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CHRISTMAS

Tuesday, February 6th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 7:1-13.


Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

The Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow

the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 7:1-13.

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;
In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’
Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘ (meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017
Image: From Bible Hub
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

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Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2018

Commentary of the day

Saint Augustine (354-430),

Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

Discourses on the Psalms, Ps 99, §5

“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”

Who created everything? Who created you yourself? What are all these creatures? What are you? And how are we to say who he is who created all this? To speak it your thought must conceive it…: so let your thought move towards him, draw close to him. If you want a close look at something, you draw close to it… But God is not discerned except by the mind, he is not grasped except by the heart. And where is this heart with which one can see God? «Happy the pure in heart, they shall see God» (Mt 5:8)…

In one of the Psalms we read: “Come close to him and you will be enlightened” (Ps 34[33]:6 Vg). To come close so as to be enlightened you must hate the darkness… You are a sinner, you must become righteous. But you won’t be able to receive righteousness if evil still gives you pleasure. Destroy it within your heart and cleanse it; cast sin from your heart where He whom you desire to see desires to dwell. The human soul, our “inner self” (Eph 3:16), draws as close to God as it can: that inner self recreated in God’s image which was created in God’s image (Gn 1:26) but fell away from God into unlikeness.

It is true that we don’t either draw nearer or fall away from God in space: you distance yourself from God if you no longer resemble him; if you come close to him then you do resemble him. Notice how our Lord wishes us to draw close to him: first of all he makes us like him so that we can be near him. He tells us: “Be like your heavenly Father for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good.” Therefore, love your enemies (Mt 5:45.44). To the extent that this love increases within you it will bring you back and reshape you in God’s likeness…; and the closer you come to this likeness by growing in love, the more you will begin to feel the presence of God. But who is it you are feeling? The One who is coming to you or the One to whom you are returning? He has never been far from you; it is you who fell away from him.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2018

Saints of the day

St. Paul Miki & his companions,

Martyrs

(+ 1597) –

Memorial

SAINTS PAUL MIKI & HIS COMPANIONS
Martyrs
(+ 1597)

        The initial growth of Christianity after Francis Xavier’s 1549 arrival in Japan led to opposition from Japanese leaders who feared that the introduction of Christianity was the first step in Spain’s effort to conquer their country, just as the Spanish had already conquered the Philippines. The Taiko Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan, banished all foreign ministers in 1587, but about fifteen Franciscans come to Japan from the Philippines in 1593. So, in 1596 Hideyoshi ordered the arrest of all missionaries. Police arrested six Franciscans, three Jesuits, fifteen Japanese tertiaries and two Japanese converts. They were condemned to be executed by crucifixion. They were tortured and crucified on 5 February 1597 at Tateyama (Hill of Wheat), Nagasaki.

        Among the Jesuits was Paul Miki, still a Jesuit scholastic [Jesuit in training]. He was born about 1565 in Japan. He entered the Society of Jesus and was a successful preacher. From the cross he preached to the people inviting them to conversion. Miki was also the first Japanese religious to be martyred.

        Finally soldiers pierced each prisoner’s chest with a lance. The hill on which they died became known as “Martyrs’ Hill.”

        They were all canonized as the Martyrs of Japan in 1862 by Pope Pius IX.

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“The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ.
I thank God it is for this reason that I die.
I believe that I am telling the truth before I die.
I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again:
Ask Christ to help you become happy. I obey Christ.
After Christ’s example, I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them.
I ask God to have pity on all,
and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2018

Saints of the day

St. Dorothy,

Virgin and Martyr

(+ 304)

SAINTE DOROTHY
Virgin and Martyr
(+ 304)

St. Dorothy was a young virgin, celebrated at Cæsarea, where she lived, for her angelic virtue. Her parents seem to have been martyred before her in the Diocletian persecution, and when the Governor Sapricius came to Cæsarea he called her before him, and sent this child of martyrs to the home where they were waiting for her.

        She was stretched upon the rack, and offered marriage if she would consent to sacrifice, or death if she refused. But she replied that “Christ was her only Spouse, and death her desire.” She was then placed in charge of two women who had fallen away from the faith, in the hope that they might pervert her; but the fire of her own heart rekindled the flame in theirs, and led them back to Christ. When she was set once more on the rack, Sapricius himself was amazed at the heavenly look she wore, and asked her the cause of her joy. “Because,” she said, “I have brought back two souls to Christ, and because I shall soon be in heaven rejoicing with the angels.” Her joy grew as she was buffeted in the face and her sides burned with plates of red-hot iron. “Blessed be Thou,” she cried, when she was sentenced to be beheaded,-“blessed be Thou, O Thou Lover of souls! Who dost call me to Paradise, and invitest me to Thy nuptial chamber.”

        St. Dorothy suffered in the dead of winter, and it is said that on the road to her passion a lawyer called Theophilus, who had been used to calumniate and persecute the Christians, asked her, in mockery, to send him “apples or roses from the garden of her Spouse.” The Saint promised to grant his request, and, just before she died, a little child stood by her side bearing three apples and three roses. She bade him take them to Theophilus and tell him this was the present which he sought from the garden of her Spouse. St. Dorothy had gone to heaven, and Theophilus was still making merry over his challenge to the Saint when the child entered his room. He saw that the child was an angel in disguise, and the fruit and flowers of no earthly growth. He was converted to the faith, and then shared in the martyrdom of St. Dorothy.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Tuesday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

6 February 2018

Saints of the day

Bl. Alfonso Maria Fusco,

(1839-1910)

Blessed Alfonso Maria Fusco
Priest
(1839-1910)

Alfonso Maria Fusco, the oldest of five childre, was born on March 23, 1839, in Angri, in the province of Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Sarno. His parents, Aniello Fusco and Josephine Schiavone, were both of peasant stock but were raised from their infancy with strong Christian principles and with a holy fear of God.

        They were married in the Collegiata of St. John the Baptist on January 31, 1834, and for four long years the cradle they had lovingly prepared remained painfully empty. In Pagani, only a short distance from Angri, the relics of St. Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori were preserved. It was to his tomb that Aniello and Josephine went in 1838 to pray. While they were there, the Redemptorist Francesco Saverio Pecorelli told them: “You will have a son; you will name him Alfonso; he will become a priest and will live the life of Blessed Alfonso”.

