Friday, March 31, 2017

Saint April 1 : St. Hugh of Grenoble


Feast Day:
April 1
Born:
1053 at Chateauneuf, Dauphiné, France
Died:
1 April 1132
Canonized:
1134 by Pope Innocent II
St. Hugh was born in 1053 in southeastern France at Châteauneuf-sur-Isère, near Grenoble in the western foothills of the Alps. Such was his reputation for piety and theological knowledge that, although only in his mid-twenties, Hugh was elected bishop of Grenoble even though he had not yet been ordained. He was selected to carry out reforms of abuses within the Church which had been instituted under Pope Gregory VII, who ordained Hugh in Rome after his election as bishop. After two years of successfully battling abuses in Grenoble such as simony (the selling of church positions) and enforcing rules about clerical celibacy, Hugh wanted to retire to the great Benedictine monastery at Cluny. However, Pope Gregory ordered him to remain in his position as bishop. He was well-known for his inspired preaching and his generosity to the poor.


In 1084, Hugh helped St. Bruno of Cologne and six of his companions found the great Carthusian monastery "La Grande Chartreuse" high in the Alps. They devoted their monastic life to prayer and study and were visited by Hugh often. It was reported that, as much as he could in his role as bishop, Hugh adopted the monastic way of life practiced by the monks at Chartreuse. The 2005 film, Into Great Silence, documented the daily life at La Grande Chartreuse. After many years of illness which he endured in patient silence, St. Hugh died on April 1, 1132 and was canonized only two years later by Pope Innocent II. Text: sthughofgrenoble.org

Saint March 31 : St. Guy of Pomposa : Abbot


St. Guy of Pomposa (1046) was born in Italy and gave everything to the poor. He spent three years, as a hermit, on the island of Po River. He become the abbot of St. Severus. He became a much sought after spiritual adviser. His feast day is March 31.

#PopeFrancis "In practice, this means giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting." to World Meeting of Families FULL TEXT

(Vatican Radio excerpt) Pope Francis has written a letter to the organisers of next year’s World Meeting of Families, who presented the event at the Vatican press office on Thursday morning.
The Meeting is scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland from August 21st to 26th 2018 on the theme ‘The Gospel of the Family: joy to the world”.
Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ letter for the World Meeting of Families
To the Venerable Brother Cardinal KEVIN FARRELL, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life
            At the end of the Eighth World Meeting of Families, held in Philadelphia in September 2015, I announced that the subsequent meeting with Catholic families of the world would take place in Dublin. I now wish to initiate preparations, and am pleased to confirm that it will be held from 21 to 26 August 2018, on the theme “The Gospel of the Family: joy for the world”. Indeed, it is my wish for families to have a way of deepening their reflection and their sharing of the content of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
            One might ask: does the Gospel continue to be a joy for the world? And also: does the family continue to be good news for today’s world?
            I am sure the answer is yes! And this “yes” is firmly based on God’s plan. The love of God is His “yes” to all creation and at the heart of this latter is man. It is God’s “yes” to the union between man and woman, in openness and service to life in all its phases; it is God’s “yes” and His commitment to a humanity that is often wounded, mistreated and dominated by a lack of love. The family, therefore, is the “yes” of God as Love. Only starting from love can the family manifest, spread and regenerate God’s love in the world. Without love, we cannot live as children of God, as couples, parents and brothers.
            I wish to underline how important it is for families to ask themselves often if they live based on love, for love and in love. In practice, this means giving oneself, forgiving, not losing patience, anticipating the other, respecting. How much better family life would be if every day we lived according to the words, “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry”. Every day we have the experience of fragility and weakness, and therefore we all, families and pastors, are in need of renewed humility that forms the desire to form ourselves, to educate and be educated, to help and be helped, to accompany, discern and integrate all men of good will. I dream of an outbound Church, not a self-referential one, a Church that does not pass by far from man’s wounds, a merciful Church that proclaims the heart of the revelation of God as Love, which is Mercy. It is this very mercy that makes us new in love; and we know how much Christian families are a place of mercy and witnesses of mercy, and even more so after the extraordinary Jubilee. The Dublin meeting will be able to offer concrete signs of this.
            I therefore invite all the Church to keep these indications in mind in the pastoral preparation for the next World Meeting.
            You, dear Brother, along with your collaborators, have the task of translating in a special way the teaching of Amoris Laetitia, with which the Church wishes families always to be in step, in that inner pilgrimage that is the manifestation of authentic life.
            My thoughts go in a special way to the archdiocese of Dublin and to all the dear Irish nation for the generous welcome and commitment involved in hosting such an important event. May the Lord recompense you as of now, granting you abundant heavenly favours.
            May the Holy Family of Nazareth guide, accompany and bless your service, and all the families involved in the preparation of the great World Meeting in Dublin.
            From the Vatican, 25 March 2017
FRANCIS

