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The Nativity of Jesus

Wednesday, September 27th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 9:1-6.


Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth week in Ordinary Time

27 September 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ  

 

Jesus said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick,

nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 9:1-6.

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

 

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
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Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth week in Ordinary Time

27 September 2017

Commentary of the day

Vatican Council II
Decree on the mission activity of the Church « Ad Gentes », § 1

“He sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God”

Divinely sent to the nations of the world to be unto them “a universal sacrament of salvation,” the Church, driven by the inner necessity of her own catholicity, and obeying the mandate of her Founder (cf. Mark 16:16), strives ever to proclaim the Gospel to all men. The Apostles themselves, on whom the Church was founded, following in the footsteps of Christ, “preached the word of truth and begot churches.”(St Augustine) It is the duty of their successors to make this task endure “so that “the word of God may run and be glorified” (2 Thess. 3:1) and the kingdom of God be proclaimed and established throughout the world.

In the present state of affairs, out of which there is arising a new situation for mankind, the Church, being the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:13-14), is more urgently called upon to save and renew every creature, that all things may be restored in Christ and all men may constitute one family in Him and one people of God.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Wednesday of the Twenty-fifth week in Ordinary Time

27 September 2017

Saint of the day

St. Vincent de Paul,

Priest

(1576-1660) –

Memorial

SAINT VINCENT OF PAUL
Priest
(1576-1660)

        St. Vincent was born in 1576. In after-years, when adviser of the queen and oracle of the Church in France, he loved to recount how, in his youth, he had guarded his father’s pigs. Soon after his ordination he was captured by corsairs, and carried into Barbary. He converted his renegade master, and escaped with him to France.

        Appointed chaplain-general of the galleys of France, his tender charity brought hope into those prisons where hitherto despair had reigned. A mother mourned her imprisoned son. Vincent put on his chains and took his place at the oar, and gave him to his mother. His charity embraced the poor, young and old, provinces desolated by civil war, Christians enslaved by the infidel. The poor man, ignorant and degraded, was to him the image of Him Who became as “a leper and no man.” “Turn the medal,” he said, “and you then will see Jesus Christ.”

        He went through the streets of Paris at night, seeking the children who were left there to die. Once robbers rushed upon him, thinking he carried a treasure, but when he opened his cloak, they recognized him and his burden, and fell at his feet.

        Not only was St. Vincent the saviour of the poor, but also of the rich, for he taught them to do works of mercy. When the work for the foundlings was in danger of failing from want of funds, he assembled the ladies of the Association of Charity. He bade his most fervent daughters be present to give the spur to the others. Then he said, “Compassion and charity have made you adopt these little creatures as your children. You have been their mothers according to grace, when their own mothers abandoned them. Cease to be their mothers, that you may become their judges; their life and death are in your hands. I shall now take your votes: it is time to pronounce sentence” The tears of the assembly were his only answer, and the work was continued.

        The Society of St. Vincent, the Priests of the Mission, and 25,000 Sisters of Charity still comfort the afflicted with the charity of St. Vincent of Paul.

        He died in 1660.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Friday, September 22nd. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 8:1-3.


Friday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time

22 September 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been

cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 8:1-3.

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

 

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Daily TV Mass

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By

 Father Janusz Roginski SAC

of

Daily TV Mass  Friday,  September 22, 2017

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Friday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time

22 September 2017

Saint of the day

The Theban Legion,

Martyrs

(c.287)

THE THEBAN LEGION
Martyrs
(c. 287)

 

The Theban legion numbered more than six thousand men. They marched from the East into Gaul, and proved their loyalty at once to their Emperor and to their God. They were encamped near the Lake of Geneva, under the Emperor Maximian, when they got orders to turn their swords against the Christian population, and refused to obey. In his fury Maximian ordered them to be decimated. The order was executed once and again, but they endured this without a murmur or an effort to defend themselves.
 
         St. Maurice, the chief captain in this legion of martyrs, encouraged the rest to persevere and follow their comrades to heaven. “Know, O Emperor,” he said, “that we are your soldiers, but we are servants also of the true God. In all things lawful we will most readily obey, but we cannot stain our hands in this innocent blood. We have seen our comrades slain, and we rejoice at their honor. We have arms, but we resist not, for we had rather die without shame than live by sin.”