        The little boy quickly revealed a mild, gentle, lovable character, responsive to prayer and to the poor. His teachers in his father’s house were learned and holy priests who instructed him and prepared him for his first meeting with Jesus. When he was seven, he received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

        He told his parents when he was eleven that he wanted to become a priest, and on November 5, 1850, “freely and with the sole desire to serve God and the Church”, as he himself declared many years later, he entered the episcopal Seminary of Nocera dei Pagani. On May 29, 1863, he was ordained by the Archbishop of Salerno, Monsignor Anthony Salomone, amid the joy of his family and the enthusiasm of the people.

        Quickly he distinguished himself among the clergy of the Collegiata of St. John the Baptist in Angri for his zeal, his regular attendance at liturgical services and for his diligence in the administration of the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation where he revealed his paternal understanding of his penitents. He devoted himself to the evangelization of the people through his simple and incisive style of preaching.

        The daily life of Father Alfonso was that of a zealous priest, but he carried in his heart an old dream. In his last years at the seminary, one night he had dreamt that Jesus the Nazarene was calling him to found an institute of Sisters and an orphanage for boys and girls as soon as he was ordained.

        It was a meeting with Maddalena Caputo of Angri, a strong-willed woman aspiring to enter religious life, which impelled Father Alfonso to move more quickly in the foundation of the Institute. On September 25, 1878, Miss Caputo and three other young women met at night in the dilapidated Scarcella house in the Ardinghi district of Angri. The young women wanted to dedicate themselves to their own sanctification through a life of poverty, of union with God, and of charity in the care and instruction of poor orphans.

        The Congregation of the Baptistine Sisters of the Nazarene was thus begun; the seed had fallen into the good earth of the hearts of these four zealous and generous women. Privations, struggles, opposition, and trials were their lot, and the Lord made that seed grow abundantly. The Scarcella House was quickly named the Little House of Providence.

        Other postulants and the first orphans began to arrive, and with them the first problems. The Lord, who allows those whom He loves much to suffer much, did not spare the Founder and his daughters. Father Alfonso accepted these trials, at times very difficult ones, demonstrating an absolute conformity to the will of God, an heroic obedience to his superiors, and an unbounded trust in Divine Providence.

        The unjustified attempt by the Diocesan Bishop Saverio Vitagliano to remove Father Alfonso as director of the Institute based on false accusations; the refusal by his own daughters to open the door for him of the house on Via Germanico in Rome because of their desire for a division; the words of Cardinal Respighi, the Vicar of Rome: “You have founded this community of good sisters who are doing their best. Now withdraw!” were for him moments of great suffering. He was seen praying in anguish, like Jesus in the Garden, in the small chapel in the Mother House in Angri and in the church of St. Joachim in Rome.

        Father Alfonso did not leave many writings. He loved to speak with the witness of his life. The short statements, rich in evangelical wisdom, which we find in his writings, and the testimony of those who knew him are flashes which illuminate his simple life, his great love for the Eucharist and for the Passion of Jesus and his filial devotion to the Sorrowful Mother. He would often repeat to his Sisters: “Let us become saints, following Jesus closely… Daughters, if you live in poverty, in chastity and in obedience, you will shine like the stars up in the heavens”.

        He directed the Institute wisely and prudently. Like a loving father, he watched over the Sisters and the orphans. He showed an almost maternal tenderness for all, especially for the most needy of the orphans. For them there was always space in the Little House of Providence, even when there was a scarcity of food or absolutely nothing. Then Father Alfonso would reassure his worried daughters saying: “Don’t worry, my daughters. I am going to Jesus now and He will worry about us!” And Jesus answered quickly and with great generosity. To him who believes, everything is possible!

        At a time when an education was the privilege of the few, denied to the poor and to women, Father Alfonso did not mind sacrificing to give the children a peaceful life, an education and a trade for the older ones so that once they were grown up, they could live as honest citizens and as committed Christians. He wanted the Sisters to begin their studies as soon as possible so that they could teach the poor and, through their instruction and evangelization, prepare the way for Jesus especially in the hearts of the children and of youth.

        His tenacious will, totally anchored in Divine Providence, the wise and prudent collaboration of Maddalena Caputo, known as Sr. Crocifissa, who was the first superior of the growing Institute, the ongoing spur of the love of God and neighbor, contributed to the extraordinary development of the work in a very short time. The growing requests for assistance for an ever greater number of orphans and children urged Fr. Alfonso to open new houses, first in Campania, and then in other regions of Italy.

        During the night of February 5, 1910, he felt unwell. He requested and then received the sacraments on the morning of February 6; after having blessed with trembling hands his own daughters weeping around his bed, he exclaimed: “Lord, I thank you, I have been a useless servant”. Then, turning to the Sisters: “From heaven I will not forget you. I will pray for you always”. And he then slept peacefully in the Lord.

        News of his death spread quickly and for that entire Sunday, there was a procession of people crying and saying: “The father of the poor is dead; the saint is dead!”

        His witness has been an inspiration of life and a means of grace, especially for his Sisters spread today throughout four continents. On February 12, 1976, Pope Paul VI recognized his heroic virtues; on October 7, 2001, Pope John Paul II, proclaiming him blessed, offers him as an example to priests, and a model for everyone of an educator and protector especially to the poor and the needy.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Monday, February 5th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 6:53-56.


Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

5 February 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and

his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:53-56. 

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017
Image: From Bible Hub

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Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

 5 February 2018

Commentary of the day

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582),

Carmelite, Doctor of the Church

The way of perfection, ch. 34 (©Institute of Carmelite studies)

“As many as touched it were healed”

Now if, when Jesus went about in the world, the mere touch of his robes cured the sick, why doubt, if we have faith, that miracles will be worked while he is within us and that he will give what we ask of him since, in eucharistic communion, he is in our house? His Majesty is not accustomed to paying poorly for his lodging if the hospitality is good. If it pains you not to see him with your bodily eyes, con­sider that seeing him so is not fitting for us…

But our Lord reveals himself to those who he sees will benefit by his presence. Even though they fail to see him with their bodily eyes, he has many methods of showing himself to the soul, through great interior feelings and through other different ways. Be with him will­ingly; don’t lose so good an occasion for conversing with him as is the hour after having received Communion.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time

 5 February 2018

Saint of the day

St. Agatha,

Virgin & Martyr

(+ 251) –

Memorial

SAINT AGATHA
Virgin and Martyr
(+ 251)

St. Agatha was born in Sicily, of rich and noble parents-a child of benediction from the first, for she was promised to her parents before her birth, and consecrated from her earliest infancy to God. In the midst of dangers and temptations she served Christ in purity of body and soul, and she died for the love of chastity. Quintanus, who governed Sicily under the Emperor Decius, had heard the rumor of her beauty and wealth, and he made the laws against the Christians a pretext for summoning her from Palermo to Catania, where he was at the time. “O Jesus Christ!” she cried, as she set out on this dreaded journey, “all that I am is Thine; preserve me against the tyrant.”