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday March 31, 2017 - #Eucharist


Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 248


Reading 1WIS 2:1A, 12-22

The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
"Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him."
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls' reward.

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:17-18, 19-20, 21 AND 23

R. (19a) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
He watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:4B

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

GospelJN 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
"Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from."
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
"You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me."
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Saint March 31 : St. Benjamin : Martyr and #Deacon of #Persia


St. Benjamin
MARTYR, DEACON
Feast: March 31
Feast Day:
March 31
Died:
424 in Persia Isdegerdes, son of Sapor III, put a stop to the cruel persecution against the Christians in Persia, which had been begun by Sapor II, and the church had enjoyed twelve years' peace in that kingdom when, in 420, it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of one Abdas, a Christian bishop, who burned down the Pyraeum, or temple of fire, the great divinity of the Persians. King Isdegerdes threatened to demolish all the churches of the Christians unless he would rebuild it. Abdas had done ill in destroying the temple, but did well in refusing to rebuild it; for nothing can make it lawful to contribute to any act of idolatry, or to the building a temple, as Theodoret observes. Isdegerdes therefore demolished all the Christian churches in Persia, put to death Abdas, and raised a general persecution against the church, which continued forty years with great fury. Isdegerdes died the year following, in 421. But his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with greater inhumanity. The very description which Theodoret, a contemporary writer, and one that lived in the neighbourhood, gives of the cruelties he exercised on the Christians strikes us with horror: some were flayed alive in different parts of the body, and suffered all kinds of torture that could be invented: others, being stuck all over with sharp reeds, were hauled and rolled about in that condition; others were tormented divers other ways, such as nothing but the most hellish malice was capable of suggesting. Amongst these glorious champions of Christ was St. Benjamin, a deacon. The tyrant caused him to be beaten and imprisoned. He had lain a year in the dungeon when an ambassador from the emperor obtained his enlargement on condition he should never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.

The ambassador passed his word in his behalf that he would not; but Benjamin, who was a minister of the gospel, declared that he could not detain the truth in captivity, conscious to himself of the condemnation of the slothful servant for having hid his talent. He therefore neglected no opportunity of announcing Christ. The king, being informed that he still preached the faith in his kingdom, ordered him to be apprehended; but the martyr made no other reply to his threats than by putting this question to the king: What opinion he would have of any of his subjects who should renounce his allegiance to him, and join in war against him? The enraged tyrant caused reeds to be run in between the nails and the flesh both of his hands and feet, and the same to be thrust into other most tender parts, and drawn out again, and this to be frequently repeated with violence. He lastly ordered a knotty stake to be thrust into his bowels, to rend and tear them, in which torment he expired in the year 424. The Roman Martyrology places his name on the 31st of March.
St. Ephrem, considering the heroic constancy of the martyrs, makes on them the following pious reflections: "The wisdom of philosophers, and the eloquence of the greatest orators, are dumb through amazement, when they contemplate the wonderful spectacle and glorious actions of the martyrs: the tyrants and judges were not able to express their astonishment when they beheld the faith, the constancy, and the cheerfulness of these holy champions. What excuse shall we have in the dreadful day of judgment, if we, who have never been exposed to any cruel persecutions, or to the violence of such torments, shall have neglected the love of God and the care of a spiritual life? No temptations,  no torments, were able to draw them from that love which they bore to God; but we, living in rest and delights, refuse to love our most merciful and gracious Lord. What shall we do in that day of terror, when the martyrs of Christ, standing with confidence near his throne, shall show the marks of their wounds? What shall we then show? Shall we present a lively faith? true charity towards God? a perfect disengagement of our affections from earthly things? souls freed from the tyranny of the passions? silence and recollection? meekness? almsdeeds? prayers poured forth with clean hearts? compunction, watchings, tears? Happy shall he be whom such good works shall attend. He will be the partner of the martyrs, and, supported by the treasure of these virtues, shall appear with equal confidence before Christ and his angels." We entreat you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered most cruel torments for God our Saviour and his love, on which account you are now most intimately and familiarly united to him, that you pray to the Lord for us miserable sinners, covered with filth, that he infuse into us the grace of Christ that it may enlighten our souls that we may love him, &c."
Edited from Butler's Lives of the Saints

