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Easter

Monday, August 14th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 17:22-27.


 

Monday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

14 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

“Go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth

and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 17:22-27.

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief.
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
Yes, he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?”
When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”

 

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

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Monday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

14 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Maximilian Kolbe,

Priest and Martyr

(1894-1941)

 St. Maximilian Kolbe
Priest and Martyr
(1894-1941)

Raymond Kolbe was born on the 8th of January 1894 in Zdunska Wola, which at that time was occupied by Russia. The Kolbe home was poor but full of love. The parents, hardworking and religious, educated their three sons with rectitude.

         Around 1906, an event took place that marks a fundamental milestone in the life of the young boy. His mother herself related the event a few months after her son’s martyrdom.

        “I knew ahead of time, based on an extraordinary event that took place in his infancy, that Maximilian would die a martyr. I just don’t recall if it took place before or after his first confession. Once I did not like one of his pranks and I reproached him for it: ‘My son, what ever will become of you?!‘ Later, I did not think of it again, but I noticed that the boy had changed so radically, he was hardly recognizable. We had a small altar hidden between two dressers before which he used to often retire without being noticed and he would pray there crying. In general, he had a conduct superior to his age, always recollected and serious and when he prayed he would burst into tears. I was worried, thinking he had some sort of illness so I asked him: ‘Is there anything wrong? You should share everything with your mommy!‘ Trembling with emotion and with his eyes flooded in tears, he shared: ‘Mama, when you reproached me, I pleaded with the Blessed Mother to tell me what would become of me. At Church I did the same; I prayed the same thing again. So then the Blessed Mother appeared to me holding in her hands two crowns: one white the other red. She looked at me with tenderness and asked me if I wanted these two crowns. The white one signified that I would preserve my purity and the red that I would be a martyr. I answered that I accepted them…(both of them). Then the Virgin Mary looked at me with sweetness and disappeared.‘ The extraordinary change in the boys’ behavior testified to me the truth of what he related. He was fully conscious and as he spoke to me, with his face radiating; it showed me his desire to die a martyr.”

         When he was 13 years old he entered the Franciscan Fathers Seminary in the polish city of Lvov, which was at that time occupied by Austria. It was in the seminary where he adopted the name Maximilian. He completed his studies in Rome. Before his ordination as a priest in 1918, Maximilian founded the Immaculata Movement devoted to our Lady. He spread the movement through a magazine entitled “The Knight of the Immaculata”. “We should conquer the universe and each soul, now and in the future until the end of time, for the Immaculata and through her for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” (St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, The Knight of the Immaculata)

         Maximilian went to Japan and then on to India where he furthered the Movement. After a few years in Japan, St. Maximilian was summoned back to Poland, largely due to his ever-declining health.

         Three years later, in the midst of the Second World War, he was imprisoned along with other friars and sent to concentration camps in Germany and Poland. In February of 1941 he was again made a prisoner and sent to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where in spite of the terrible living conditions he continued his ministry.

         On July 31st, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner’s escape, ten men were chosen to die. Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father. And he was the last to die, enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982 as a Martyr of Charity.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Sunday, August 13th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 14:22-33.


Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

13 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 14:22-33.

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once (Jesus) spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

 

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

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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

13 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Radegundes,

Queen of France

(519-587)

SAINT RADEGUNDES
Queen of France
(519-587)