        And Our Lord did indeed preserve one who had given herself so utterly to Him. He kept her pure and undefiled while she was imprisoned for a whole month under charge of an evil woman. He gave her strength to reply to the offer of her life and safety, if she would but consent to sin, “Christ alone is my life and my salvation.” When Quintanus turned from passion to cruelty, and cut off her breasts, Our Lord sent the Prince of His apostles to heal her. And when, after she had been rolled naked upon potsherds, she asked that her torments might be ended, her Spouse heard her prayer and took her to Himself.

        St. Agatha gave herself without reserve to Jesus Christ; she followed Him in virginal purity, and then looked to Him for protection. And down to this day Christ has shown His tender regard for the very body of St. Agatha. Again and again, during the eruptions of Mount Etna, the people of Catania have exposed her veil for public veneration, and found safety by this means; and in modern times, on opening the tomb in which her body lies waiting for the resurrection, they beheld the skin still entire, and felt the sweet fragrance which issued from this temple of the Holy Spirit.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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HERE AM I LORD, I COME TO DO YOUR WILL,

THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL.

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Sunday, February, 4th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 1:29-39.


Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

4 February 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew

with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 1:29-39.

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017
Image: From Bible Hub

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

4 February 2018

Commentary of the day

Saint Bernard (1091-1153),

Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church
Sermon 1 for Advent, 7-8

“Jesus grasped her hand and helped her up”

How greatly God, who seeks us, condescends, and what great dignity is given to the human being thus sought!… “What is man, that you make much of him, or pay him any heed?” (Job 7:17) I would really like to know why God wanted to come to us himself and why it wasn’t rather we who went to him. For our interest is at stake. The rich are not in the habit of going to the poor, even when they intend to do them good. It would have been proper for us to go to Jesus. But a double obstacle was preventing us from doing so: our eyes were blind and he dwells in inaccessible light; we were lying paralyzed on our pallet, unable to reach God’s greatness. That is why our good Savior and doctor of our souls came down from his height and tempered the brilliance of his glory for our sick eyes. He clothed himself as if with a lantern; I mean with the luminous body he took to himself and that was pure of all blemish.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

4 February 2018

Saints of the day

St. John de Britto,

Martyr

(+1693)

SAINT JOHN DE BRITTO
Martyr
(+ 1693)

Don Pedro II. of Portugal, when a child, had among his little pages a modest boy of rich and princely parents. Much had John de Britto—for so was he called—to bear from his careless-living companions, to whom his holy life was a reproach. A terrible illness made him turn for aid to St. Francis Xavier, a Saint so well loved by the Portuguese; and when, in answer to his prayers, he recovered, his mother vested him for a year in the dress worn in those days by the Jesuit Fathers. From that time John’s heart burned to follow the example of the Apostle of the Indies. He gained his wish.

        On December 17, 1662, he entered the novitiate of the Society at Lisbon; and eleven years later, in spite of the most determined opposition of his family and of the court, he left all to go to convert the Hindus of Madura. When Blessed John’s mother knew that her son was going to the Indies, she used all her influence to prevent him leaving his own country, and persuaded the Papal Nuncio to interfere. “God, Who called me from the world into religious life, now calls me from Portugal to India,” was the reply of the future martyr. “Not to answer the vocation as I ought, would be to provoke the justice of God. As long as I live, I shall never cease striving to gain a passage to India.”

        For fourteen years he toiled, preaching, converting, baptizing multitudes, at the cost of privations, hardships, and persecutions. At last, after being seized, tortured, and nearly massacred by the heathens, he was banished from the country. Forced to return to Portugal, John once more broke through every obstacle, and went back again to his labor of love.

        Like St. John the Baptist, he died a victim to the anger of a guilty woman, whom a convert king had put aside, and, like the Precursor, he was beheaded after a painful imprisonment.

 John de Britto was canonized by Ven. Pope Pius XII on 1947.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

4 February 2018

Saints of the day

St. Jane of Valois,

Queen and Religious

(+ 1505)

SAINT JANE OF VALOIS
Queen and Religious
(+ 1505)

Born of the blood royal of France, herself a queen, Jane of Valois led a life remarkable for its humiliations even in the annals of the Saints. Her father, Louis XI., who had hoped for a son to succeed him, banished Jane from his palace, and, it is said, even attempted her life. At the age of five the neglected child offered her whole heart to God, and yearned to do some special service in honor of His blessed Mother.

        At the king’s wish, though against her own inclination, she was married to the Duke of Orleans. Towards an indifferent and unworthy husband her conduct was ever most patient and dutiful. Her prayers and tears saved him from a traitor’s death and shortened the captivity which his rebellion had merited. Still nothing could win a heart which was already given to another. When her husband ascended the throne as Louis XII., his first act was to repudiate by false representations one who through twenty-two years of cruel neglect had been his true and loyal wife.

        At the final sentence of separation, the saintly queen exclaimed, “God be praised Who has allowed this, that I may serve Him better . than I have heretofore done.” Retiring to Bourges, she there realized her long-formed desire of founding the Order of the Annunciation, in honor of the Mother of God.

        Under the guidance of St. Francis of Paula, the director of her childhood, St. Jane was enabled to overcome the serious obstacles which even good people raised against the foundation of her new Order. In 1501 the rule of the Annunciation was finally approved by Alexander VI. The chief aim of the institute was to imitate the ten virtues practised by Our Lady in the mystery of the Incarnation, the superioress being called “Ancelle,” handmaid, in honor of Mary’s humility. St. Jane built and endowed the first convent of the Order in 1502.

        She died in heroic sanctity, 1505, and was buried in the royal crown and purple, beneath which lay the habit of her Order.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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

HERE AM I LORD, I COME TO DO YOUR WILL,

THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL.

