has also struck the heart of your beloved land.  Our world needs peace, love and mercy.  It needs peacemakers, people who are free and who set others free, men and women of courage who can learn from the past in order to build the future, free of every form of prejudice.  Our world needs people who can build bridges of peace, dialogue, fraternity, justice and humanity.
Dear Egyptian brothers and sisters, young and old, women and men, Muslims and Christians, rich and poor…  I embrace you warmly and I ask Almighty God to bless you and protect your country from every evil.
Please pray for me!  Shukran wa Tahiaì Misr! (Thank you and may Egypt flourish!). 

#PopeFrancis "So, first of all: Go, go out. The Gospel, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, goes forth, always; on a journey, always." Homily - Feast of St. Mark


Vatican Radio - The Gospel must be proclaimed with humility, overcoming the temptation of pride. That was the exhortation of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, on the feast of St Mark the Evangelist. Among those taking part in the Mass were the Cardinal counsellors of the C-9.
The Holy Father spoke about the necessity for Christians of “going out to proclaim” the Good News. A preacher, he said, must always be on a journey, and not seek “an insurance policy,” seeking safety by remaining in one place.
Jesus gave His disciples a mission: to proclaim the Gospel, “to not remain in Jerusalem, but to go out to proclaim the Good News to all. In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on passage from the Gospel of St Mark, which relates the story of the Great Commission. He said “the Gospel is always proclaimed on the journey, never seated, always on the journey.”
Going out to proclaim the Good News, never remaining stopped but always on the journey
Christians, the Pope said, need “to go out where Jesus is not known, or where Jesus is persecuted, or where Jesus is disfigured, to proclaim the true Gospel”:
“To go out in order to proclaim. And, also, in this going out there is life, the life of the preacher is played out. He is not safe; there are no life insurance policies for preachers. And if a preacher seeks a life insurance policy, he is not a true preacher of the Gospel: He doesn’t go out, he stays in place, safe. So, first of all: Go, go out. The Gospel, the proclamation of Jesus Christ, goes forth, always; on a journey, always. On a physical journey, on a spiritual journey, on a journey of suffering: we think of the proclamation of the Gospel that leads to so many wounded people – so many wounded people! – who offer their sufferings for the Church, for the Christians. But they always go out of themselves.”
But what is “the style of this proclamation?” the Pope asked. “Saint Peter, who was St Mark’s teacher, was perfectly clear in his description of this style”: “The Gospel must be announced in humility, because the Son of God humbled Himself, annihilated Himself.” This, the Pope said, “is the style of God”; there is no other. “The proclamation of the Gospel,” he said, “is not a carnival, a party.” This is “not the proclamation of the Gospel.”
The Gospel must be announced with humility, overcoming the temptation of worldliness
The Gospel, the Pope said, “cannot be announced with human power, cannot be proclaimed with human power, cannot be proclaimed with the spirit of climbing and advancement.” “This is not the Gospel.” All of us, then, are called to vest themselves with “humility, one towards another,” because “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”:
“And why is this humility necessary? Precisely because we carry forward a proclamation of humiliation – of glory, but through humility. And the proclamation of the Gospel undergoes temptation: the temptation of power, the temptation of pride, the temptation of worldliness, of so many kinds of worldliness that they bring preaching or to speaking; because he does not preach a watered down Gospel, without strength, a Gospel without Christ crucified and risen. And for this reason St Peter says: ‘Be vigilant, be vigilant, be vigilant… Your enemy the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.’ The proclamation of the Gospel, if it is true, undergoes temptation."
Pope Francis said that if a Christian says he is proclaiming the Gospel “but is never tempted,” it means that “the devil is not worried,” because “we are preaching something useless.”
Let us ask the Lord that we might go out of ourselves in order to evangelize
For this reason, the Pope continued, “in true preaching there is always some temptation, and also some persecution.” He said that when we are suffering, the Lord is there “to restore us, to give us strength, because that is what Jesus promised when He sent the Apostles”:
“The Lord will be there to comfort us, to give us the strength to go forward, because He works with us if we are faithful to the proclamation of the Gospel, if we go out of ourselves to preach Christ crucified, a scandal and a folly, and if we do this with a style of humility, of true humility. May the Lord grant us this grace, as baptized people, all of us, to take the path of evangelization with humility, with confidence in Him, announcing the true Gospel: ‘The Word is come in the flesh.’ The Word of God is come in the flesh. And this is a folly, it is a scandal; but doing it with the understanding that the Lord is at our side, He works with us, and He confirms our work.”