        St. Radegundes was the daughter of a king of Thuringia who was assassinated by his brother; a war ensuing, our Saint, at the age of twelve, was made prisoner and carried captive by Clotaire, King of Soissons, who had her instructed in the Christian religion and baptized. The great mysteries of our Faith made such an impression on her tender soul that she gave herself to God with her whole heart, and desired to consecrate to him her virginity; she was obliged at last, however, to yield to the king’s wish that she should become his wife. As a great queen, she continued no less an enemy to sloth and vanity than she was before, and divided her time chiefly between her oratory, the Church, and the care of the poor. She also kept long fasts, and during Lent wore a hair-cloth under her rich garments.
        Clotaire was at first pleased with her devotions, and allowed her full liberty in them, but afterward used frequently to reproach her for her pious exercises, saying he had married a nun rather than a queen, who converted his court into a monastery. Seeing that Clotaire was inflamed by bad passions, our Saint asked and obtained his leave to retire from court. She went to Noyon, and was consecrated deaconess by St. Medard.
        Radegundes first withdrew to Sais, and some time after she went to Poitiers, and there built a great monastery. She had a holy virgin, named Agnes, made the first abbess, and paid to her an implicit obedience in all things, not reserving to herself the disposal of the least thing. King Clotaire, repenting of his evil conduct, wished her to return to court, but, through the intercession of St. Germanus of Paris, she was allowed to remain in her retirement, where she died on the 13th of August, 587.

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

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Saturday, August 12th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 17:14-20.


Saturday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

12 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and

suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water.”

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 17:14-20.

A man approached Jesus, knelt down before him,
and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water.
I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.”
Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured.
Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

 

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

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Saturday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

12 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Jane Frances de Chantal

(1572-1641)

SAINT JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL
(1572-1641)

        At the age of sixteen, Jane Frances de Frémyot, already a motherless child, was placed under the care of a worldly-minded governess. In this crisis she offered herself to the Mother of God, and secured Mary’s protection for life. When a Protestant sought her hand, she steadily refused to marry “an enemy of God and his Church,” and shortly afterwards, as the loving and beloved wife of the Baron de Chantal, made her house the pattern of a Christian home.
        But God had marked her for something higher than domestic sanctity. Two children and a dearly beloved sister died, and, in the full tide of prosperity, her husband’s life was taken by the innocent hand of a friend. For seven years the sorrows of her widowhood were increased by ill-usage from servants and inferiors, and the cruel importunities of friends, who urged her to marry again. Harassed almost to despair by their entreaties, she branded on her heart the name of Jesus, and in the end left her beloved home and children to live for God alone.
        It was on the 19th of March, 1609, that Madame de Chantal bade farewell to her family and relations. Pale, and with tears in her eyes, she passed round the large room, sweetly and humbly taking leave of each. Her son, a boy of fifteen, used every entreaty, every endearment, to induce his mother not to leave them, and at last passionately flung himself across the door of the room. In an agony of distress, she passed on over the body of her son to the embrace of her aged and disconsolate father. The anguish of that parting reached its height when, kneeling at the feet of the venerable old man, she sought and obtained his last blessing, promising to repay in her new home his sacrifice by her prayers.
        Well might St. Francis call her “the valiant woman.” She was to found with St. Francis de Sales a great Order. Sickness, opposition, want, beset her, and the death of children, friends, and of St. Francis himself followed, while eighty-seven houses of the Visitation rose under her hand. Nine long years of interior desolation completed the work of God’s grace; and in her seventieth year St. Vincent of Paul saw, at the moment of her death, her soul ascend, as a ball of fire, to heaven.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Friday, August 11th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 16:24-28.


Friday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

11 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me

must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 16:24-28.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.”
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

 

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
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Friday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

11 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Clare,

Virgin

(1194-1253)

SAINT CLARE
Virgin
(1194-1253)

        On Palm Sunday, March 17, 1212, the Bishop of Assisi left the altar to present a palm to a noble maiden, eighteen years of age, whom bashfulness had detained in her place. This maiden was St. Clare. Already she had learnt from St. Francis to hate the world, and was secretly resolved to live for God alone. The same night she escaped, with one companion, to the Church of the Portiuncula, where she was met by St. Francis and his brethren. At the altar of Our Lady, St. Francis cut off her hair, clothed her in his habit of penance, a piece of sack-cloth, with his cord as a girdle. Thus she was espoused to Christ.
        In a miserable house outside Assisi she founded her Order, and was joined by her sister, fourteen years of age, and afterwards by her mother and other noble ladies. They went barefoot, observed perpetual abstinence, constant silence, and perfect poverty.
        While the Saracen army of Frederick II was ravaging the valley of Spoleto, a body of infidels advanced to assault St. Clare’s convent, which stood outside Assisi. The Saint caused the Blessed Sacrament to be placed in a monstrance, above the gate of the monastery facing the enemy, and kneeling before it, prayed, “Deliver not to beasts, O Lord, the souls of those who confess to Thee.” A voice from the Host replied, “My protection will never fail you.” A sudden panic seized the infidel host, which took to flight, and the Saint’s convent was spared. During her illness of twenty-eight years the Holy Eucharist was her only support and spinning linen for the altar the one work of her hands.
        She died in 1253, as the Passion was being read, and Our Lady and the angels conducted her to glory.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL