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday March 30, 2017 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 247


Reading 1EX 32:7-14

The LORD said to Moses,
"Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
'This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'"
The LORD said to Moses,
"I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation."

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
'With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth'?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial PsalmPS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Verse Before The GospelJN 3:16

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

GospelJN 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews:
"If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John's.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

"I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?"

Touching Song to INSPIRE for #Lent "Don't Give Up" by Josh Groban to SHARE because you are Loved!


This Amazing Viral Song by artist Josh Groban has reached over 5 Million Views - It is perfect for this season of Lent. Keep Praying, Fasting and Giving because you are Loved by God!
SHARE this to uplift your Friends Today!
"You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" Lyrics:
 Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I...I will lift it for you Don't give up Because you want to be heard If silence keeps you I...I will break it for you Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved
 Don't give up It's just the hurt that you hide When you're lost inside I...I will be there to find you
 Don't give up Because you want to burn bright If darkness blinds you I...I will shine to guide you Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved You are loved
Don't give up It's just the weight of the world
Don't give up Every one needs to be heard You are loved Music "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" by Josh Groban

#PopeFrancis “God weeps for me”, #Homily in Lent

Vatican Radio)  Beware of following fantasies and false idols, for only God loves us and waits for us like a father.  That was Pope Francis’ message at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta.
Commenting on the First Letter from the Book of Exodus, the Holy Father focused on God’s love for His people, despite their infidelity. Even today, he said, it is good for us to ask whether we distance ourselves from the Lord to follow after idols and worldliness.
Pope Francis took inspiration from the Book of Exodus to reflect on the “dreams and disappointments of God”. The people, he said, is “God’s dream. He dreamed of them because he loved them.” But the people betrayed the Father’s dreams and so God “began to be disappointed,” asking Moses to come down from the mountain where he had gone to receive the Law. The people “did not have the patience to wait for God” for even 40 days. They had made themselves a golden calf and “they forgot God who had saved them”.
Temptation to infidelity towards God
The prophet Baruc, Pope Francis said, “had a good expression for this people: ‘You have forgotten the One who reared you’”.
“To forget God who made us, who raised us, and who accompanies us in our lives: this is the disappointment of God. And many times in the Gospel Jesus speaks in parables about that man who builds a vineyard, which then fails, because the workers want to take it for themselves. In the human heart there is always this restlessness! It is not satisfied with God, with faithful love. The human heart always tends towards infidelity. This is a temptation.”
God is “disappointed” by the infidelity of His people who go after idols
God, therefore, “through the prophet rebukes this people”, which “is inconstant and does not know how to wait”. They go astray from God to seek another god.
“The disappointment of God is the infidelity of the people… And we are God’s people. We know well how [the dispositions] of our heart, and every day we must take up again the path so as not to slide slowly towards idols, fantasies, worldliness, and infidelity. I think it would do us good today to reflect on the disappointed Lord: ‘Tell me, Lord, are you disappointed in me?’ In something, yes, surely. But reflect, and ask yourself this question.”
Reflect in Lent whether we have distanced ourselves from God
God, Pope Francis affirmed, “has a tender heart, the heart of a father”. He recalled that Jesus wept “over Jerusalem”. Let us ask ourselves, he said, if “God weeps for me”, if “He is disappointed in me”, and if “I have distanced myself from the Lord”. He asked aloud, “How many idols do I have, which I am unable to remove, which make me a slave? The idolatry that we have within us… And God weeps for me.”
“Let us reflect today on this disappointment of God, who created us for love, whilst we go in search of love, of wellbeing elsewhere and not in His love. We distance ourselves from this God who raised us. This is a thought for Lent. It will do us good. Do this small examination of conscience daily: ‘Lord, you who have so many dreams for me, I know that I have gone away from you, but tell me where and how to return…’ The surprise will be that He ever awaits us, like the father of the prodigal son who saw him from afar, because he was waiting for him.”