________________________________


Saturday, February 3rd. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 6:30-34.


Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

3 February 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ  

They were like sheep without a shepherd;

and he began to teach them many things.

1 fishermen lwjas0358

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:30-34. 

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017
Image: From Bible Hub

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Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

3 February 2018

Commentary of the day

Saint John-Mary Vianney

(1786-1859),

Priest, Curé of Ars
Pensées choisies du saint Curé d’Ars

Before anything else, let yourself be taught

My children, the Word of God is no small thing! Our Lord’s first words to his Apostles were these: “Go and teach” so that we might understand that teaching comes before everything else. What enabled us to know our religion? The teaching we heard. What gave us fear of sin, caused us to perceive the beauty of virtue, stirred up in us the desire for heaven? Teaching.

My children, why are we so blind and ignorant? Because we don’t give any importance to the Word of God. With an educated person there is always a resource. That person may well stray into all sorts of bad ways, it may still be hoped they will return to the Good God sooner or later, even though not until the hour of death. Whereas someone uninstructed in their religion is like a sick person in their last agony; they know neither the enormity of sin, nor the beauty of their soul, nor the worth of virtue. They are led on from sin to sin. An educated person always has two guides going ahead of it: counsel and obedience.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

3 February 2018

Saint of the day

St. Blase,

Bishop & Martyr

(+ 316)

SAINT BLASE
Bishop and Martyr
(+ 316)

St. Blase devoted the earlier years of his life to the study of philosophy, and afterwards became a physician. In the practice of his profession he saw so much of the miseries of life and the hollowness of worldly pleasures, that he resolved to spend the rest of his days in the service of God, and from being a healer of bodily ailments to be- come a physician of souls.

        The Bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia, having died, our Saint, much to the gratification of the inhabitants of that city, was appointed to succeed him. St. Blase at once began to instruct his people as much by his example as by his words, and the great virtues and sanctity of this servant of God were attested by many miracles. From all parts the people came flocking to him for the cure of bodily and spiritual ills.

        Agricolaus, Governor of Cappadocia and the Lesser Armenia, having begun a persecution by order of the Emperor Licinius, our Saint was seized and hurried off to prison. While on his way there, a distracted mother, whose only child was dying of a throat disease, threw herself at the feet of St. Blase and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, the Saint offered up his prayers, and the child was cured; and since that time his aid has often been effectually solicited in cases of a similar disease.

        Refusing to worship the false gods of the heathens, St. Blase was first scourged; his body was then torn with hooks, and finally he was beheaded in the year 316.

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

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Friday, February 2nd, 2018. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 2:22-40.


Presentation of the Lord – Feast

2 February 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to

your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, “

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 2:22-40.

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,”
and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

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Presentation of the Lord – Feast

2 February 2018

Presentation of the Lord – Feast

 

The Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple
(Feast)

The feast was first observed in the Eastern Church as “The Encounter.” In the sixth century, it began to be observed in the West: in Rome with a more penitential character and in Gaul (France) with solemn blessings and processions of candles, popularly known as “Candlemas.” The Presentation of the Lord concludes the celebration of the Nativity and with the offerings of the Virgin Mother and the prophecy of Simeon, the events now point toward Easter.

“In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his Blessed Mother and his foster father. This is another ‘epiphany’ celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or ‘Candlemas,’ was of great importance.

Until 1969, the ancient feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, which is of Oriental origin, was known in the West as the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, and closed the Christmas Cycle, forty days after the Lord’s birth. This feast has for long been associated with many popular devotional exercises. The faithful:

  • Participate in the processions commemorating the Lord’s entry into the Temple in Jerusalem and His encounter with God, whose house He had come to for the first time. Then with Simeon and Anna they welcome the Christ child as Messiah. Simeon and Anna were two venerable elderly people dedicated to prayer and fasting and so their strong religious spirit rendered them able to recognize the Messiah. Such processions were later identified with the blessing of candles which were carried in procession in honor of Christ, ‘the light to enlighten the Gentiles’ (Lk 2, 32);
  • Reflect on the actions of the Blessed Virgin in presenting her Son in the Temple, and to her submission to the Law of Moses (Lk 12, 1-8) in the rite of purification; popular piety sees in the rite of purification the humility of Our Lady and hence, 2 February has long been regarded as a feast for those in humble service.
  • Pray for all those who have made commitments in the consecrated life. In 1997, Pope John Paul II instituted the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord as a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. As this Feast recognizes Christ who is the light of the world through a procession with blessed candles, so those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

_____________________________________________

Presentation of the Lord – Feast

2 February 2018

Commentary of the day

Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem

(?-639),

Monk, Bishop
Sermon for the Feast of the Purification; PG 87c, 3291

“I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness” (Jn 12:46)

Let us go to meet Christ, all we who fervently honour and venerate his mystery; let us make our way towards him with all our hearts. Let everyone without exception take part in this encounter and let all bring their lights along with them. If our candles give off such brightness it is first of all to demonstrate the divine radiance of he who comes, he who makes the whole world resplendent and bathes it in an everlasting light, scattering the darkness of evil. But it is also, and above all, to show with what brightness of soul we ourselves should go to meet Christ. Indeed, just as the Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, bore the true light in her arms to meet “those who lay in darkness” (cf Is 9:1; Lk 1:79), so let us, lit up by their rays and carrying in our hands a light that all can see, make haste to encounter Christ.

It is clear this mystery is our own, since “the light came into the world” (Jn 1:9) and shone upon it when it was bathed in shadows and since “the daybreak from on high has visited us” (Lk 1:78)… So let us run together; let us all go to this encounter with God… May we all be illuminated by it, my brethren; may we all be made radiant by it. May none of us remain outside this light like a stranger, nor any one of us insist on staying plunged in the dark. Let us rather go forward into the brightness; let us go radiantly to meet him and receive, together with the aged Simeon, this glorious and everlasting light. Together with him let us rejoice with all our hearts and sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of lights (Jas 1:17), who has sent true brightness to us to draw us out of darkness and make us radiant.

God’s salvation, “which he has prepared in sight of all the peoples” and manifested for our glory as the new Israel, behold! we, too, “have seen it” (Lk 2:30f.) in our turn, thanks to Christ. And all at once we were set free from the night of our sins just as Simeon, when he saw the Christ, was set free from the bonds of this present life.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Presentation of the Lord – Feast

2 February 2018

Saints of the day

St. Theophane Venard,

Priest & Martyred

(1829-1861)

SAINT TEOPHANE VENARD
Priest and martyr
(1829-1861)

St. Theophane was a French missionary, born on November 21, 1829, and originally from the Diocese of Poitiers. He entered into the Foreign Missions and was ordained priest June 5, 1852. He departed for the Far East on September 19, the same year.