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Thursday, August 10th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St John 12:24-26.


Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr – Feast

10 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates

his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 12:24-26.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”

 

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
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Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr – Feast

10 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Lawrence,

Deacon and Martyr

(† 258)

SAINT LAWRENCE
Deacon and Martyr
(†258)
Feast

       St. Lawrence was the chief among the seven deacons of the Roman Church. In the year 258 Pope Sixtus was led out to die, and St. Lawrence stood by, weeping that he could not share his fate. “I was your minister,” he said, “when you consecrated the blood of our Lord; why do you leave me behind now that you are about to shed your own?” The holy Pope comforted him with the words, “Do not weep, my son; in three days you will follow me.

        This prophecy came true. The prefect of the city knew the rich offerings which the Christians put into the hands of the clergy, and he demanded the treasures of the Roman Church from Lawrence, their guardian. The Saint promised, at the end of three days, to show him riches exceeding all the wealth of the empire, and set about collecting the poor, the infirm, and the religious who lived by the alms of the faithful. He then bade the prefect “see the treasures of the Church“. Christ, whom Lawrence had served in his poor, gave him strength in the conflict which ensued. Roasted over a slow fire, he made sport of his pains. “I am done enough,” he said, “eat, if you will.” At length Christ, the Father of the poor, received him into eternal habitations.

        God showed by the glory which shone around St. Lawrence the value He set upon his love for the poor. Prayers innumerable were granted at his tomb; and he continued from his throne in heaven his charity to those in need, granting them, as St. Augustine says, “the smaller graces which they sought, and leading them to the desire of better gifts“.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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love one another as I love you.”

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

May God have pity on us and bless us

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

 

THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL

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


Wednesday, August 9th.   Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 15:21-28


Wednesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

9 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

A Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,

“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”

 

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 15:21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.

 

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
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Wednesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

9 August 2017

In Europe:

Feast of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), patron of Europe –

Proper readings

 

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein),

Virgin, Martyr, Patron of Europe

Readings for the Feast in Europe

A reading from the book of Hosea 2: 16b, 17b, 21-22
Thus says the Lord: I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. She shall respond there as in the days of her youth, when she came up from the land of Egypt. I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD.

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Psalm: 45: 11-12, 14-15, 16-17


Listen, my daughter, and understand; pay me careful heed. Forget your people and your father’s house, that the king might desire your beauty. He is your lord.
All glorious is the king’s daughter as she enters, her raiment threaded with gold; In embroidered apparel she is led to the king. The maids of her train are presented to the king.
They are led in with glad and joyous acclaim; they enter the palace of the king. The throne of your fathers your sons will have; you shall make them princes through all the land.

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Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 25: 1-13.


Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply,’Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

_________________________


Commentary

Pope Benedict XVI

General Audience, 13 August 2008 (© Libreria Editrice Vaticana)


“Jesus is also here in our midst”  

  Those who pray never lose hope, even when they find themselves in a difficult and even humanly hopeless plight. Sacred Scripture teaches us this and Church history bears witness to this. In fact, how many examples we could cite of situations in which it was precisely prayer that sustained the journey of Saints and of the Christian people! Among the testimonies of our epoch I would like to mention the examples of two Saints whom we are commemorating in these days: Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, whose feast we celebrated on 9 August, and Maximilian Mary Kolbe, whom we will commemorate tomorrow, on 14 August, the eve of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Both ended their earthly life with martyrdom in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. Their lives might seem to have been a defeat, but it is precisely in their martyrdom that the brightness of Love which dispels the gloom of selfishness and hatred shines forth. The following words are attributed to St Maximilian Kolbe, who is said to have spoken them when the Nazi persecution was raging: “Hatred is not a creative force: only love is creative”…