(Devin Sean Watkins)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Saint March 30 : St. John Climacus : Abbott of Sinai



Born:525, Syria
Died:30 March 606, Mount Sinai
St John, generally distinguished by the appellation of Climacus, from his excellent book entitled Climax, or the Ladder to Perfection, was born about the year 525, probably in Palestine. By his extraordinary progress in the arts and sciences he obtained very young the surname of the Scholastic. But at sixteen years of age he renounced all the advantages which the world promised him to dedicate himself to God in a religious state, in 547. He retired to Mount Sinai, which, from the time of the disciples of St. Anthony and St. Hilarion, had been always peopled by holy men, who, in imitation of Moses, when he received the law on that mountain, lived in the perpetual contemplation of heavenly things. Our novice, fearing the danger of dissipation and relaxation to which numerous communities are generally more exposed than others, chose not to live in the great monastery on the summit, but in an hermitage on the descent of the mountain, under the discipline of Martyrius, an holy ancient anchoret. By silence he curbed the insolent itch of talking about everything, an ordinary vice in learned men, but usually a mark of pride and self-sufficiency. By perfect humility and obedience he banished the dangerous desire of self-complacency in his actions. He never contradicted, never disputed with anyone. So perfect was his submission that he seemed to have no self-will. He undertook to sail through the deep sea of this mortal life securely, under the direction of a prudent guide, and shunned those rocks which he could not have escaped, had he presumed to steer alone, as he tells us. From the visible mountain he raised his heart, without interruption, in all his actions, to God, who is invisible; and, attentive to all the motions of his grace, studied only to do his will. Four years he spent in the trial of his own strength, and in learning the obligations of his state, before he made his religious profession, which was in the twentieth year of his age. In his writings he severely condemns engagements made by persons too young, or before a sufficient probation. By fervent prayer and fasting he prepared himself for the solemn consecration of himself to God, that the most intense fervour might make his holocaust the more perfect; and from that moment he seemed to be renewed in spirit; and his master admired the strides with which, like a mighty giant, the young disciple advanced daily more and more towards God, by self-denial, obedience, humility, and the uninterrupted exercises of divine love and prayer.

