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Saturday, December 17th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 1:1-17.


Lectures for December 17th

17 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David,

the son of Abraham.

book of history wjpas0154

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 1:1-17.

The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.
After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

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Lectures for December 17th

17 December 2016

The Great O Antiphons :

  “O Sapientia”

the_poissy_antiphonal_folio_30v

The Great O Antiphons
December 17: “O Sapientia”

These Great “O Antiphons” at the Magnificat were first used by the Church in the 8th and 9th centuries.

They are said in order, based on various titles for the Christ and are scripturally-based short prayers for the 17th to the 23rd of December.

In these “O Antiphons” the Church expresses her deep longing for the coming of the Messiah.

Christ, Wisdom and Creator of the world
(See Proverbs 1:20; 8; 9 and I Corinthians 1:30)

O Sapientia,

quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,

attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,

suaviterque disponens omnia:

veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom,

who proceeds from the mouth of the Most High,

reaching out mightily from end to end,

and sweetly arranging all things:

come to teach us the way of prudence.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

__________________________________

Lectures for December 17th

17 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Josep Manyanet y Vives,

Priest and Founder († 1901)

beato_jose_giuseppe_manyanet_y_vives_f

Saint Josep Manyanet y Vives
Priest and Founder
(1833-1901)

        Josep Manyanet was born within a large and Christian family on January 7, 1833 in Northeastern Spain, in the city of Tremp, province of Lleida. He was baptized on the same day at his parish Church of our Lady of Valldeflors, patroness of the city. At a very early age, when he was five years old, he was offered to our Lady by his mother. He had to work to complete his schooling with the Piarist Fathers in Barbastro and at the Seminaries of Lleida and Urgell. He was ordained priest on April 9, 1859.

        After twelve years of hard work in the Diocese of Urgell at the service of his bishop as private secretary, librarian of the seminary, administrator of the chancery and secretary for pastoral Visitations, he felt God’s call to become a religious priest and to found two religious congregations.

Founder and Apostle of the Holy Family

        With the approval of his bishop, he founded, in 1864, the religious congregations of theSons of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph and, in 1874, the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth with the mission to honor, imitate and propagate the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Christian formation of families, especially through the catholic education of children and youth and through priestly ministry.

        With constant work and prayer, with and exemplary life full of virtues, with loving dedication and solicitude for the souls, he guided and encouraged for almost forty years, the formation and expansion of his Institutes, opening schools and centers of ministry in several towns in Spain. Today both Institutes are present in several European countries, in North and South America and in Africa as well.

        Specially called by God to present to the world the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, he wrote several books and booklets to spread the devotion of the Holy Family. He founded the magazine La Sagrada Familia and promoted the idea of the construction of a Temple dedicated to the Holy Family. The Temple, as yet unfinished in Barcelona, was built by the architectural genius and Servant of God Antonio Gaudí, destined to perpetuate the virtues and examples of the Family of Nazareth and to be the universal spiritual home of all families.

His Train of Thought

        Saint Josep Manyanet endeavored to spread the Gospel, both through his preaching and his writings. He wrote many letters, books and booklets for the formation of the members of his religious Institutes, for families and children and for the management of schools. One of the highlights is theSchool of Nazareth and Home of the Holy Family (Barcelona 1895), his spiritual autobiography in which through the dialogues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, with a literary character called Desideria, describes a process of Christian and religious perfection inspired in the spirituality of the home and school of Nazareth.

        His book A Priceless Family Gem (Barcelona 1899) is a guide for marriages and families, which reminds them of the dignity of the sacrament of marriage as a vocation and the important task of the Christian education of their children.

        The spirit of the Holy Family is a book of meditations dedicated to the members of his religious Institutes, where he describes their vocation, identity and mission within the society and the church. There is an edition of his Selected Works (Madrid 1991). A forthcoming edition of his Complete Works will enrich those already published. The first volume is already on the way.

Illnesses and Death

His many endeavors were not free of difficulties. He also had to endure physical illnesses along his life, but his constancy and fortitude, nourished by his humble obedience to the will of God, helped him to overcome all of them.

        Because of his poor health, due to open sores on his side, which he labelledGod’s mercies for 16 long years, on the 17th of December of 1901, full of virtues and good deeds, was called by God to his eternal home, in his school “Jesús, María y José” of Barcelona, central place of his work, surrounded by children, with the same simplicity that characterized all his life. His last words were his fervent prayer Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.