On 6 August the following year, three days before her tragic end, Edith Stein approaching some Sisters in the monastery of Echt, in the Netherlands, said to them: “I am ready for anything. Jesus is also here in our midst. Thus far I have been able to pray very well and I have said with all my heart: “Ave, Crux, spes unica'”. Witnesses who managed to escape the terrible massacre recounted that while Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, dressed in the Carmelite habit, was making her way, consciously, toward death, she distinguished herself by her conduct full of peace, her serene attitude and her calm behaviour, attentive to the needs of all. Prayer was the secret of this Saint, Co-Patroness of Europe, who, “Even after she found the truth in the peace of the contemplative life, she was to live to the full the mystery of the Cross” (John Paul II; Spes Aedificandi).

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Wednesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

9 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein),

(1891-1942)

Teresa Benedict of the Cross Edith Stein
Nun, Discalced Carmelite, martyr
Co-patron of Europe
(1891-1942)

“We bow down before the testimony of the life and death of Edith Stein, an outstanding daughter of Israel and at the same time a daughter of the Carmelite Order, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a personality who united within her rich life a dramatic synthesis of our century. It was the synthesis of a history full of deep wounds that are still hurting … and also the synthesis of the full truth about man. All this came together in a single heart that remained restless and unfulfilled until it finally found rest in God.”
These were the words of Pope John Paul II when he beatified Edith Stein in Cologne on 1 May 1987.

Who was this woman?

Edith Stein was born in Breslau on the 12th of October 1891, the youngest of 11, as her family were celebrating Yom Kippur, that most important Jewish feast, the Feast of Atonement. “More than anything else, this helped make the youngest child very precious to her mother.” Being born on this day was like a foreshadowing to Edith, a future Carmelite nun.

        Edith’s father, who ran a timber business, died when she had only just turned two. Her mother, a very devout, hard-working, strong-willed and truly wonderful woman, now had to fend for herself and to look after the family and their large business. However, she did not succeed in keeping up a living faith in her children. Edith lost her faith in God. “I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying,” she said.

        In 1911 she passed her school-leaving exam with flying colours and enrolled at the University of Breslau to study German and history, though this was a mere “bread-and-butter” choice. Her real interest was in philosophy and in women’s issues. She became a member of the Prussian Society for Women’s Franchise. “When I was at school and during my first years at university,” she wrote later, “I was a radical suffragette. Then I lost interest in the whole issue. Now I am looking for purely pragmatic solutions.”

        In 1913, Edith Stein transferred to Göttingen University, to study under the mentorship of Edmund Husserl. She became his pupil and teaching assistant, and he later tutored her for a doctorate. At the time, anyone who was interested in philosophy was fascinated by Husserl’s new view of reality, whereby the world as we perceive it does not merely exist in a Kantian way, in our subjective perception. His pupils saw his philosophy as a return to objects: “back to things”. Husserl’s phenomenology unwittingly led many of his pupils to the Christian faith. In Göttingen Edith Stein also met the philosopher Max Scheler, who directed her attention to Roman Catholicism. Nevertheless, she did not neglect her “bread-and-butter” studies and passed her degree with distinction in January 1915, though she did not follow it up with teacher training.

        “I no longer have a life of my own,” she wrote at the beginning of the First World War, having done a nursing course and gone to serve in an Austrian field hospital. This was a hard time for her, during which she looked after the sick in the typhus ward, worked in an operating theatre, and saw young people die. When the hospital was dissolved, in 1916, she followed Husserl as his assistant to the German city of Freiburg, where she passed her doctorate summa cum laude (with the utmost distinction) in 1917, after writing a thesis on “The Problem of Empathy.”