In the year 560, and the thirty-fifth of his age, he lost Martyrius by death; having then spent nineteen years in that place in penance and holy contemplation. By the advice of a prudent director, he then embraced an eremitical life in a plain called Thole, near the foot of Mount Sinai. His cell was five miles from the church, probably the same which had been built a little before, by order of the Emperor Justinian, for the use of the monks at the bottom of this mountain, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, as Procopius mentions. Thither he went every Saturday and Sunday to assist, with all the other anchorets and monks of that desert, at the holy office and at the celebration of the divine mysteries, when they all communicated. His diet was very sparing, though, to shun ostentation and the danger of vainglory, he ate of everything that was allowed among the monks of Egypt, who universally abstained from flesh, fish, &c. Prayer was his principal employment; and he practiced what he earnestly recommends to all Christians, that in all their actions, thoughts, and words they should keep themselves with great fervour in the presence of God, and direct all they do to his holy will. By habitual contemplation he acquired an extraordinary purity of heart, and such a facility of lovingly beholding God in all his works that this practice seemed in him a second nature. Thus he accompanied his studies with perpetual prayer. He assiduously read the holy scriptures and fathers, and was one of the most learned doctors of the church. But, to preserve the treasure of humility, he concealed, as much as possible, both his natural and acquired talents, and the extraordinary graces with which the Holy Ghost enriched his soul. By this secrecy he fled from the danger of vainglory, which, like a leech, sticks to our best actions and, sucking from them its nourishment, robs us of their fruit. As if this cell had not been sufficiently remote from the eyes of men, St. John frequently retired into a neighbouring cavern which he had made in the rock, where no one could come to disturb his devotions or interrupt his tears. So ardent were his charity and compunction, that his eyes seemed two fountains, which scarce ever ceased to flow; and his continual sighs and groans to heaven, under the weight of the miseries inseparable from his moral pilgrimage, were not to be equaled by the vehemency of the cries of those who suffer from knives and fire. Overcome by importunities, he admitted a holy anchoret named Moyses to live with him as his disciple.
God bestowed on St. John an extraordinary grace of healing the spiritual disorders of souls. Among others, a monk called Isaac was brought almost to the brink of despair by most violent temptations of the flesh. He addressed himself to St. John, who perceived by his tears how much he underwent from that conflict and struggle which he felt within himself. The servant of God commended his faith, and said, "My son, let us have recourse to God by prayer." They accordingly prostrated themselves together on the ground in fervent supplication for a deliverance, and from that time the infernal serpent left Isaac in peace. Many others resorted to St. John for spiritual advice; but the devil excited some to jealousy, who censured him as one who, out of vanity, lost much time in unprofitable discourse. The saint took this accusation, which was a mere calumny, in good part, and as a charitable admonition; he therefore imposed on himself a rigorous silence for near a twelvemonth. This, his humility and modesty, so much astonished his calumniators that they joined the rest of the monks in beseeching him to reassume his former function of giving charitable advice to all that resorted to him for it, and not to bury that talent of science which he had received for the benefit of many. He who knew not what it was to contradict others, with the same humility and deference again opened his mouth to instruct his neighbour in the rules of perfect virtue, in which office, such was the reputation of his wisdom and experience, that he was regarded as another Moses in that holy place.
St. John was now seventy-five years old, and had spent forty of them in his hermitage, when, in the year 600, he was unanimously chosen Abbot of Mount Sinai, and superior-general of all the monks and hermits in that country. Soon after he was raised to this dignity, the people of Palestine and Arabia, in the time of a great drought and famine, made their application to him as to another Elias, begging him to intercede with God in their behalf. The saint failed not, with great earnestness, to recommend their distress to the Father of mercies, and his prayer was immediately recompensed with abundant rains. St. Gregory the Great, who then sat in St. Peter's chair, wrote to our holy abbot, recommending himself to his prayers, and sent him beds, with other furniture and money, for his hospital, for the use of pilgrims near Mount Sinai. John, who had used his utmost endeavours to decline the pastoral charge when he saw it laid upon him, neglected no means which might promote the sanctification of all those who were entrusted to his care. That posterity might receive some share in the benefit of his holy instructions, John, the learned and virtuous Abbot of Raithu, a monastery situate towards the Red Sea, entreated him by that obedience he had ever practiced, even with regard to his inferiors, that he would draw up the most necessary rules by which fervent souls might arrive at Christian perfection. The saint answered him that nothing but extreme humility could have moved him to write to so miserable a sinner, destitute of every sort of virtue; but that he received his commands with respect, though far above his strength, never considering his own insufficiency. Wherefore, apprehensive of falling into death by disobedience, he took up his pen in haste, with great eagerness mixed with fear, and set himself to draw some imperfect outlines, as an unskillful painter, leaving them to receive from him, as a great master, the finishing strokes. This produced the excellent work which he called "Climax; or, the Ladder of religious Perfection." This book, being written in sentences, almost in the manner of aphorisms, abounds more in sense than