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Monday, December 15th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 21:23-27.


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DAILY MASS – Monday 15 December 2014

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Monday of the Third week of Advent

15 December 2014

“By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?”

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Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 21:23-27. 

When Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus said to them in reply, “I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.
Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.”
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” He himself said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.

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Monday of the Third week of Advent

15 December 2014

Commentary of the day

Saint Bede the Venerable 

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Commentary of the day
Saint Bede the Venerable (c.673-735),

Monk, Doctor of the Church
Sermon no.1; CCL 122, 2

“All regard John as a prophet”

If we seek to know why John was baptizing when his baptism was nevertheless unable to take away sins, the reason is clear: to be faithful to his ministry as forerunner it was necessary for him to baptize before the Lord did, just as he was born before he was, preached before he did and died before him. At the same time it was to prevent the jealous wrangling of the Pharisees and scribes from seizing upon the Lord’s ministry supposing he had been the first to administer baptism. “Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or human origin?” As they would not dare to deny that it came from heaven they were obliged to acknowledge that the works of him whom John preached were also accomplished by means of a power coming from heaven. However, if John’s baptism did not take away sins that does not mean to say that it bore no fruit for those who received it… It was a sign of faith and repentance, that is to say it called to mind that all must abstain from sin, practice almsgiving, believe in Christ, and make haste to his baptism as soon as it appeared, there to be washed for the remission of their sins.

Besides this, the desert where John dwelt represents the life of saints cut off from the pleasures of this world. Whether they live in solitude or in the midst of the crowd, they strain wholeheartedly to detach themselves from the desires of the present world. They find their joy in cleaving to God alone in the secret of their heart and in placing their hope only in him. This was the solitude of soul, so dear to God, to which the prophet was longing to go, with the Holy Spirit’s help, when he said: “Had I but wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest” (Ps 55[54],7).

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2014

Image From: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Monday of the Third week of Advent

15 December 2014

Saints of the day

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli (1587-1651)

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SAINT VIRGINIA CENTURIONE BRACELLI
(1587-1651)

        Widower, Virginia Centurione Bracelli was born on April 2, 1587, in Genoa, from the family of Giorgio Centurione, duke of the Republic in the year 1621-1622, and Lelia Spinola. Both of them were of the ancient noble origin. She was baptized two days after her birth, received her first religious and literary formation from her mother and private tutor. 

        She soon felt the need for a cloistered life but she had to succumb to her father’s strong will and marry Gaspare Grimaldi Bracelli on December 10, 1602. Gaspare’s family was both illustrious and wealthy, but he was wholly taken up with gambling and dissolute life. She gave birth to two daughters: Lelia and Isabella.

        The conjugal life of Virginia did not last long. As a matter of fact, Gaspare Bracelli, in spite of the matrimony and the fatherhood, he did not abandon his pleasures, which brought him to shorten his life. Virginia, however, with her great patience, prayer and affection, tried to convince her husband to a modest life. Unfortunately, Gaspare get ill died on June 13, 1607, in Alessandria, thus, enabling him to reach a state of grace and peace with God, relieved and assisted by his faithful wife. 

        At the age of twenty, she became widow, pronounced her perpetual vow of chastity, refusing the occasion of the second marriage proposed by her father. She lived in her mother-in-law’s house, taking care of the education and the administration of the goods of her children and dedicating herself through prayer and act of charity. 

        In 1610, she clearly felt the special vocation “to serve God through the poor”. Although she was strictly controlled by her father and never disregarded the care for the family, Virginia began to devote herself to the needy. She personally helped the poor by sharing half of her wealth or by means of charitable institution. 

        Virginia conveniently settled the marriage life of her daughters and totally offered herself to the needs of the abandoned children, the aged, the sick and to elevate the life of the marginalized people.

        In autumn of 1624-1625, the war between the Liguorian Republic and the Duke of Savoy, supported by France, increasing the unemployment and starvation, led Virginia to accomodate the first 15 abandoned youngs, and then, with the expansion of the refugees in town, enabled her to provide all their needs, specially the poor women.  

        On August of 1625, with the death of her mother-in-law, she started not only to received the youngs but instead led herself to town, mostly in the disreputable quarters, in search for the needy and in danger of depravity.

        To help the increasing poverty, Virginia founded the “Cento Signore della Misericordia Protettrici dei Poveri di Gesù Cristo”, with the collaboration of the resident organization of “Otto Signore della Misericordia”. She had the specific task of controlling the needs of the poor, particularly the bashful people by means of visiting the house.