        During this period she went to Frankfurt Cathedral and saw a woman with a shopping basket going in to kneel for a brief prayer. “This was something totally new to me. In the synagogues and Protestant churches I had visited people simply went to the services. Here, however, I saw someone coming straight from the busy marketplace into this empty church, as if she was going to have an intimate conversation. It was something I never forgot.” Towards the end of her dissertation she wrote: “There have been people who believed that a sudden change had occurred within them and that this was a result of God’s grace.” How could she come to such a conclusion? Edith Stein had been good friends with Husserl’s Göttingen assistant, Adolf Reinach, and his wife.

        When Reinach fell in Flanders in November 1917, Edith went to Göttingen to visit his widow. The Reinachs had converted to Protestantism. Edith felt uneasy about meeting the young widow at first, but was surprised when she actually met with a woman of faith. “This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it … it was the moment when my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me – Christ in the mystery of the Cross.”

         Later, she wrote: “Things were in God’s plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living  faith and conviction that – from God’s point of view – there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God’s divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God’s all-seeing eyes.”

        In Autumn 1918 Edith Stein gave up her job as Husserl’s teaching assistant. She wanted to work independently. It was not until 1930 that she saw Husserl again after her conversion, and she shared with him about her faith, as she would have liked him to become a Christian, too. Then she wrote down the amazing words: “Every time I feel my powerlessness and inability to influence people directly, I become more keenly aware of the necessity of my own holocaust.”

        Edith Stein wanted to obtain a professorship, a goal that was impossible for a woman at the time. Husserl wrote the following reference: “Should academic careers be opened up to ladies, then I can recommend her whole-heartedly and as my first choice for admission to a professorship.” Later, she was refused a professorship on account of her Jewishness.

        Back in Breslau, Edith Stein began to write articles about the philosophical foundation of psychology. However, she also read the New Testament, Kierkegaard and Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. She felt that one could not just read a book like that, but had to put it into practice.

        In the summer of 1921, she spent several weeks in Bergzabern (in the Palatinate) on the country estate of Hedwig Conrad-Martius, another pupil of Husserl’s. Hedwig had converted to Protestantism with her husband. One evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and read this book all night. “When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth.” Later, looking back on her life, she wrote: “My longing for truth was a single prayer.”

        On the 1st of January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized. It was the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, when Jesus entered into the covenant of Abraham. Edith Stein stood by the baptismal font, wearing Hedwig Conrad-Martius’ white wedding cloak. Hedwig was her godmother. “I had given up practising my Jewish religion when I was a 14-year-old girl and did not begin to feel Jewish again until I had returned to God.” From this moment on she was continually aware that she belonged to Christ not only spiritually, but also through her blood. At the Feast of the Purification of Mary – another day with an Old Testament reference – she was confirmed by the Bishop of Speyer in his private chapel.

         After her conversion she went straight to Breslau: “Mother,” she said, “I am a Catholic.” The two women cried. Hedwig Conrad Martius wrote: “Behold, two Israelites indeed, in whom is no deceit!” (cf. John 1:47).

        Immediately after her conversion she wanted to join a Carmelite convent. However, her spiritual mentors, Vicar-General Schwind of Speyer, and Erich Przywara SJ, stopped her from doing so. Until Easter 1931 she held a position teaching German and History at the Dominican Sisters’ school and teacher training college of St. Magdalen’s Convent in Speyer. At the same time she was encouraged by Arch-Abbot Raphael Walzer of Beuron Abbey to accept extensive speaking engagements, mainly on women’s issues. “During the time immediately before and quite some time after my conversion I … thought that leading a religious life meant giving up all earthly things and having one’s mind fixed on divine things only. Gradually, however, I learnt that other things are expected of us in this world… I even believe that the deeper someone is drawn to God, the more he has to `get beyond himself’ in this sense, that is, go into the world and carry divine life into it.”

        She worked enormously hard, translating the letters and diaries of Cardinal Newman from his pre-Catholic period as well as Thomas Aquinas’ Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate. The latter was a very free translation, for the sake of dialogue with modern philosophy. Erich Przywara also encouraged her to write her own philosophical works. She learnt that it was possible to “pursue scholarship as a service to God… It was not until I had understood this that I seriously began to approach academic work again.” To gain strength for her life and work, she frequently went to the Benedictine Monastery of Beuron, to celebrate the great feasts of the Church year.