words. A certain majestic simplicity- an inexpressible unction and spirit of humility, joined with conciseness and perspicuity-very much enhance the value of this performance; but its chief merit consists in the sublime sentiments and perfect description of all Christian virtues which it contains. The author confirms his precepts by several edifying examples, as of obedience and penance. In  describing a monastery of three hundred and thirty monks which he had visited near Alexandria, in Egypt, he mentions one of the principal citizens of that city, named Isidore, who, petitioning to be admitted into the house, said to the abbot, "As iron is in the hands of the smith, so am I in your hands." The abbot ordered him to remain without the gate, and to prostrate himself at the feet of everyone that passed by, begging their prayers for his soul struck with a leprosy. Thus he passed seven years in profound humility and patience. He told St. John that, during the first year, he always considered himself as a slave condemned for his sins, and sustained violent conflicts; the second year he passed in tranquillity and confidence; and the third with relish and pleasure in his humiliations. So great was his virtue that the abbot determined to present him to the bishop in order to be promoted to the priesthood, but the humility of the holy penitent prevented the execution of that design; for, having begged at least a respite, he died within ten days. St. John could not help admiring the cook of this numerous community, who seemed always recollected, and generally bathed in tears amidst his continual occupation, and asked him by what means he nourished so perfect a spirit of compunction, in the midst of such a dissipating laborious employment. He said that serving the monks, he represented to himself that he was serving not men, but God in his servants; and that the fire he always had before his eyes reminded him of that fire which will burn souls for all eternity. The moving description which our author gives of the monastery of penitents called the Prison, above a mile from the former, hath been already abridged in our language. John the Sabaite told our saint, as of a third person, that seeing himself respected in his monastery, he considered that this was not the way to satisfy for his sins; wherefore, with the leave of his abbot, he repaired to a severe monastery in Pontus, and after three years saw in a dream a schedule of his debts, to the amount in appearance of one hundred pounds of gold, of which only ten were cancelled. He therefore repeated often to himself, "Poor Antiochus, thou hast still a great debt to satisfy." After passing other thirteen years in contempt and the most fervent practices of penance, he deserved to see in a vision his whole debt blotted out. Another monk, in a grievous fit of illness, fell into a trance, in which he lay as if he had been dead for the space of an hour; but, recovering, he shut himself up in a cell, and lived a recluse twelve years, almost continually weeping, in the perpetual meditation of death. When he was near death, his brethren could only extort from him these words of edification, "He who hath death always before his eyes will never sin." John, Abbot of Raithu, explained this book of our saint by judicious comments, which are also extant. We have likewise a letter of St. John Climacus to the same person concerning the duties of a pastor, in which he exhorts him in correcting others to temper severity with mildness, and encourages him zealously to fulfil the obligations of his charge; for nothing is greater or more acceptable to God than to offer him the sacrifice of rational souls sanctified by penance and charity.
St. John sighed continually under the weight of his dignity during the four years that he governed the monks of Mount Sinai; and as he had taken upon him that burden with fear and reluctance, he with joy found means to resign the same a little before his death. Heavenly contemplation, and the continual exercise of divine love and praise, were his delight and comfort in his earthly pilgrimage: and in this imitation of the functions of the blessed spirits in heaven he placeth the essence of the monastic state. In his excellent maxims concerning the gift of holy tears, the fruit of charity, we seem to behold a lively portraiture of his most pure soul. He died in his hermitage on the 30th day of March, in 605, being fourscore years old. His spiritual son, George, who had succeeded him in the abbacy, earnestly begged of God that he  might not be separated from his dear master and guide; and followed him by a happy death within a few days. On several Greek commentaries on St. John Climacus's ladder, see Montfaucon, Biblioth. Coisliana, pp. 305, 306.
St. John Climacus, speaking of the excellence and the effects of charity, does it with a feeling and energy worthy of such a subject: "A mother," says he, "feels less pleasure when she folds within her arms the dear infant whom she nourishes with her own milk than the true child of charity does when united as he incessantly is, to his God, and folded as it were in the arms of his heavenly Father.—Charity operates in some persons so as to carry them almost entirely out of themselves. It illuminates others, and fills them with such sentiments of joy, that they cannot help crying out: The Lord is my helper and my protector: in him hath my heart confided, and I have been helped And my flesh hath flourished again, and with my will I will give praise to him. This joy which they feel in their hearts, is reflected on their countenances; and when once God has united, or, as we may say, incorporated them with his charity, he displays in their exterior, as in the reflection of a mirror, the brightness and serenity of their souls: even as Moses, being honored with a sight of God, was encompassed round by his glory." St. John Climacus composed the following prayer to obtain the gift of charity: "My God, I pretend to nothing upon this earth, except to be so firmly united to you by prayer that to be separated from you may be impossible; let others desire riches and glory; for my part, I desire but one thing, and that is, to be inseparably united to you, and to place in you alone all my hopes of happiness and repose." The Catholic Encyclopedia