Saint April 25 : St. Mark Evangelist : Patron of Lawyers and #Prisoners

>
St. Mark EVANGELIST, PATRON SAINT OF VENICE Feast: April 25
Born:
1st century AD, Palestine
Died:
April 25, 68 AD, Alexandria
Major Shrine:
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Cairo, Egypt)
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria, Egypt)
Basilica di San Marco (Venice, Italy)
Patron of:
against impenitence, against struma, attorneys, barristers, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people, prelature of insect bites, Ionian Islands, lawyers, lions, notaries, prisoners, scrofulous diseases, stained glass workers, struma patients, Venice
On April 25, we celebrate the feast of Saint Mark (died 57), writer of the Gospel, martyr, and follower of Jesus. Mark, and his family, were among the first Christians of the early Church. His mother, Mary, was one of the women who followed Jesus. Mark was present at the wedding in Cana, tasting the water turned into wine. He is likewise believed to be the young man who carried the pitcher signaling that his home would be used for the Last Supper. Later, that same room housed the disciples when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. On this, the dawning of the Easter season, we look to the courageous life of this saint and writer, as inspiration for our Easter journey. Born into the tribe of Levi, Mark was born in Northern Africa (Gyrene, in modern-day Libya), in the small village of Aberyatolos. As a young Levite, he received a thorough education and was able to read and write multiple languages—a skill he would utilize to its full potential as a preacher and writer. His family moved to Palestine following unrest in Northern Africa, and there he encountered Jesus and His disciples. Given his mother’s affiliation and following of Christ, the family was held in high esteem in early Christian circles. Often, many would meet to pray and preach in their home, and Biblical scholars posit family connections to both Saint Thomas and Saint Peter. In fact, when Saint Peter was freed from prison he went directly to the house of Mark.
It is believed that Peter himself converted Mark to the faith, and following the Ascension of Jesus, Mark accompanied Peter on his subsequent missionary trips. History tells us that Mark’s first convert was his father, who while allowing his wife to become Christian, had resisted the call himself. While traveling with his father to Jordan, the two men were set upon by a hungry lion and lioness. Mark appealed to Christ, praying, “Oh Christ, Save us!” The lions immediately departed, and his father accepted the faith. To this day, the winged lion is considered the symbol of Saint Mark. Mark accompanied Saint Peter to Rome, likely acting as a secretary and interpreter, and is said to have later preached the Gospel in Venice and Aquila. To this day, the citizens of Venice proclaim Saint Mark as their father of faith, and the most famous of Basilicas in that city is named in his honor. When Saint Peter wrote his First Epistle to the churches of Asia, he affectionately joined to his own salutation that of his faithful companion, whom he calls “my son Mark.” The Roman people entreated Saint Mark to put in writing for them the substance of Saint Peter’s frequent discourses on Our Lord’s life. This the Evangelist did under the eye and with the express sanction of the Apostle, and every page of his brief but graphic Gospel so bore the impress of Saint Peter’s character, that the Fathers used to name it “Peter’s Gospel.” Saint Mark traveled subsequently throughout Lebanon, reaching Mount Lebanon, and serving as the first Bishop of Gobayel.
 He then journeyed to Alexandria, and is considered the father of the Egyptian Church and the theological school of Alexandria. This school became the center of Christian learning and culture for several centuries. Holy legend tells us that Saint Mark was martyred in Alexandria around the year 57. He was dragged behind a team of oxen, with a rope around his neck, until his holy death. His relics were translated to Venice in 466, although the Italian government returned many of the relics to Egypt in the mid 1900s. Saint Mark was graced with the gift of writing. Through his Gospels, we are revealed many of the small details of the life of Jesus—His words and actions—that other Gospel writers did not record. As his Gospel, the second Gospel, is a vivid retelling of Saint Peter’s recollections, we can be certain that these writings are the intimate and personal reflections of the first pope. The life and service of Saint Mark—as well as the legacy of discipleship and learning he left in Egypt—remind us that we each are called to play our part in the fullness of the Resurrection. What is the Risen Lord calling you to do today?
Prayer: Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist hast given to thy Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank thee for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
 O Almighty God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrines of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace, that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Text from 365Rosaries Blog