His remains are kept in a burial chapel at the same school were he died, accompanied by the prayer and gratitude of his religious sons and daughters as well as the numerous youth, children and families that, because of his example, live their lives close to God and to his teachings.

Witness to Holiness

        His saintly life impressed many people who came in contact with him. The Process of Canonization was formally introduced in 1956. Once the practice of all virtues in a heroic grade was officially recognized by the church in 1982 and proof of a healing miracle attributed to his intercession, Pope John Paul II declared him blessed in 1984 and with the approval of another miracle through his intercession, he was canonized in Rome, on May 16, 2004.

Pope John Paul II has stated that the sanctity demonstrated by Josep Manyanet stems from the Holy Family. He was called by God, so that “in his name every family on earth may be blessed”. The Holy spirit guided him to boldly proclaim the “Gospel of the family”. His inspiration was that “all families may imitate and bless the Holy Family of Nazareth”. That is: “to build a Nazareth in every home”, and to make of every family a “Holy Family”.

        His canonization brings forth the truth of his sanctity and the unending value of his message from Nazareth. That makes him a Prophet of the family and the protector of our families.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vatican

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Lectures for December 17th

17 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Olympias,

Widow († c. 410)

sant_olimpia_a

SAINT OLYMPIAS
Widow
(† c. 410)

        St. Olympias, the glory of the widows in the Eastern Church, was of a noble and wealthy family. Left an orphan at a tender age, she was brought up by Theodosia, sister of St. Amphilochius, a virtuous and prudent woman. Olympias insensibly reflected the virtues of this estimable woman.

        She married quite young, but her husband dying within twenty days of their wedding, she modestly declined any further offer for her hand, and resolved to consecrate her life to prayer and other good works, and to devote her fortune to the poor.

  Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, had a high esteem for the saintly widow, and made her a deaconess of his church, the duties of which were to prepare the altar linen and to attend to other matters of that sort.

        St. Chrysostom, who succeeded Nectarius, had no less respect than his predecessor for Olympias, but refused to attend to the distribution of her alms. Our Saint was one of the last to leave St. Chrysostom when he went into banishment on the 20th of June, 404.

        After his departure she suffered great persecution, and crowned a virtuous life by a saintly death, about the year 410.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

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Friday, December 16th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St John 5:33-36.


Friday of the Third week of Advent

16 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.

native stdas0093

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 5:33-36.

Jesus said to the Jews: “You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept testimony from a human being, 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.”

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Friday of the Third week of Advent

16 December 2016

Saint of the day

St. Eusebius,

Bishop († c. 371)

sant_eusebio_di_vercelli

SAINT EUSEBIUS
Bishop

(† c. 371)

        St. Eusebius was born of a noble family, in the island of Sardinia, where his father is said to have died in prison for the Faith. The Saint’s mother carried him and his sister, both infants, to Rome. Eusebius having been ordained, served the Church of Vercelli with such zeal that on the episcopal chair becoming vacant he was unanimously chosen, by both clergy and people, to fill it.

The holy bishop saw that the best and first means to labor effectually for the edification and sanctification of his people was to have a zealous clergy. He was at the same time very careful to instruct his flock, and inspire them with the maxims of the Gospel. The force of the truth which he preached, together with his example, brought many sinners to a change of life.

        He courageously fought against the heretics, who had him banished to Scythopolis, end thence to Upper Thebais in Egypt, where he suffered so grievously as to win, in some of the panegyrics in his praise, the title of martyr.

        He died in the latter part of the year 371.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Matthew 28:20.

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“This is my commandment:

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BE MERCIFUL, O LORD,

FOR WE HAVE SINNED.

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Thursday, December 15th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 7:24-30.


Thursday of the Third week of Advent

15 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

he will prepare your way before you.’

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Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 7:24-30.

When the messengers of John the Baptist had left, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. “What did you go out to the desert to see–a reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine garments? Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces.
Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom scripture says: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.’
I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
(All the people who listened, including the tax collectors, and who were baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledged the righteousness of God;
but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him, rejected the plan of God for themselves.)

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Thursday of the Third week of Advent

15 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli

(1587-1651)

santa_virginia_centurione_bracelli_a

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 2001-2016

______________________________________

Thursday of the Third week of Advent

15 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Mesmin († 520)

SAINT MESMIN
(† 520)

Image: N/A

        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.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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“I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20.

***********************************************

“This is my commandment:

love one another as I love you.”

###########################

BE MERCIFUL, O LORD,

FOR WE HAVE SINNED.