        After fifteen months at Hong Kong he arrived at his mission in West Tonkin, where the Christians had recently been tried by a series of persecutions under Minh-Menh, a monster of cruelty. Shortly after Father Venard’s arrival a new royal edict was issued against Christians, and bishops and priests were obliged to seek refuge in caves, dense woods, and elsewhere. Father Venard, whose constitution had always been delicate, suffered almost constantly, but continued to exercise his ministry at night, and, more boldly, in broad day.

On November 30, 1860, he was betrayed and captured. Tried before a mandarin, he refused to apostatize and was sentenced to be beheaded. He remained a captive, chained in a cage for months, from which he wrote to his family beautiful and consoling letters, joyful in anticipation of his crown. His bishop, Msgr. Retord, wrote of him at this time: “Though in chains, he is as gay as a little bird”. 

        He was martyred on February 2, 1861.

        Theophane Venard was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

_______________________________________________

Presentation of the Lord – Feast

2 February 2018

Saints of the day

St. Catherine de Ricci

(c.1520-1589)

SAINT CATHERINE OF RICCI
(1520-1589)

Alexandrina of Ricci was the daughter of a noble Florentine. At the age of thirteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic in the monastery of Prato, taking in religion the name of Catherine, after her patron and namesake of Siena.

        Her special attraction was to the Passion of Christ, in which she was permitted miraculously to participate. In the Lent of 1541, being then twenty-one years of age, she had a vision of the crucifixion so heart-rending that she was confined to bed for three weeks, and was only restored, on Holy Saturday, by an apparition of St. Mary Magdalene and Jesus risen. During twelve years she passed every Friday in ecstasy, She received the sacred stigmata, the wound in the left side, and the crown of thorns.

        All these favors gave her continual and intense  suffering, and inspired her with a loving sympathy for the yet more bitter tortures of the Holy Souls. In their behalf she offered all her prayers and penances; and her charity toward them became so famous throughout Tuscany that after every death the friends of the deceased hastened to Catherine to secure her prayers.

        St. Catherine offered many prayers, fasts, and penances for a certain great man, and thus obtained his salvation. It was revealed to her that he was in purgatory; and such was her love of Jesus crucified that she offered to suffer all the pains about to be inflicted on that soul. Her prayer was granted. The soul entered heaven, and for forty days Catherine suffered indescribable agonies. Her body was covered with blisters, emitting heat so great that her cell seemed on fire. Her flesh appeared as if roasted, and her tongue like red-hot iron. Amid all she was calm and joyful, saying, “I long to suffer all imaginable pains, that souls may quickly see and praise their Redeemer.” She knew by revelation the arrival of a soul in. purgatory, and the hour of its release.

        She held intercourse with the Saints in glory, and frequently conversed with St. Philip Neri at Rome without ever leaving her convent at Prato.

        She died, amid angels’ songs, in 1589.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Presentation of the Lord – Feast

2 February 2018

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Thursday, February 1st. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 6:7-13.


Thursday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

1 February 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Wherever you enter a house,

stay there until you leave from there.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:7-13.

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
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Thursday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

1 February 2018

Saint of the day

St. Bridgid of Ireland

(+ 523)

SAINT BRIDGID
Abbess, and Patroness of Ireland
(c. 453-523)

Next to the glorious St. Patrick, St. Bridgid, whom we may consider his spiritual daughter in Christ, has ever been held in singular veneration in Ireland. She was born about the year 453, at Fochard in Ulster. During her infancy, her pious father saw in a vision men clothed in white garments pouring a sacred unguent on her head, thus prefiguring her future sanctity. While yet very young, Bridgid consecrated her life to God, bestowed everything at her disposal on the poor, and was the edification of all who knew her. She was very beautiful, and fearing that efforts might be made to induce her to break the vow by which she had bound herself to God, and to bestow her hand on one of her many suitors, she prayed that she might become ugly and deformed. Her prayer was heard, for her eye became swollen, and her whole countenance so changed that she was allowed to follow her vocation in peace, and marriage with her was no more thought of. When about twenty years old, our Saint made known to St. Mel, the nephew and disciple of St. Patrick, her intention to live only to Jesus Christ, and he consented to receive her sacred vows. On the appointed day the solemn ceremony of her profession was performed after the manner introduced by St. Patrick, the bishop offering up many prayers, and investing Bridgid with a snow-white habit, and a cloak of the same color. While she bowed her head on this occasion to receive the veil, a miracle of a singularly striking and impressive nature occurred: that part of the wooden platform adjoining the altar on which she knelt recovered its original vitality, and put on all its former verdure, retaining it for a long time after. At the same moment Bridgid’s eye was healed, and she became as beautiful and as lovely as ever.

        Encouraged by her example, several other ladies made their vows with her, and in compliance with the wish of the parents of her new associates, the Saint agreed to found a religious residence for herself and them in the vicinity. A convenient site having been fixed upon by the bishop, a convent, the first in Ireland, was erected upon it; and in obedience to the prelate Bridgid assumed the superiority. Her reputation for sanctity became greater every day; and in proportion as it was diffused throughout the country the number of candidates for admission into the new monastery increased. The bishops of Ireland, soon perceiving the important advantages which their respective dioceses would derive from similar foundations, persuaded the young and saintly abbess to visit different parts of the kingdom, and, as an opportunity offered, introduce into each one the establishment of her institute.

        While thus engaged in a portion of the province of Connaught, a deputation arrived from Leinster to solicit the Saint to take up her residence in that territory; but the motives which they urged were human, and such could have no weight with Bridgid. It was only the prospect of the many spiritual advantages that would result from compliance with the request that induced her to accede, as she did, to the wishes of those who had petitioned her. Taking with her a number of her spiritual daughters, our Saint journeyed to Leinster, where they were received with many demonstrations of respect and joy. The site on which Kildare now stands appearing to be well adapted for a religious institute, there the Saint and her companions took up their abode. To the place appropriated for the new foundation some lands were annexed, the fruits of which were assigned to the little establishment. This donation indeed contributed to supply the wants of the community, but still the pious sisterhood principally depended for their maintenance on the liberality of their benefactors. Bridgid contrived, however, out of their small means to relieve the poor of the vicinity very considerably; and when the wants of these indigent persons surpassed her slender finances, she hesitated not to sacrifice for them the movables of the convent. On one occasion our Saint, imitating the burning charity of St. Ambrose and other great servants of God, sold some of the sacred vestments that she might procure the means of relieving their necessities. She was so humble that she sometimes attended the cattle on the land which belonged to her monastery.