        In 1931 Edith Stein left the convent school in Speyer and devoted herself to working for a professorship again, this time in Breslau and Freiburg, though her endeavours were in vain. It was then that she wrote Potency and Act, a study of the central concepts developed by Thomas Aquinas. Later, at the Carmelite Convent in Cologne, she rewrote this study to produce her main philosophical and theological oeuvre, Finite and Eternal Being. By then, however, it was no longer possible to print the book.

        In 1932 she accepted a lectureship position at the Roman Catholic division of the German Institute for Educational Studies at the University of Munster, where she developed her anthropology. She successfully combined scholarship and faith in her work and her teaching, seeking to be a “tool of the Lord” in everything she taught. “If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to Him.”

        In 1933 darkness broke out over Germany. “I had heard of severe measures against Jews before. But now it dawned on me that God had laid his hand heavily on His people, and that the destiny of these people would also be mine.” The Aryan Law of the Nazis made it impossible for Edith Stein to continue teaching. “If I can’t go on here, then there are no longer any opportunities for me in Germany,” she wrote; “I had become a stranger in the world.”

        The Arch-Abbot of Beuron, Walzer, now no longer stopped her from entering a Carmelite convent. While in Speyer, she had already taken a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. In 1933 she met with the prioress of the Carmelite Convent in Cologne. “Human activities cannot help us, but only the suffering of Christ. It is my desire to share in it.”

         Edith Stein went to Breslau for the last time, to say good-bye to her mother and her family. Her last day at home was her birthday, 12 October, which was also the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Edith went to the synagogue with her mother. It was a hard day for the two women. “Why did you get to know it [Christianity]?” her mother asked, “I don’t want to say anything against him. He may have been a very good person. But why did he make himself God?” Edith’s mother cried. The following day Edith was on the train to Cologne. “I did not feel any passionate joy. What I had just experienced was too terrible. But I felt a profound peace – in the safe haven of God’s will.” From now on she wrote to her mother every week, though she never received any replies. Instead, her sister Rosa sent her news from Breslau.

        Edith joined the Carmelite Convent of Cologne on the 14th of October, and her investiture took place on the 15th of April, 1934. The mass was celebrated by the Arch-Abbot of Beuron. Edith Stein was now known as Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce – Teresa, Blessed of the Cross. In 1938 she wrote: “I understood the cross as the destiny of God’s people, which was beginning to be apparent at the time (1933). I felt that those who understood the Cross of Christ should take it upon themselves on everybody’s behalf. Of course, I know better now what it means to be wedded to the Lord in the sign of the cross. However, one can never comprehend it, because it is a mystery.” On the 21st of April 1935 she took her temporary vows. On the 14th of September 1936, the renewal of her vows coincided with her mother’s death in Breslau. “My mother held on to her faith to the last moment. But as her faith and her firm trust in her God… were the last thing that was still alive in the throes of her death, I am confident that she will have met a very merciful judge and that she is now my most faithful helper, so that I can reach the goal as well.”

        When she made her eternal profession on the 21st of April 1938, she had the words of St. John of the Cross printed on her devotional picture: “Henceforth my only vocation is to love.” Her final work was to be devoted to this author.

        Edith Stein’s entry into the Carmelite Order was not escapism. “Those who join the Carmelite Order are not lost to their near and dear ones, but have been won for them, because it is our vocation to intercede to God for everyone.” In particular, she interceded to God for her people: “I keep thinking of Queen Esther who was taken away from her people precisely because God wanted her to plead with the king on behalf of her nation. I am a very poor and powerless little Esther, but the King who has chosen me is infinitely great and merciful. This is great comfort.” (31st of October 1938)

        On the 9th of November 1938 the anti-Semitism of the Nazis became apparent to the whole world.