###########################

 


Wednesday, December 14th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 7:19-23.


Wednesday of the Third week of Advent

14 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

That time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings,

and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind.

LEPERSpppas0118

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 7:19-23.

At that time John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
When the men came to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?'”
At that time he cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind.
And he said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

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Wednesday of the Third week of Advent

14 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. John of the Cross,

Doctor of the Church (1542-1591)

san_giovanni_della_croce_f

SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS
Doctor of the Church
(1542-1591)

        The father of St. John was discarded by his kindred for marrying a poor orphan, and the Saint, thus born and nurtured in poverty, chose it also for his portion. Unable to learn a trade, he became the servant of the poor in the hospital of Medina, while still pursuing his sacred studies.

        In 1563, being then twenty-one, he humbly offered himself as a lay-brother to the Carmelite friars, who, however, knowing his talents, had him ordained priest. He would now have exchanged to the severe Carthusian Order, had not St. Teresa, with the instinct of a Saint, persuaded him to remain and help her in the reform of his own Order. Thus he became the first prior of the Barefooted Carmelites.

        His reform, though approved by the general, was rejected by the elder friars, who condemned the Saint as a fugitive and apostate, and cast him into prison, whence he only escaped, after nine months’ suffering, at the risk of his life.

        Twice again, before his death, he was shamefully persecuted by his brethren, and publicly disgraced. But his complete abandonment by creatures only deepened his interior peace and devout longing for heaven.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

____________________________________

Wednesday of the Third week of Advent

14 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Nicasius,

Bishop, and his Companions,

Martyrs (5th century)

Image: n/a

SAINT NICASIUS
Archbishop
and his Companions
Martyrs
(5th century)

        In the fifth century an army of barbarians from Germany ravaging part of Gaul, plundered the city of Rheims. Nicasius, the holy bishop, had foretold this calamity to his flock.

        When he saw the enemy at the gates and in the streets, forgetting himself, and solicitous only for his spiritual children, he went from door to door encouraging all to patience and constancy, and awaking in every breast the most heroic sentiments of piety and religion. In endeavoring to save the lives of his flock he exposed himself to the swords of the infidels, who, after a thousand insults and indignities, cut off his head.

        Florens, his deacon, and Jocond, his lector, were massacred by his side. His sister Eutropia, a virtuous virgin, fearing she might be reserved for a fate worse than death, boldly cried out to the infidels that it was her unalterable resolution rather to sacrifice her life than her faith or her integrity and virtue. Upon which they despatched her with their cutlasses.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Matthew 28:20.

***********************************************

“This is my commandment:

love one another as I love you.”

###########################

BE MERCIFUL, O LORD,

FOR WE HAVE SINNED.

###########################

 


Tuesday, December 13th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 21:28-32.


Tuesday of the Third week of Advent

13 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

“When John came to you in the way of righteousness,

you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did.”

jesus-taught-untitled

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 21:28-32.

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

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Tuesday of the Third week of Advent

13 December 2016

Saint of the day

St. Lucy,

Virgin and Martyr († c. 304)

santa_lucia_am

SAINT LUCY
Virgin and Martyr
(† c. 304)

        The mother of St. Lucy suffered four years from an issue of blood, and the help of man failed. St. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel had been healed of the same disorder. “St. Agatha,” she said, “stands ever in the sight of Him for whom she died. Only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed.” They spent the night praying by the tomb, till, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. St. Agatha appeared in vision to St. Lucy, and calling her sister, foretold her mother’s recovery and her own martyrdom. That instant the cure was affected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and consecrate her virginity to Christ.

        A young man to whom she had been promised in marriage accused her as a Christian to the heathen; but our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin whom He had chosen for His own. The fire kindled around her did her no hurt. Then the sword was plunged into her heart, and the promise made at the tomb of St. Agatha was fulfilled.

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Monday, December 12th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 21:23-27.


Our Lady of Guadalupe – Feast

12 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“By what authority are you doing these things?

And who gave you this authority?”

Jesus with authority stdas0149

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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Our Lady of Guadalupe – Feast

12 December 2016

In America:

Our Lady of Guadalupe – Feast

 

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Readings for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to LK 1:39-47

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

__________________________

Holy Mary, who under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe are invoked as Mother by the men and women of Mexico and of Latin America, encouraged by the love that you inspire in us, we once again place our life in your motherly hands. May you, who are present in these Vatican Gardens, hold sway in the hearts of all the mothers of the world and in our own heart. With great hope, we turn to you and trust in you.