#PopeFrancis "...unite your sufferings to the cross of Christ for the building of the civilization of love" FULL TEXT at Audience + Video


The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The passage of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans that we just heard, gives us a great gift. In fact, we are used to acknowledging Abraham as our Father in the faith. Today the Apostle makes us understand that Abraham is also for us Father in hope; not only Father of faith but Father in hope. And this because in his story we can already receive an announcement of the Resurrection, of the new life that overcomes evil and death itself.
The text states that Abraham believed in the God “Who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17), and then it specifies: “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about 100 years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb” (Romans 4:19). See, this is the experience that we are also called to live. The God who reveals Himself to Abraham is the God who saves, the God who makes us come out of despair and of death, the God who calls to life. In Abraham’s story everything becomes a hymn to God who liberates and regenerates, everything becomes prophecy. And it becomes so for us, for us who now recognize and celebrate the fulfilment of all this in the mystery of Easter. In fact, God “raised Jesus from the dead” (Romans 4:24), so that, in Him, we can also pass from death to life. And truly Abraham can now well say of himself “Father of many nations,” in as much as he shines as proclamation of a new humanity – us! –, rescued by Christ from sin and death and introduced once and for all in the embrace of God’s love.
At this point, Paul helps us set on fire the very close bond between faith and hope. He affirms, in fact, that Abraham “hoped against hope” (Romans 4:18). Our hope is not governed by human reasoning, expectations and reassurances; it is manifested where there is no more hope, where there is nothing more in which to hope, precisely as it happened for Abraham, in face of his imminent death and the sterility of his wife Sarah. The end was approaching them, they could not have children and, in that situation, Abraham believed and had hope against all hope. And this is great! Great hope is rooted in faith, and precisely because of this it is able to go beyond all hope. Yes, because it is not founded on our word, but on the Word of God. So, in this sense also, we are called to follow Abraham’s example who, although in face of the evidence of a reality that seemed avowed to death, trusted God, “fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised” (Romans 4:21). I would like to ask you a question: we, all of us, are we convinced of this? Are we convinced that God loves us, and that He is ready to bring to fulfilment all that He has promised us? But Father, how much does this cost? There is only one price: “open the heart.” Open your hearts and this strength of God will lead you forward, He will do miraculous things and teach you what hope is. This is the only price: to open the heart to faith and He will do the rest.
This is the paradox and, at the same time, the strongest, highest element of our hope! A hope founded on a promise that, from the human point of view seems uncertain and unpredictable, but which does not fail not even in face of death, when the one who promises is the God of the Resurrection and of life. This is not promised by just anyone! He who promises is the God of the Resurrection and of life.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, today let us ask the Lord for the grace to remain founded not so much on our securities, on our capacities, but on the hope that flows from God’s promise, as true children of Abraham. When God promises, He brings to fulfilment what He promises. He never fails in His word. And then our life will assume a new light, in the awareness that He who resurrected His Son will also resurrect us and render us truly one with Him, together with all our brethren in the faith. All of us believe. Today we are in the Square, we praise the Lord, we will sing the Our Father, then we will receive the Blessing . . . but this passes. But this is also a promise of hope. If our heart is open today, I assure you that we will all meet in Heaven’s Square, which never ever passes. This is God’s promise and this is our hope, if we open our hearts. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the priests of the Focolare Movement, the “Provida Italia” Association and the Pro-Good Friday Committee of Cave. I greet the faithful of Cassino, who are observing the 70th anniversary of the consecration of the church of Saint Anthony of Padua; the “Unasca Italia” Group and the Basket for Ever team of Gaeta. May the visit to the Eternal City increase communion in each one with the universal Church and the Successor of Peter.
Finally, a special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Dear young people, the Lenten Season is precious to rediscover the importance of the faith in daily life; dear sick, unite your sufferings to the cross of Christ for the building of the civilization of love; and you, dear newlyweds, favor God’s presence in your new family.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
The Holy Father’s Appeal
I am happy to greet the delegation of the Iraqi super-intendancy, made up of representatives of different religious groups, accompanied by His Eminence Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue. The richness of the beloved Iraqi nation lies precisely in this mosaic that represents unity in diversity, strength in union, prosperity in harmony. Dear Brothers, I encourage you to continue on this path and I invite you to pray so that Iraq may find peace, unity and prosperity in reconciliation and harmony between its diverse ethnic and religious components. My thought goes to the civilian populations trapped in the western districts of Mosul and the displaced because of war, to whom I feel united in suffering through prayer and spiritual closeness. In expressing profound grief for the victims of the bloody conflict, I renew to all the appeal to commit themselves with all their strength in the protection of civilians as an imperative and urgent obligation.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