        The renown of Bridgid’s unbounded charity drew multitudes of the poor to Kildare; the fame of her piety attracted thither many persons anxious to solicit her prayers or to profit by her holy example. In course of time the number of these so much increased that it became necessary to provide accommodation for them in the neighborhood of the new monastery, and thus was laid the foundation and origin of the town of Kildare.

        The spiritual exigencies of her community, and of those numerous strangers who resorted to the vicinity, having suggested to our Saint the expediency of having the locality erected into an episcopal see, she represented it to the prelates, to whom the consideration of it rightly belonged. Deeming the proposal just and useful, Conlath, a recluse of eminent sanctity, illustrious by the great things which God had granted to his prayers, was, at Bridgid’s desire, chosen the first bishop of the newly erected diocese. In process of time it became the ecclesiastical metropolis of the province to which it belonged, probably in consequence of the general desire to honor the place in which St. Bridgid had so long dwelt.

        After seventy years devoted to the practice of the most sublime virtues, corporal infirmities admonished our Saint that the time of her dissolution was nigh. It was now half a century since, by her holy vows, she had irrevocably consecrated herself to God, and during that period great results had been attained; her holy institute having widely diffused itself throughout the Green Isle, and greatly advanced the cause of religion in the various districts in which it was established. Like a river of peace, its progress was steady and silent; it fertilized every region fortunate enough to receive its waters, and caused it to put forth spiritual flowers and fruits with all the sweet perfume of evangelical fragrance. The remembrance of the glory she had procured to the Most High, as well as the services rendered to dear souls ransomed by the precious blood of her divine Spouse, cheered and consoled Bridgid in the infirmities inseparable from old age. Her last illness was soothed by the presence of Nennidh, a priest of eminent sanctity, over whose youth she had watched with pious solicitude, and who was indebted to her prayers and instructions for his great proficiency in sublime perfection. The day on which our abbess was to terminate her course, February 1, 523, having arrived, she received from the hands of this saintly priest the blessed body and blood of her Lord in the divine Eucharist, and, as it would seem, immediately after her spirit passed forth, and went to possess Him in that heavenly country where He is seen face to face and enjoyed without danger of ever losing Him. Her body was interred in the church adjoining her convent, but was some time after exhumed, and deposited in a splendid shrine near the high altar.

        In the ninth century, the country being desolated by the Danes, the remains of St. Bridgid were removed in order to secure them from irreverence; and, being transferred to Down-Patrick, were deposited in the same grave with those of the glorious St. Patrick. Their bodies, together with that of St. Columba, were translated afterwards to the cathedral of the same city, but their monument was destroyed in the reign of King Henry VIII. The head of St. Bridgid is now kept in the church of the Jesuits at Lisbon.

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

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Wednesday, January 31st. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 6:1-6.


Wednesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

31 January 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native

place and among his own kin and in his own house.”

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:1-6.

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place,  accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017
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Wednesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

31 January 2018

Commentary of the day

Saint Augustine (354-430),

Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

Tractate on Saint John’s Gospel 25, §15 (end) and 16

“Isn’t he the carpenter?”

Whereas pride does its own will, humility does the will of God… The physician, perceiving the cause, purges away the humor, removes the cause. Cure pride and there will be no more iniquity. Consequently, that the cause of all diseases might be cured, namely, pride, the Son of God came down and was made low. Why are you proud, O man? God, for you, became low. You would perhaps be ashamed to imitate a lowly man; at any rate, imitate the lowly God. The Son of God came in the character of a man and was made low. You are taught to become humble, not asked to become a brute. He, being God, became man; do thou, O man, recognize that you are man. Your whole humility is to know yourself.

Hear God teaching humility. He said: “I came not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” (Jn 6:38)… I came humble, I came to teach humility, I came a master of humility: he that comes to me is made one body with me; he that comes to me becomes humble; he who adheres to me will be humble, because he does not his own will, but the will of God. Therefore he shall not be cast out (Jn 6:37), for when he was proud he was cast out.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

______________________________________________

Wednesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

31 January 2018

Saints of the day

St. John Bosco,

Priest

(1815-1888) –

Memorial

SAINT JOHN BOSCO
Priest
(1815-1888)

Born in the diocese of Turin in 1815, and brought up in poverty, John Bosco devoted his life to the education of working youth.

        He founded religious congregations -the Salesian Order, and the Congregation of the Helpers of Mary -to carry on his ideals.

        He fell asleep in the Lord on January 30, 1888 at the age of seventy-two.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Wednesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

31 January 2018

Saints of the day

St. Marcella,

Widow

(325-410)

SAINT MARCELLA
Widow
(325-410)

St. Marcella, whom St. Jerome called the glory of the Roman women, became a widow in the seventh month after her marriage. Having determined to consecrate the remainder of her days to the service of God, she rejected the hand of Cerealis, the consul, uncle of Gallus Caesar, and resolved to imitate the lives of the ascetics of the East. She abstained from wine and flesh-meat, employed all her time in pious reading, prayer, and visiting the churches, and never spoke with any man alone. Her example was followed by many who put themselves under her direction, and Rome was in a short time filled with monasteries.

        When the Goths under Alaric plundered Rome in 410, our Saint suffered severely at the hands of the barbarian, who cruelly scourged her in order to make her reveal the treasures which she had long before distributed in charity. She trembled only, however, for the innocence of her dear spiritual daughter, Principia, and falling at the feet of the cruel soldiers, she begged with many tears that they would offer no insult to that pure virgin. God moved them to compassion, and they conducted our Saint and her pupil to the Church of St. Paul, to which Alaric had granted the right of sanctuary, with that of St. Peter.

        St. Marcella, who survived this but a short time, closed her eyes by a happy death, in the arms of St. Principia, about the end of August, 410.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Tuesday, January 30th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 5:21-43.


Tuesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

30 January 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Daughter, your faith has saved you.

Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 5:21-43.

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet
and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?'”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. (At that) they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
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Tuesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

30 January 2018

Commentary of the day

Origen (c.185-253),

Priest and Theologian 

Homily 4 on Leviticus, PG 12,442-443 (cf SC 286)

“If I can touch even his clothes, I shall be well again”

With regard to the offering of the firstfruits, the Law stated: “Whatever touches the oblations becomes holy” (Lv 6:11). The immolated Christ is the one, perfect sacrifice of which all the sacrifices of the Old Law were the symbol and prefiguration. Whoever touches the flesh of this sacrifice is immediately made holy: if he is impure, he is purified; if he is wounded, his wound is healed. This is indeed how the woman who suffered from an issue of blood understood it… Because she understood that the flesh of the Holy of Holies was truly there, she drew near. She did not dare touch the flesh itself because as yet she had not grasped the perfect thing to do; but she touched the fringe of the garment that touched that most holy flesh. And because she touched with faith “power went out” from Christ’s humanity to purify her of her impurity and cure her complaint…

And so do you not believe that this text of the Law should be understood in this way: if someone touches the flesh of Jesus with the dispositions we have just spoken about, if with all his faith, all his obedience, he draws close to Jesus as Word made flesh, then that person has touched the very flesh of the sacrifice and is sanctified.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Tuesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

30 January 2018

Saints of the day

St. Bathildes,

Queen

(c. 634-680)

SAINT BATHILDES
Queen.
(c. 634-680)

St. Bathildes was an Englishwoman, who was carried over whilst yet young into France, and there sold for a slave, at a very low price, to Erkenwald, mayor of the palace under King Clovis II. When she grew up, her master was so much taken with her prudence and virtue that he placed her in charge of his household.

        The renown of her virtues spread through all France, and King Clovis II. took her for his royal consort. This unexpected elevation produced no alteration in a heart perfectly grounded in humility and the other virtues; she seemed to become even more humble than before. Her new station furnished her the means of being truly a mother to the poor; the king gave her the sanction of his royal authority for the protection of the Church, the care of the poor, and the furtherance of all religious undertakings.

        The death of her husband left her regent of the kingdom. She at once forbade the enslavement of Christians, did all in her power to promote piety, and filled France with hospitals and religious houses.

        As soon as her son Clotaire was of an age to govern, she withdrew from the world and entered the convent of Chelles. Here she seemed entirely to forget her worldly dignity, and was to be distinguished from the rest of the community only by her extreme humility, her obedience to her spiritual superiors, and her devotion to the sick, whom she comforted and served with wonderful charity.

        As she neared her end, God visited her with a severe illness, which she bore with Christian patience until, on the 30th of January, 680, she yielded up her soul in devout prayer.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Tuesday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

30 January 2018

Saints of the day

Bl. Columba Marmion,

(1858-1923)

Bl. Columba Marmion
Third Abbot of Maredsous
(1858-1923)

Bl. Columba Marmion was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 1 April 1858 to an Irish father (William Marmion) and a French mother (Herminie Cordier). Given the name Joseph Aloysius at birth, he entered the Dublin diocesan seminary in 1874 and completed his theological studies at the College of the Propagation of the Faith in Rome. He was ordained a priest at St Agatha of the Goths on 16 June 1881.

    He dreamed of becoming a missionary monk in Australia, but was won over by the liturgical atmosphere of the newly founded Abbey of Maredsous in Belgium, which he visited on his return to Ireland in 1881. His Bishop asked him to wait and appointed him curate in Dundrum, then professor at the major seminary in Clonliffe (1882-86). As the chaplain at a convent of Redemptorist nuns and at a women’s prison, he learned to guide souls, to hear confessions, to counsel and to help the dying.

    In 1886 he received his Bishop’s permission to become a monk. He voluntarily renounced a promising ecclesiastical career and was welcomed at Maredsous by Abbot Placidus Wolter. His novitiate, under the iron rule of Dom Benoît D’Hondt and among a group of young novices (when he was almost 30), proved all the more difficult because he had to change habits, culture and language. But saying that he had entered the monastery to learn obedience, he let himself be moulded by monastic discipline, community life and choral prayer until his solemn profession on 10 February 1891.

    He received his first “obedience” or mission when he was assigned to the small group of monks sent to found the Abbey of Mont César in Louvain. Although it distressed him, he gave his all to it for the sake of obedience. There he was entrusted with the task of Prior beside Abbot de Kerchove, and served as spiritual director and professor to all the young monks studying philosophy or theology in Louvain.

    He started to devote more time to preaching retreats in Belgium and in the United Kingdom, and gave spiritual direction to many communities, particularly those of Carmelite nuns. He become the confessor of Mons. Joseph Mercier, the future Cardinal, and the two formed a lasting friendship.

    During this period, Maredsous Abbey was governed by Dom Hildebrand de Hemptinne, its second Abbot, who in 1893 would become, at the request of Leo XIII, the first Primate of the Benedictine Confederation. His frequent stays in Rome required that he be replaced as Abbot of Maredsous, and it is Dom Columba Marmion who was elected the third Abbot of Maredsous on 28 September 1909, receiving the abbatial blessing on 3 October. He was placed at the head of a community of more than 100 monks, with a humanities college, a trade school and a farm to run. He also had to maintain a well-established reputation for research on the sources of the faith and to continue editing various publications, including the Revue Bénédictine.

    His ongoing care of the community did not stop Dom Marmion from preaching retreats or giving regular spiritual direction. He was asked to help the Anglican monks of Caldey when they wished to convert to Catholicism. His greatest ordeal was the First World War. His decision to send the young monks to Ireland so that they could complete their education in peace led to additional work, dangerous trips and many anxieties. It also caused misunderstandings and conflicts between the two generations within this community shaken by the war. German lay brothers, who had been present since the monastery’s foundation by Beuron Abbey, had to be sent home (despite the Benedictine vow of stability) at the outbreak of hostilities. After the war was over, a small group of monks was urgently dispatched to the Monastery of the Dormition in Jerusalem to replace the German monks expelled by the British authorities. Finally, the Belgian monasteries were separated from the Beuron Congregation, and in 1920 the Belgian Congregation of the Annunciation was set up with Maredsous, Mont César and St. André of Zevenkerken.