 

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Pray for us.

 

(Prayer of his holiness Benedict XVI before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Wednesday, 11 May 2005)

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Our Lady of Guadalupe – Feast

12 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Valery,

Abbot (565-622)

san_valerico_b

SAINT VALERY
Abbot
(565-622)

        This Saint was born at Auvergne, in the sixth century, and in his childhood kept his father’s sheep. He was yet young when he took the monastic habit in the neighboring monastery of St. Antony.

        Seeking the most perfect means of advancing in the paths of all virtues, he passed from this house to the more austere monastery of St. Germanus of Auxerre, and finally to that of Luxeuil, where he spent many years.

        He travelled into Neustria, where he converted many infidels, and assembled certain fervent disciples, and laid the foundation of a monastery.

        Saint Valery went to receive the recompense of his happy perseverance on the 12th of December in 622.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

___________________________________

Our Lady of Guadalupe – Feast

12 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Finian,

Bishop († c. 549)

san_finniano_di_clonard

SAINT FINIAN
Bishop
(† c. 549)

        St. Finian was a native of Leinster, was instructed in the elements of Christian virtue by the disciples of St. Patrick, and passed over into Wales; but about the year 520 he returned into Ireland. To propagate the work of God, our Saint established several monasteries and schools.

        St. Finian was chosen and consecrated Bishop of Clonard. In the love of his flock and his zeal for their salvation he was infirm with the infirm, and wept with those that wept. He healed the souls, and often also the bodies, of those that applied to him.

        He departed to Our Lord about 549.

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Sunday, December 11th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 11:2-11.


Third Sunday of Advent

11 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

stdas0579 KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 11:2-11.

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus
with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’
Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

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Third Sunday of Advent

11 December 2016

Commentary of the day

Saint Cyril of Alexandria (380-444),

Bishop, Doctor of the Church
First Christological Dialogue, 706

“The blind regain their sight (…), the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them”

“The one who is coming after me is mightier than I. (…) He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3,11). Are we to say that the ability to baptize in fire and the Holy Spirit is the work of a nature similar to ours? How can that be? And yet, talking about a man who has still not presented himself, John declares that this one will baptize “in fire and the Holy Spirit”: not as any other servant would do by blowing into the baptized a spirit that is not his own, but like someone who is God by nature, who gives with sovereign power what comes from him and what is particular to him. It is thanks to this that the divine seal is stamped within us.

In fact, in Jesus Christ we are transformed in his divine image, not because our body is molded once again but because we receive the Holy Spirit and earn possession of Christ himself, to the point of being able to cry out our joy forever: “My heart exults in the Lord…because he clothed me with salvation and jubilation” (1Sm 2,1). The apostle Paul in fact says: “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal 3,27).

Therefore, is it into a man that we have been baptized? Silence, you who are only a man; do you want to turn down our hopes? We have been baptized into a God who became man; he frees all those who believe in him from sorrow and from sin. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. (…) You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2,38). He delivers those who cling to him…; he binds his own nature to ours…The Spirit belongs exclusively to the Son, who became man, a man similar to us. For he himself is the life of everything that exists.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

_____________________________________

Third Sunday of Advent

11 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Damasus I,

Pope († 384)

san_damaso_i_b

SAINT DAMASUS I
Pope
(† 384)

        St. Damasus was born at Rome at the beginning of the fourth century. He was archdeacon of the Roman Church in 355, when Pope Liberius was banished to Berda, and followed him into exile, but afterward returned to Rome. On the death of Liberius our Saint was chosen to succeed him. Ursinus, a competitor for the high office, incited a revolt, but the holy Pope took only such action as was becoming to the common father of the faithful.

Having freed the Church of this new schism, he turned his attention to the extirpation of Arianism in the West and of Apollinarianism in the East, and for this purpose he convened several councils. He rebuilt the church of St. Laurence, which to this day is known as St. Laurence in Damaso; he made many valuable presents to this church, and settled upon it houses and lands in its vicinity. He likewise drained all the springs of the Vatican, which ran over the bodies that were buried there, and decorated the sepulchres of a great number of martyrs in the cemeteries, and adorned them with epitaphs in verse.