        As the massacre began, these generous soldiers flung down their arms, offered their necks to the sword, and suffered themselves to be butchered in silence.

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

THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL

THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL

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Sunday, September 17th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 18:21-35.


Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

17 September 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Jesus answered,

“I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 18:21-35.

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

 

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The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto,

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YOUTUBE

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The Sunday Mass – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(September 17, 2017)

Presider: Rev. Ernesto DeCiccio

______________________________________

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

17 September 2017

Saint of the day

St. Robert Bellarmine,

Bishop and Doctor of the Church

(1542-1621)

SAINT ROBERT BELLARMINE
(1542-1621)
Bishop and Doctor of the Church

          Saint Robert Bellarmine was born in Tuscany in the town of Monte Pulciano in 1542, became a Jesuit and was ordained priest. He was a vigourous defender of the faith at the time of the Reformation. He also taught theology in the Roman College. He was made a Cardinal in 1599, but after a disagreement with the Pope was sent as bishop to Capua in 1602. He was a very pastoral bishop, visiting, preaching and teaching, and giving the example of a truly Christian life. He returned to Rome in 1605, and died in 1621.

God our Father,
you gave Robert Bellarmine wisdom and goodness
to defend the faith of your Church.
By his prayers
may we always rejoice in the profession of our faith.

The Weekday Missal -Collins- Breviary 

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL

THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL

THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL

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Sunday, August 20th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 15:21-28.


Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

20 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ .

“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.

 

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The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto,

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YOUTUBE

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The Sunday Mass – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(August 20, 2017)

Presider: Rev. Thomas Lynch

______________________________________

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

20 August 2017

Commentary of the day

Saint Bede the Venerable (c.673-735), monk, Doctor of the Church
Homily on the Gospels I, 22

“Woman, you have great faith! Your wish will come to pass.”

The Gospel shows us the Canaanite woman’s great faith, her patience, her perseverance and humility… This woman was gifted with a truly uncommon patience. After her first request, the Lord didn’t answer even with one word. In spite of that, far from ceasing to pray even for one moment, she implored the help of his kindness with greater insistence… Seeing the ardor of our faith and the tenacity of our perseverance in prayer, the Lord ends up by having pity on us and giving us what we desire.

The Canaanite woman’s daughter was “troubled by a demon.” Once the bad agitation of our thoughts has been driven out and the knots of our sins untied, serenity of spirit will return to us as well as the ability to act correctly… If, following the example of the Canaanite woman, we persevere in prayer with unshakeable firmness, our Creator’s grace will be present to us. It will correct all the errors in us, it will sanctify all that is impure, it will pacify all agitation. For the Lord is faithful and just. He will forgive our sins and will purify us from every stain if we cry to him with the attentive voice of our heart.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

20 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Bernard of Clairvaux,

(1091-1153)

SAINT BERNARD
Abbot and Doctor of the Church
(1091-1153)

        Bernard was born at the castle of Fontaines, in Burgundy. The grace of his person and the vigor of his intellect filled his parents with the highest hopes, and the world lay bright and smiling before him when he renounced it forever and joined the monks at Citeaux. All his brothers followed Bernard to Citeaux except Nivard, the youngest, who was left to be the stay of his father in his old age. “You will now be heir of everything,” said they to him, as they departed. “Yes,” said the boy; “you leave me earth, and keep heaven for yourselves; do you call that fair?” And he too left the world. At length their aged father came to exchange wealth and honor for the poverty of a monk of Clairvaux. One only sister remained behind; she was married, and loved the world and its pleasures. Magnificently dressed, she visited Bernard; he refused to see her, and only at last consented to do so, not as her brother, but as the minister of Christ. The words he then spoke moved her so much that, two years later, she retired to a convent with her husband’s consent, and died in the reputation of sanctity.