        Synagogues were burnt, and the Jewish people were subjected to terror. The prioress of the Carmelite Convent in Cologne did her utmost to take Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce abroad. On New Year’s Eve 1938 she was smuggled across the border into the Netherlands, to the Carmelite Convent in Echt in the Province of Limburg. This is where she wrote her will on 9th of June 1939: “Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being his most holy will for me. I ask the Lord to accept my life and my death … so that the Lord will be accepted by His people and that His Kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world.”

        While in the Cologne convent, Edith Stein had been given permission to start her academic studies again. Among other things, she wrote about “The Life of a Jewish Family” (that is, her own family): “I simply want to report what I experienced as part of Jewish humanity,” she said, pointing out that “we who grew up in Judaism have a duty to bear witness … to the young generation who are brought up in racial hatred from early childhood.”

        In Echt, Edith Stein hurriedly completed her study of “The Church’s Teacher of Mysticism and the Father of the Carmelites, John of the Cross, on the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary of His Birth, 1542-1942.” In 1941 she wrote to a friend, who was also a member of her order: “One can only gain a scientia crucis (knowledge of the cross) if one has thoroughly experienced the cross. I have been convinced of this from the first moment onwards and have said with all my heart: ‘Ave, Crux, Spes unica’ (I welcome you, Cross, our only hope).” Her study on St. John of the Cross is entitled: “Kreuzeswissenschaft” (The Science of the Cross).

        Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on the 2nd of August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She was to report within five minutes, together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the Echt Convent. Her last words to be heard in Echt were addressed to Rosa: “Come, we are going for our people.”

        Together with many other Jewish Christians, the two women were taken to a transit camp in Amersfoort and then to Westerbork. This was an act of retaliation against the letter of protest written by the Dutch Roman Catholic Bishops against the pogroms and deportations of Jews. Edith commented, “I never knew that people could be like this, neither did I know that my brothers and sisters would have to suffer like this… I pray for them every hour. Will God hear my prayers? He will certainly hear them in their distress.” Prof. Jan Nota, who was greatly attached to her, wrote later: “She is a witness to God’s presence in a world where God is absent.”

        On the 7th of August, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. It was probably on the 9th of August that Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, her sister and many other of her people were gassed. When Edith Stein was beatified in Cologne on the 1st of May 1987, the Church honoured “a daughter of Israel”, as Pope John Paul II put it, “who, as a Catholic during Nazi persecution, remained faithful to the crucified Lord Jesus Christ and, as a Jew, to her people in loving faithfulness.”

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Monday, August 7th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 14:13-21.


Monday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

7 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing,

broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 14:13-21.

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
(Jesus) said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over –twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

 

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Monday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

7 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Cajetan,

Priest

(1480-1547)

SAINT CAJETAN
Priest
(1480-1547)

        St. Cajetan was born at Vicenza, in 1480, of pious and noble parents, who dedicated him to our blessed Lady. From childhood he was known as the Saint, and in later years as “the hunter of souls”. A distinguished student, he left his native town to seek obscurity in Rome, but was there forced to accept office at the court of Julius II. On the death of that Pontiff he returned to Vicenza, and disgusted his relatives by joining the Confraternity of St. Jerome, whose members were drawn from the lowest classes; while he spent his fortune in building hospitals, and devoted himself to nursing the plague-stricken.

        To renew the lives of the clergy, he instituted the first community of Regular Clerks, known as Theatines. They devoted themselves to preaching, the administration of the sacraments, and the careful performance of the Church’s rites and ceremonies. St. Cajetan was the first to introduce the Forty Hours’ Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as an antidote to the heresy of Calvin.

        He had a most tender love for our blessed Lady, and his piety was rewarded, for one Christmas eve she placed the Infant Jesus in his arms. When the Germans, under the Constable Bourbon, sacked Rome, St. Cajetan was barbarously scourged, to extort from him riches which he had long before securely stored in heaven.