        Having sat eighteen years and two months, he died on the 10th of December, in 384, being near fourscore years of age.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

____________________________________

Third Sunday of Advent

11 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. María Maravillas de Jesús

(1891-1974)

santa_maria_maravillas_de_jesus_b

SAINT MARÍA MARAVILLAS DE JESÚS
(Pidal y Chico de Guzmán)
Professed Nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites
(1891-1974)

        María de las Maravillas was born in Madrid, Spain, on 4 November 1891, the daughter of Luis Pidal y Mon, the Marquis of Pidal, and Cristina Chico de Guzmán y Muñoz. At the time her father was the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See, and she grew up in a devout Catholic family.

María made a vow of chastity at the age of five and devoted herself to charitable work. After coming into contact with the writings of St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Jesus, she felt called to become a Discalced Carmelite. Her father, whom she had faithfully assisted when he became ill, died in 1913, and her mother was reluctant  to  accept  her  daughter’s decision to enter the Carmelite monastery.

        However, on 12 October 1919, María did enter the Discalced Carmelites of El Escorial in Madrid. She made her simple vows on 7 May 1921.

        Before her final profession on 30 May 1924, Sr María had already received a special call from God to found the Carmel of Cerro de los Ángeles, and the foundation was inaugurated on 31 October 1926 with three other Carmelites. This was the first of the series of Teresian Carmelite Monasteries that she would establish, according to the Rule and Constitutions of the Discalced Carmelites. María was not being called to found a new order or to “branch off” from the Discalced Carmelites – she herself was very careful in pointing this out; she only sought to live deeply and to transmit the spirit and ideals of St Teresa of Jesus and St John of the Cross.

        On 28 June 1926, the Bishop of the Diocese  of  Madrid-Alcalá  appointed her prioress of the new monastery. In 1933 she established another foundation in Kottayam, India, and from this Carmel other foundations were started in India.

        Her role as prioress would be permanent in the various monasteries she founded throughout her life, notwithstanding the natural aversion and sense of inadequacy she felt in accepting positions of responsibility. María’s spirit of obedience and love for the Church and for her Carmelite sisters, however, gave her the strength and diligence to carry out this duty with love.

        Mother Maravillas was often criticized for the poverty of the convents she founded; charges were made that they were “not solid”, small in size and unfurnished, with bare walls on which hung chosen Bible verses or writings of the Carmelite saints. She would reply, however, that “it is not our concern to plant a seed, since the Discalced Carmelites have already been founded. Even if our convents collapse, nothing will happen”.

        During the Spanish Civil War, the nuns of Cerro de los Ángeles lived in an apartment in Madrid. In September 1937 another Carmel in the Batuecas, Salamanca, was founded. In 1939 the monastery  of  Cerro  de  los  Ángeles was restored. Even amid enormous deprivation, Mother Maravillas instilled courage and happiness, always being an admirable example to her daughters.

        But she also remained a mystery even to the nuns closest to her, since only her spiritual directors knew the “dark night of the soul” that she lived throughout her life, which kept her in profound spiritual aridity and trials, and made total faith and abandonment to the will of God her guide.

        In the following years, foundations were established in other parts of Spain. Mother Maravillas also restored and sent nuns to her original Carmel of El Escorial and to the venerable monastery of the Incarnation in Avila.

        In order to unite the monasteries founded  by  her  and  others  that  had the same finality, she founded  the Association of St Teresa, which received official approval from the Holy See in 1972.

        On 8 December 1974, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Mother Maravillas was anointed and received Holy Communion. On 11 December, surrounded by her community in the Carmel of La Aldehuela, Madrid, she died. At  the  time  of  her  death, her sisters report that Mother Maravillas kept repeating the phrase:  “What happiness to die a Carmelite!”.

        She was beatified on 10 May 1998 and canonized on 4 May 2003 by Pope John Paul II.

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Third Sunday of Advent

11 December 2016

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Saturday, December 10th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 17:10-13.


Saturday of the Second week of Advent

10 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

Then the disciples understood that

he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

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Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 17:10-13.

As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

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Saturday of the Second week of Advent

10 December 2016

Commentary of the day

Saint Romanos Melodios (?-c 560),

Composer of hymns
Hymn on the prophet Elijah

“How awesome are you, Elijah!… You were taken aloft in a whirlwind…You are destined… in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord.” (Sir 48:4.9f.)