        Bernard’s holy example attracted so many novices that other monasteries were erected, and our Saint was appointed abbot of that of Clairvaux. Unsparing with himself, he at first expected too much of his brethren, who were disheartened at his severity; but soon perceiving his error, he led them forward, by the sweetness of his correction and the mildness of his rule, to wonderful perfection. In spite of his desire to lie hid, the fame of his sanctity spread far and wide, and many churches asked for him as their Bishop. Through the help of Pope Eugenius III., his former subject, he escaped this dignity; yet his retirement was continually invaded: the poor and the weak sought his protection; bishops, kings, and popes applied to him for advice; and at length Eugenius himself charged him to preach the crusade. By his fervor, eloquence, and miracles Bernard kindled the enthusiasm of Christendom, and two splendid armies were despatched against the infidel. Their defeat was only due, said the Saint, to their own sins.

        Bernard died in 1153. His most precious writings have earned for him the titles of the last of the Fathers and a Doctor of Holy Church.

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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Saturday, August 19th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 19:13-15.


Saturday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

19 August  2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;

for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 19:13-15.

Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them,
but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

 

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
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Celebrates Daily TV Mass from Loretto Abbey in Toronto,

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Daily TV Mass  Saturday, August 19, 2017

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Saturday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

19 August  2017

Commentary of the day

Saint Maximus of Turin (?-c.420), Bishop
Homily 58, on the Easter Mystery; PL 57, 363

“The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these”

What a great and splendid gift God has given us, my brothers ! In his Easter mystery… Christ’s resurrection causes what used only recently to perish in sin to be reborn in the innocence of babes. Christ’s simplicity makes childhood his very own. A child is without rancor, does not know deceit, dares not strike. Thus this child who has become a Christian does not give way to anger when insulted, does not defend himself when stripped of everything, does not hit back if someone strikes him. The Lord even demands that we pray for our enemies, give up our tunics and cloaks to robbers, and turn the other cheek (Mt 5:39f).

This childhood in Christ goes beyond mere human childhood. The latter pays no attention to sin, the former repels it. The latter owes its innocence to its weakness, the former to its virtue. It is worthy of even more accolades: its hatred of evil comes from its will, not from its powerlessness… Certainly, we can encounter the wisdom of old age in a child and the innocence of the youth in aged persons. And love that is upright and true can mature the young: “For the age that is honorable comes not with the passing of time, nor can it be measured in terms of years, but by understanding” (Wsd 4:8). But to the apostles who were already of mature age, the Lord said: “Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3). He sends them back to the very beginning of their lives and encourages them to re-find their childhood so that these men, whose strength is already declining, should be reborn to innocence of heart. “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit” (Jn 3:5).

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

__________________________________

Saturday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

19 August  2017

Saint of the day

St. John Eudes,

Priest

(1601-1680)

SAINT JOHN EUDES
Priest
(1601-1680)

        John was born in the year 1601, of religious and distinguished parents, at a village commonly known as Ri in the diocese of Seez in France.

        While still a boy, after being refreshed with the Bread of Angels, he made a vow of perpetual chastity.  At school,where he was very proficient in his studies, he was conspicuous for his remarkable piety. He had the greastest love for the Blessed Virgin,and burned with a marvelous love for his neighbor.

        He enrolled himself in the Congregation of the Oratory (founded by Cardinal) de Berullé and was ordained a priest at Paris. He was made rector of the Oratorian house at Caen, but later regretfully withdrew from the  congregation so that he might educate suitable young men for the ministry of the Church.

        Accordingly, with five associates, he founded a congregation of priests and gave it the most holy names of Jesus and Mary. He opened the first seminary at Caen, and it was followed afterwards by many others elsewhere. That he might recall women of immoral life to the Christian life, he founded the Institute of Our Lady of Charity, of which most noble tree, the Congregation of the Good Shepherd of Angers is a branch.

        Among his other works of charity is the Society of the Admirable Heart of the Mother of God. Burning with singular love towards the most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, by divine inspiration, he was the first to promote their liturgical worship. As an apostolic missionary he preached the Gospel in many villages and cities.

        Weakened almost to death by  so many labors, on the tenth of the Nones of August, in the year 1680, he peacefully expired.