        To intensify the initiative of accomodating the youngs, precisely at the time of plague and of famine in 1629-1630, Virginia was obliged to rent the empty convent of Monte Calvario, where she transferred on the 13th of April 1631, together with her beneficiaries placed under the protection of Our Lady of Refuge. Three years after, the Institution expanded into three houses accomodating 300 patients. Hence, she thought the opportunity to ask the official acknowledgement from the Senate of the Republic, which was conceded on December 13, 1635. 

        The beneficiaries of Our Lady of Refuge became for Virginia her excellent “daughters”, with whom she shared the food and clothing. She taught them catechism and train them to work so that they could earned their own sustenance.

        Virginia renounced to purchase the Monte Calvario’s convent because it was very expensive, for this reason, she bought two villas next to Carignano’s Hill that , with the construction of the new annex of the Church dedicated to Our Lady of Refuge, became the Mother House of the Institution.

        The spirit, which inspired the Institution founded by Virginia, was generally presented in the Rule compiled in 1644-1650. It is confirmed that all the domiciles should form a single Institution of Our Lady of Refuge, under the supervision and administration of the Protectors (noble lay appointed by the Senate of the Republic); there is also the confirmation of the separation between the “daughters” wearing the religious habit, and the “daughters”, who were not wearing habit, but altogether must live – with or without vows – like the most observant monks in obedience and poverty, working and praying. Moreover, they must be ready to give a hand in the public hospital, considering it as a vow.

        Meanwhile, the Institution is divided into two Religious Congregation: the “Sisters of Our Lady of Refuge in Mount Calvary” (Suore di Nostra Signora del Rifugio di Monte Calvario) and the “Daughters of Our Lady on Mount Calvary” (Figlie di Nostra Signora al Monte Calvario). 

        After the nomination of the Protectors (July 3, 1641), who were considered to be the real superiors of the Institute, Virginia disengaged herself from the government house. She was subdued to their needs and behaved according to their consent even in the acceptance of some needy youngs. She lived as the last “daughter” devoted to the household chores, went out in the morning and in the evening to beg for the sustenance of the living. She was a mother to everyone, specially for the sick, giving them most of her availability.

        In the past years, Virginia organized a group of social action tight to cure the roots of evil and to prevent ruins: the sick and the disabled were hospitalized in the Institute; the powerful men were sent to work; the women must trained themselves to embroidery frame and seamless stockings, and the children were obliged to go to school.

        With the increase of the activities and of the efforts, the collaborators of Virginia declined, particularly the women of the middle and upper class, who had feared to compromise their reputation in dealing with the corrupt people with a guide such as noble and a saint. 

        Abandoned by the Auxiliaries and by the Protectors of the Institute, for which the government deprived of its power, Virginia, while her physical health was weakening, took the position and became responsible for the sisters in Carignano’s House. Thus, regaining force in solitude.

        On March 25, 1637, she desired that the Republic would choose the Blessed Virgin as their Protectress. She pleaded to the Archbishop of the town, the institution of the “forty hours devotion”, which should start in Genoa at the end of 1642, and the preaching of the common missions (1643). She intervened to settle the common and bloody rivalries, which rose up, for petty reasons, between the noble families and the knights. In 1647, she achieved the reconciliation between the Archbishop See and the Government of the Republic, caused of their conflict in relation to the prestiges’ matter.

        Without losing sight to the most desolated, she offered her free time to everybody, independently from the social class, who turned towards her for helped.

        Gratified by the Lord with exultations, visions, interior locutions and other mystical gifts, she died on December 15, 1651 at the age of 64.

        She was beatified on 22 September 1985 and canonized on 18  May 2003 by Pope John Paul II.

© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2014

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Monday of the Third week of Advent

15 December 2014

Saints of the day

St. Mesmin († 520)

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SAINT MESMIN
(† 520)

        St. Mesmin was a native of Verdun. The inhabitants of that place having proved disloyal to King Clovis, an uncle of our Saint’s, a priest named Euspice, brought about a reconciliation between the monarch and his subjects. Clovis, appreciating the virtues of Euspice, persuaded him to take up his residence at court, and the servant of God took St. Mesmin along with him.

        While journeying to Orleans with Clovis he noticed at about two leagues from the city, beyond the Loire, a solitary spot called Micy, which he thought well suited for a retreat. Having asked for and obtained the place, he with Mesmin and several disciples built there a monastery, of which he took charge.

        At his death, which happened about two years after, our Saint was appointed abbot by Eusebius, Bishop of Orleans. During a terrible famine he fed nearly the whole city of Orleans with wheat from his monastery, without perceptibly reducing it; he also drove an enormous serpent out of the place in which he was afterwards buried.

        Having governed his monastery ten years, he died as he had lived, in the odor of sanctity, on the 15th of December, 520.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2014

 

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