Confronted with human perversity, Elijah considered making the punishment even harsher. Upon seeing this, the Merciful One told the prophet: “I know your zeal for good (1 Kings 19:14), I know your good will, but I have compassion on sinners when they are punished beyond measure. You are angry because you are without reproach; can you not resign yourself? As for me,  I cannot resign myself to even one single person being lost (Mt 18:14), for I am the only friend of humankind.” (Wis 1:6)

In what followed, the Master, seeing how short-tempered the prophet was with respect to human beings, was concerned about them. He removed Elijah from the earth where they live saying: “Distance yourself from where human beings dwell. I in my mercy will go down to them by becoming man. So leave the earth and come on up, since you cannot tolerate people’s faults. But I, who am from heaven, I will dwell among sinners and save them from their faults, I, the only friend of humankind.

“If you cannot live with guilty human beings, come here, live in the domain of my friends where there is no more sin. I will go down, for I can put the lost sheep on my shoulders and bring it back (Lk 15:5), and I can cry to those who labor: Come quickly, all you sinners, come to me and rest (Mt 11:28). For I have not come to punish those whom I created, but to tear the sinners away from ungodliness, I, the only friend of humankind.”

Thus, when Elijah was lifted up to the heavens (2 Kings 2:11), he was perceived as the person for the future. This Tishbite (1 Kings 17:1) was lifted up in a chariot of fire; Christ was lifted up among the clouds and the powers (Acts 1:9). The former dropped his cloak to Elisha from the heights of heaven (2 Kings 2:13); Christ sent to his apostles the Holy Spirit, the Advocate (Jn 15:26), whom we, the baptized, all received and by whom we are sanctified, as the only friend of humankind teaches.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

_________________________________________

Saturday of the Second week of Advent

10 December 2016

Saint of the day

St. Eulalia,

Virgin and Martyr († 304)

sant_eulalia_e

SAINT EULALIA
Virgin and Martyr
(† 304)

        St. Eulalia was a native of Merida, in Spain. She was but twelve years old when the bloody edicts of Diocletian were issued. Eulalia presented herself before the cruel judge Dacianus, and reproached him for attempting to destroy souls by compelling them to renounce the only true God.

        The governor commanded her to be seized, and at first tried to win her over by flattery, but failing in this, he had recourse to threats, and caused the most dreadful instruments of torture to be placed before her eyes, saying to her: “All this you shall escape if you will but touch a little salt and frankincense with the tip of your finger.” Provoked at these seducing flatteries, our Saint threw down the idol, and trampled upon the cake which was laid for the sacrifice. At the judge’s order, two executioners tore her tender sides with iron hooks, so as to leave the very bones bare. Next lighted torches were applied to her breasts and sides; under which torment, instead of groans, nothing was heard from her mouth but thanksgivings. The fire at length catching her hair, surrounded her head and face, and the Saint was stifled by the smoke and flame.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

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BE MERCIFUL, O LORD,

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Friday, December 9th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 11:16-19.


Friday of the Second week of Advent

9 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,

we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’

1 PIPE stdas0688

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 11:16-19.

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

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Friday of the Second week of Advent

9 December 2016

Saint Maximus of Turin (?-c.420),

Bishop
Sermon CC 61a; PL 57, 233

Answering God’s call to repent from the depths of our hearts

Even without my needing to speak to you about it, my brethren, the season is enough to tell us that the anniversary of the Nativity of Christ our Lord draws near. Creation itself is expressing the imminence of an event that will restore everything for the better. It, too, looks forward to seeing its darkness illumined by a ray of sun even more bright than usual. This expectancy in creation of a renewal of its annual cycle invites us to wait for the birth of the new sun that is Christ, who lights up the darkness of our sins. The sun of justice (Mal 3,20), which is about to appear in all its strength, will cast out the darkness of our sins, already too long in continuance. He will not allow the course of our life to be stifled by the shadows of existence; he wants to expand it by his power.

So, just as creation sheds its light more widely during this time of solstice, let us also manifest our justice. Just as the light of this day is the common good of both rich and poor, let our gifts be extended to travellers and to the poor without reserve. At this time of the year the world holds back the duration of darkness; so let us, too, withdraw the shadows of our avarice… May all the ice in our hearts melt away; may the seeds of justice grow, warmed by the Saviour’s rays.

Therefore, brethren, let us prepare ourselves to welcome the day of the Lord’s birth by clothing ourselves in garments of shining whiteness. I am referring to those that clothe the soul, not the body. The garment that clothes our body is only a tunic of no value. But it is the body, that precious object, which clothes the soul. The former is woven by human hands; the latter is the work of the hands of God. This is why we must attend with the greatest care to preserving God’s work from any spot… Let us purify our consciences from all their stains before the Nativity of the Lord. Let us come before him, not clothed in silk, but rather in works of merit… Let us begin, then, by decorating our interior sanctuary.a

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

_____________________________________

Friday of the Second week of Advent

9 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

(1474-1548)

san_juan_diego_cuauhtlatoatzin_adSaint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
(1474-1548)

        Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaelogical and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, “El Nican Mopohua” (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions.

        Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name “Cuauhtlatoatzin” (“the talking eagle”) in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.

        When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as “proof”. When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.

        With the Bishop’s permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.

        Much deeper than the “exterior grace” of having been “chosen” as Our Lady’s “messenger”, Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbour. He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on 6 May 1990 by Pope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City and canonized on 31 July 2002.

        The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be “born” again among the peoples of the New World, and is a message as relevant to the “New World” today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Friday of the Second week of Advent

9 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Leocadia,

Virgin and Martyr († c. 304)

SAINT LEOCADIA
Virgin and Martyr
(† c. 304)

Image: N/A

        St. Leocadia was a native of Toledo, and was apprehended by an order of Dacian, the cruel governor under Diocletian in 304. Hearing of the martyrdom of St. Eulalia, she prayed that God would not prolong her exile, but unite her speedily with her holy friend in his glory. Her prayer was heard, and she happily expired in prison.

        Three famous churches in Toledo bear her name, and she is honored as principal patroness of that city. In one of those churches most of the councils of Toledo were held. Her relics were kept in that church with great respect, till, in the incursions of the Moors, they were conveyed to Oviedo, and some years afterward to the abbey of St. Guislain, near Mons in Hainault. They were finally carried back to Toledo with great pomp, and placed in the great church there on the 26th of April, 1589.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

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Thursday, December 8th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 1:26-38.


Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – Solemnity

8 December 2016

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

330px-Paolo_de_Matteis_-_The_Annunciation AAA

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:26-38.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine,USCCB

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

Image: From Bible Hub

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Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – Solemnity

8 December 2016

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Solemnity

botticelli_vierge

Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Solemnity)

        The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the solemn belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is universally celebrated on December 8, nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on September 8. A feast called the Conception of Mary arose in the Eastern Church in the seventh century. It came to the West in the eighth century. In the 11th century it received its present name, the Immaculate Conception. In the 18th century it became a feast of the universal Church. It is now recognized as a solemnity.

In 1854, Pius IX solemnly proclaimed: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.”

It took a long time for this doctrine to develop. While many Fathers and Doctors of the Church considered Mary the greatest and holiest of the saints, they often had difficulty in seeing Mary as sinless—either at her conception or throughout her life.  Two Franciscans, William of Ware and Blessed John Duns Scotus, helped develop the theology. They pointed out that Mary’s Immaculate Conception enhances Jesus’ redemptive work. Other members of the human race are cleansed from original sin after birth. In Mary, Jesus’ work was so powerful as to prevent original sin at the outset. In Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel, speaking on God’s behalf, addresses Mary as “full of grace” (or “highly favored”). In that context this phrase means that Mary is receiving all the special divine help necessary for the task ahead. However, the Church grows in understanding with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led the Church, especially non-theologians, to the insight that Mary had to be the most perfect work of God next to the Incarnation. Or rather, Mary’s intimate association with the Incarnation called for the special involvement of God in Mary’s whole life. The logic of piety helped God’s people to believe that Mary was full of grace and free of sin from the first moment of her existence. Moreover, this great privilege of Mary is the highlight of all that God has done in Jesus. Rightly understood, the incomparable holiness of Mary shows forth the incomparable goodness of God.

“It is no wonder, then, that the usage prevailed among the holy Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, fashioned by the Holy Spirit into a kind of new substance and new creature. Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the splendors of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is, on God’s command, greeted by an angel messenger as ‘full of grace’ (cf. Luke 1:28). To the heavenly messenger she replies: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word’ (Luke 1:38)” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 56).

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – Solemnity

8 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán

(1832-1869)

beata_narcisa_di_gesu_martillo_y_moranSaint Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán
(1832-1869)

        Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán was born in 1832 in the hamlet of St Joseph in Nobol, Daule, Ecuador. The Dominicans had been looking after the parish for almost three hundred years. She was the daughter of Peter Martillo and Josephine Morán, landowners, modest people with a deep faith. Her father, who had a lively intelligence and was a great worker, amassed considerable wealth.