    His sole comfort during this period was preaching and giving spiritual direction. His secretary, Dom Raymond Thibaut, prepared his spiritual conferences for publication: Christ the Life of the Soul (1917), Christ in His Mysteries (1919) and Christ the Ideal of the Monk (1922). He was already considered an outstanding Abbot (Queen Elisabeth of Belgium consulted with him at length) and a great spiritual author.

    He died during a flu epidemic on 30 January 1923. He was beatified by John Paul II on the 3rd of September 2000.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Monday, January 29th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 5:1-20.


Monday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

29 January 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep

bank into the sea, where they were drowned.

 

SWINE th

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 5:1-20.

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But he would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed. 

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017
Image: From Bible Hub

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Monday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

29 January 2018

Commentary of the day

Blessed Charles de Foucauld

(1858-1916),

Hermit and missionary in the Sahara

Meditations on the Gospels, no.194

“As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. But he would not permit him.”

The only true perfection is not that we should be leading this or that lifestyle but doing God’s will; it is to lead the kind of life that God wants, where he wants, and to lead it as he would have done himself. When he leaves the choice to us then, yes, let us try to follow him as closely as possible, step by step, to share in his life just as his apostles did both during his life and after his death. Love presses us on to such imitation. If God leaves this choice, this freedom to us then it is precisely because he wants us to trim our sails to the breeze of pure love so that, blown on by it, we might «run after him in the odour of his fragrance» (Sg 1:4 LXX) in perfect imitation as Saint Peter and Saint Paul did…

And if one day God wishes to take us out of this beautiful and perfect way, whether for a while or for always, let us not be troubled or surprised. His designs are without fathoming. He can do for us, in the middle or at the end of the course, what he did for the Gerasene at the beginning. Let us obey him, let us do his will…, let us go wherever he wishes and lead the kind of life his will purposes for us. But let us everywhere draw close to him with all our might and, in every state, in every condition, let us be as he would have been and acted if his Father’s will had placed him as it has placed us.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Monday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

29 January 2018

Saint of the day

St. Gildas the Wise,

Abbot

(6th century)

SAINT GILDAS THE WISE (or Gildas of Rhuys)
Abbot
(c. 500-570 or 581)

St. Gildas was a 6th-century British monk. He learned, from the instructions and examples of the most eminent servants of God, to copy in his own life whatever seemed most perfect.

        His renowned learning and literary style earned him the designation Gildas Sapiens (Gildas the Wise).

        He wrote eight canons of discipline, and a severe invective against the crimes of the Britons, called De Excidio Britanniae and he also wrote an invective against the British clergy, whom he accused of sloth of seldom sacrificing at the altar.

He fell asleep in the Lord in 570 or in 581

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Sunday, January 28th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Mark 1:21-28.


Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

28 January 2018

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come

to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 1:21-28.

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017
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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

28 January 2018

Commentary of the day

Saint Jerome (347-420),

Priest, translator of the Bible, Doctor of the Church

Commentary on Saint Mark’s Gospel, 2; PLS 2,125f.

“What is this? A new teaching”

“The unclean spirit convulsed him with a loud cry.” This was his way of expressing his distress: by convulsing him. Since he could not ruin the man’s soul, the devil wrought his anger on his body. Besides, these physical manifestations were the only means he had to show that he was coming out. When the spirit of purity makes his presence known, the spirit of impurity beats a retreat…

“All were amazed and asked one another: ‘What is this?'” Let us look at the Acts of the Apostles and the signs given by the first prophets. What did Pharaoh’s magicians say when confronted by Moses’ marvellous deeds? “This is the finger of God” (Ex 8:15). It was Moses who carried them out but it was the power of another they recognised. Later on the apostles performed further marvels: “In the name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk!” (Acts 3:6); “Paul… said to the spirit: ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of this woman'” (Acts 16:18). Jesus’ name is always used. Here, however, what does he himself say? “Come out of this man” without any further precision. It is in his own name that he orders the spirit to come out. “All were amazed and asked one another: ‘What is this? A new teaching.'” Now, in itself, the expulsion of the demon had nothing new about it: Hebrew exorcists were doing the same thing at that time. But what does Jesus say? What is this new teaching? And where is the novelty? It is that he gives the command to the unclean spirits by his own authority, referring to no one else. He himself gives the order; he does not speak in another’s name but by his own authority.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2018

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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

28 January 2018

Saint of the day

St. Thomas Aquinas,

Priest & Doctor of the Church

(+ 1274) – Memorial

SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS
Priest and Doctor of the Church
(c. 1225-1274)

St. Thomas was born of noble parents at Aquino in Italy, in 1226. At the age of nineteen he received the Dominican habit at Naples, where he was studying.

        Seized by his brothers on his way to Paris, he suffered a two years’ captivity in their castle of Rocca-Secca; but neither the caresses of his mother and sisters, nor the threats and stratagems of his brothers, could shake him in his vocation. While St. Thomas was in confinement at Rocca-Secca, his brothers endeavored to entrap him into sin, but the attempt only ended in the triumph of his purity. Snatching from the hearth a burning brand, the Saint drove from his chamber the wretched creature whom they had there concealed. Then marking a cross upon the wall, he knelt down to pray, and forthwith, being rapt in ecstasy, an angel girded him with a cord, in token of the gift of perpetual chastity which God had given him. The pain caused by the girdle was so sharp that St. Thomas uttered a piercing cry, which brought his guards into the room. But he never told this grace to any one save only to Father Raynald, his confessor, a little while before his death. Hence originated the Confraternity of the “Angelic Warfare,” for the preservation of the virtue of chastity.

        Having at length escaped, St. Thomas went to Cologne to study under Blessed Albert the Great, and after that to Paris, where for many years he taught philosophy and theology. The Church has ever venerated his numerous writings as a treasure-house of sacred doctrine; while in naming him the Angelic Doctor she has indicated that his science is more divine than human. The rarest gifts of intellect were combined in him with the tenderest piety. Prayer, he said, had taught him more than study.

        His singular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament shines forth in the Office and hymns for Corpus Christi, which he composed. To the words miraculously uttered by a crucifix at Naples, “Well hast thou written concerning Me, Thomas. What shall I give thee as a reward?” he replied, “Naught save Thyself, O Lord.”

        He died at Fossa-Nuova, 1274, on his way to the General Council of Lyons, to which Pope Gregory X. had summoned him.

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

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