        When St. Cajetan was on his death-bed, resigned to the will of God, eager for pain to satisfy his love, and for death to attain to life, he beheld the Mother of God, radiant with splendor and surrounded by ministering seraphim. In profound veneration, he said, “Lady, bless me!” Mary replied, “Cajetan, receive the blessing of my Son, and know that I am here as a reward for the sincerity of your love, and to lead you to paradise.” She then exhorted him to patience in fighting an evil spirit who troubled him, and gave orders to the choirs of angels to escort his soul in triumph to heaven. Then, turning her countenance full of majesty and sweetness upon him, she said, “Cajetan, my Son calls thee. Let us go in peace.”

        Worn out with toil and sickness, he went to his reward in 1547.

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

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Sunday, August 6th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 17:1-9.


The Transfiguration of the Lord – Feast

6 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Jesus was transfigured before them; his face shone

like the sun and his clothes became white as light.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 17:1-9.

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,  and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

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The Transfiguration of the Lord – Feast

6 August 2017

The Transfiguration of the Lord –

Feast

THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD
Feast

        Our divine Redeemer, being in Galilee about a year before His sacred Passion, took with him St. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, Sts. James and John, and led them to a retired mountain. Tradition assures us that this was Mount Thabor, which is exceedingly high and beautiful, and was anciently covered with green trees and shrubs, and was very fruitful. It rises something like a sugar-loaf, in a vast plain in the middle of Galilee. This was the place in which the Man-God appeared in His glory.

        Whilst Jesus prayed, he suffered that glory which was always due to his sacred humility, and of which, for our sake, He deprived it, to diffuse a ray over His whole body. His face was altered and shone as the sun, and his garments became white as snow. Moses and Elias were seen by the three apostles in his company on this occasion, and were heard discoursing with him of the death which he was to suffer in Jerusalem.

        The three apostles were wonderfully delighted with this glorious vision, and St. Peter cried out to Christ, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents: one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias” Whilst St. Peter was speaking, there came, on a sudden, a bright shining cloud from heaven, an emblem of the presence of God’s majesty, and from out of this cloud was heard a voice which said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” The apostles that were present, upon hearing this voice, were seized with a sudden fear, and fell upon the ground; but Jesus, going to them, touched them, and bade them to rise. They aimmediately did so, and saw no one but Jesus standing in his ordinary state.

        This vision happened in the night. As they went down the mountain early the next morning, Jesus bade them not to tell any one what they had seen till he should be risen from the dead.

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

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The Transfiguration of the Lord – Feast

6 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Hormisdas,

Pope

(† 523)

SAINT HORMISDAS
Pope

(† 523)

        St. Hormisdas was bishop of Rome after Symmachus from July 26th, 514, to August 6th, 523, Anastasius and Justin being successively emperors of the East and Theodoric ruling the West as king of Italy. Hormisdas was a native of Frusino in Campania. Pope Silverius is said to have been his son.

      The memorable event of his pontificate was the restoration of communion between Rome and Constantinople, which had been interrupted since 484, in connexion with the Eutychian heresy.

        Hormisdas died early in 523, having held the see 9 years and 11 days. He, as well as all the popes during the schism with the East, except the too conciliatory Anastasius, has had his firmness acknowledged by canonization, his day in the Roman Calendar being August 6th. His extant writings consist of letters.

        Hormisdas had great administrative and diplomatic abilities, was singularly uncompromising and firm of purpose, and one of the most strenuous and successful assertors of the supremacy of the Roman see.

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Thursday, August 3rd. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 13:47-53.


Thursday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time

3 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Jesus said to the disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net

thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13:47-53.

Jesus said to the disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Do you understand all these things? They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

 

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Thursday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time

3 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Lydia

Saint Lydia Purpuraria
(1st century)

        Lydia Purpuraria was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), a town in Asia Minor, famous for its dye works, (hence, her name means purple seller).

        She became Paul’s first convert at Philippi. She was baptized with her household, and Paul stayed at her home there.

Excerpted from Catholic Online

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Wednesday, August 2nd.   Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 13:44-46.


Wednesday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time

2 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is

like a treasure buried in a field

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 13:44-46.

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it”.

 

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Wednesday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time

2 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Eusebius of Vercelli,

Bishop

(† 371)

SAINT EUSEBIUS
Bishop
(† 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]

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