#PopeFrancis "We have a common father on Earth: Abraham,” to #Interreligious delegation

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday greeted the members of a delegation from the Iraqi Supervisory Boards and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
“Your visit is a true, fraternal richness, and is, therefore, a path towards peace among all, peace in the heart, in the family, in your country, and in the world,” the Pope told the group in a private audience ahead of his weekly General Audience.
The Iraqi Supervisory Boards are made up of Shiites and Sunnis, as well as Christians, Yazidis, and Sabeans/Mandaeans, and are part of a Permanent Committee for interreligious dialogue.
Pope Francis said this expression of dialogue and solidarity is most welcome. “We are all brothers, and where there is brotherhood, there is peace. We are all sons of God.”
The Holy Father went on to repeat Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran’s words of greeting to the group.
“We have a common father on Earth: Abraham,” the Pope said. “And out of that first ‘going forth’ of Abraham, we all come together, up until today.”
“We are brothers, and as brothers, we are all different and all the same, like fingers on a hand: there are five fingers; all are fingers but all are different. I thank God, the Lord, who helped us all meet here.”
In conclusion, the Holy Father invoked a blessing upon those present: “I ask Almighty God to bless you all, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Thank you.”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday March 29, 2017 - #Eucharist


Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 246


Reading 1IS 49:8-15

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18

R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Verse Before The GospelJN 11:25A, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

GospelJN 5:17-30

Jesus answered the Jews:
"My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

"I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me."

What are the Stations of the #Cross - Powerful #Prayer of Jesus' sufferings for Us - With Indulgences - SHARE

The Stations of the Cross is a series of images showing the struggles of Jesus Christ from his condemnation to his crucifixion. They are especially prayed during Lent and Good Friday. There are usually 14 images that are hung in order around a church or along a path. People walk from image to image, and stop at each "station" saying prayers and possibly reading scripture passages. This prayer is often held by groups or individually. Other names for the Stations of the Cross are the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or, The Way. In Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa is the actual path that Jesus walked, and the stations are the actual places where the events occurred.  St. Francis of Assisi started the tradition of moving from station to station although it was practiced less formerly before. In Lent, and on Good Friday, this practice is very popular but it is also prayed during the year.The number of stations varied throughout history; Pope Clement XII extended to all churches the right to have the stations. Ultimately, the stations are an act of love towards Jesus to thank him for the great sacrifices he made for love of us and to atone for our sins.
Here is the most common list of Stations:
 1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus carries his cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets his mother
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
11.Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
15. Resurrection of Jesus is sometimes included as a fifteenth station.
Common prayers at each Station:
(while genuflecting)

P/ We adore thee O Christ and we praise thee.

C/Becuase by thy Holy cross thou hast redeemed the world.

And, when moving from station to station:

All: Holy Mother, pierce me thorugh, in my heart each wound renew, of my saviour crucified.

Indulgences are: 
  • A plenary indulgence every time the devotion is completed.
  • An additional plenary indulgence if one receives Holy Communion on the day.
  • Also an additional plenary indulgence if one performs the devotion ten times and receives Holy Communion within a month after so doing.
  • A partial indulgence of ten years for every Station made if one was not able to finish the Stations.
    The conditions for gaining them are
    • Walking from Station to Station when making the Way of the Cross privately; when making it publicly, it suffices for the priest with the altar boys to do so. Meditate at each Station on the sufferings of our Lord.





  • These two conditions are essential. No oral prayers are prescribed; yet they are profitable.
  • A plenary indulgence* is granted to the faithful for making the Stations of the Cross under the normal conditions: 





  • one is free from all attachment from sin
  • one receives the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist (7 days before or after)
  • one prays for the intentions of the Pope (1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be)