        He was very devoted to the future saint Marianna of Jesus and Saint Hyacinth of Poland who is venerated fervently throughout the province of Guayas. They had nine children, who grew healthy and strong. Narcisa was the sixth. In 1838, when she was six, her mother died. Helped by a teacher and an older sister she learnt to read, write, sing, play the guitar, sew (a skill she really mastered), weave, embroider and cook. She had great qualities, with a particular bent for music. Often, her prayer became song, and her song was intimate and devout, reaching the heart of Him who well deserved it, as a song which she loved to sing in her youth said.

        She had a clear perception of her call to sanctity, especially from when she received confirmation, aged seven, on 16th September 1839. She grew into the habit of withdrawing frequently in a small wood near her home to give herself freely to the contemplation of divine realities. The tree of Guayabo, near which she prayed, is today the destination for large pilgrimages. She turned a small room in her house into a domestic chapel. She decided to imitate Saint Marianna of Jesus, identifying with the vocation of a victim. She undertook a demanding path of penance to unite herself more closely with the suffering Christ and cooperate in the redemption of the world. She helped with the domestic chores and out in the fields. She was a young, thoughtful, lovable, happy girl with a sweet and peaceful character, extremely good and obedient, generous, compassionate towards the poor, very devout, loved by all the neighbours. She was a very attractive young woman, blonde with blue eyes, tall, strong and agile. She showed herself to be an excellent catechist. She could not do without communicating the fire of divine love to her family and to the children of the neighbourhood.

       In January 1852 her father, a good man, died. Narcisa, who was then 19, moved to Guayaquil to stay with a very well-known family who lived near the cathedral. She stayed in this city until 1868, except for those months she lived in the city of Cuenca. She moved house a number of times to preserve her privacy and to dedicate herself with greater freedom to prayer and penance, earning her living by doing tailoring work. She helped the poor and the sick. She was docile to the instructions of her spiritual directors and shared ideals, and sometimes a house, with the Blessed Mercedes of Jesus Molina. Driven by a desire for greater perfection, and advised by a Franciscan religious, she set off in June 1868 for Lima (Perù) and lived as a lay member in the Dominican convent of Patrocinio, founded in 1688, in the area where Saint John Macias used to graze his flock. The Lord favoured her with extraordinary gifts, and showed her how pleasing her life was, in the midst of trials of the spirit.

        Towards the end of September 1869, she had high fevers. Medical remedies could do little, but she kept up her normal rhythm of life, ending with a novena and the celebration of the Eucharist, with great joy, dressed in white, on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, 8th December 1869, the same day on which Blessed Pius IX opened in Rome Vatican Council I. At the end of the day she took leave of the sisters, saying she was going on a journey very far.

        This was taken as a joke, but not long after, one of the sisters, charged with blessing the cells, noticed a splendour and a special scent in Narcisa’s cell. The community gathered and they saw that she was dead. She was 37 years old.

        Afterwards, it became known that she had made a private vow of perpetual virginity, poverty, obedience, enclosure, eremitical life, fasting on bread and water, daily Communion, confession, mortification and prayer. All these vows she kept faithfully. She lived in continuous union with Jesus Christ. Her mortifications were very severe. She carried constantly on her body the signs of the Lord’s crucifixion. She had a firm faith and admirable hope. The doctors were amazed that she could have lived so long with so little food. Her body remained supple for a long time and from it came a pleasant scent, and in front of it many graces were granted. The city of Lima acclaimed her as a saint, as did the people of Guayaquil and Nobol. The Dominican Sisters of Patrocinio guarded the memory of her virtues and her tomb with great veneration until her body, practically incorrupt, was transferred to Guayaquil in 1955. The documents of the diocesan process of canonization were handed over to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 1964. Pope John Paul II beatified her on 25th October 1992 and Pope Benedict XVI canonized her on 12th October 2008. On 22nd August 1998 they dedicated a shrine in her honour in Nobol, where her incorrupt body is at present. Devotion to the “Niña Narcisa” shows the spontaneous identification of ordinary people with this woman from the Ecuadorian coast. The example of her life, pure and pious, of work and apostolate, sends out a very topical message.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2016

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Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – Solemnity

8 December 2016

Saints of the day

St. Patapius,

Hermit

san_patario-patapio-aSaint Patapius
Hermit

        At Constantinople, St. Patapius, solitary, renowned for virtues and miracles.

The Roman Martyrology

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Matthew 28:20.

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“This is my commandment:

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###########################

BE MERCIFUL, O LORD,

FOR WE HAVE SINNED.

###########################