The Roman Breviary [1964]

_________________________________

Father,
you chose the priest John Eudes
to preach the infinite riches of Christ.
By his teaching and example
help us to know you better
and live faithfully in the light of the gospel.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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THE LORD IS KIND AND MERCIFUL

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Friday, August 18th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 19:3-12


Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

18 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 19:3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’
and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?”
He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”
(His) disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
He answered, “Not all can accept (this) word, but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

 

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Celebrates Daily TV Mass from Loretto Abbey in Toronto,

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of

Daily TV Mass  Friday, August 18, 2017

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Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

18 August 2017

Commentary of the day

The Roman Missal
Nuptial blessing

“The two shall become one flesh”

Father,
to reveal the plan of your love,
you made the union of husband and wife
an image of the covenant between you and your people.
In fulfilment of this sacrament,
the marriage of Christian man and woman
is a sign of the marriage between Christ and the Church (Eph 5,32).
Father, stretch out your hand, and bless N. and N.
And take them under your protection.

Lord,
grant that as they begin to live this sacrament
they may share with each other the gifts of your love
and become one in heart and mind
as witnesses to your presence in their marriage.
Help them to create a home together
and give them children to be formed by the gospel
and to have a place in your family.

Give your blessings to N., your daughter,
so that she may be a good wife and mother, caring for the home,
faithful in love for her husband, generous and kind.
Give your blessings to N., your son,
so that he may be a faithful husband and a good father.
Father,
grant that as they come together to your table on earth,
so they may one day have the joy of sharing your feast in heaven.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

______________________________

Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

18 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga,

Priest

(1901-1952)

Saint Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga
Priest
(1901-1952)

Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga was born in Viña del Mar, Chile, on the 22nd of January 1901; he was orphaned when he was four years old by the death of his father. His mother had to sell, at a loss, their modest property in order to pay the family’s debts. As a further consequence, Alberto and his brother had to go to live with relatives and were often moved from one family to another. From an early age, therefore, he experienced what it meant to be poor, to be without a home and at the mercy of others.

He was given a scholarship to the Jesuit College in Santiago. Here he became a member of the Sodality of Our Lady and developed a lively interest in the poor, spending time with them in the most miserable neighborhoods every Sunday afternoon.

When he completed his secondary education in 1917, Alberto wanted to become a Jesuit, but he was advised to delay the realization of this desire in order to take care of his mother and his younger brother. By working in the afternoons and evenings, he succeeded in supporting them; at the same time, he studied law at the Catholic University. In this period, he maintained his care for the poor and continued to visit them every Sunday. Obligatory military service interrupted his studies, but once he fulfilled this duty he went on to earn his degree early in August 1923.

On the 14th of August 1923 he entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Chillán. In 1925 he went to Córdoba, Argentina, where he studied humanities. In 1927 he was sent to Spain to study philosophy and theology.

However, because of the suppression of the Jesuits in Spain in 1931, he went on to Belgium and continued studying theology at Louvain. He was ordained a priest there on the 24th of August 1933, and in 1935 obtained a doctorate in pedagogy and psychology. After having completed his Tertianship in Drongen, Belgium, he returned to Chile in January 1936. Here he began his activity as professor of religion at Colegio San Ignacio and of Pedagogy at the Catholic University of Santiago. He was entrusted with the Sodality of Our Lady for the students, and he involved them in teaching catechism to the poor. He frequently directed retreats and offered spiritual direction to many young men, accompanying several of them in their response to the priestly vocation and contributing in an outstanding manner to the formation of many Christian laymen.

In 1941 Father Hurtado published his most famous book: “Is Chile a Catholic Country?” The same year he was asked to assume the role of Assistant for the Youth Movement of the Catholic Action, first within the Archdiocese of Santiago and then nationally. He performed these roles with an exceptional spirit of initiative, dedication and sacrifice.

In October 1944, while giving a retreat, he felt impelled to appeal to his audience to consider the many poor people of the city, especially the numerous homeless children who were roaming the streets of Santiago. This request evoked a ready and generous response. This was the beginning of the initiative for which Father Hurtado is especially well-known: a form of charitable activity which provided not only housing but a home-like milieu for the homeless: “El Hogar de Cristo”.

By means of contributions from benefactors and with the active collaboration of committed laity, Father Hurtado opened the first house for children; this was followed by a house for women and then one for men. The poor found a warm home in “El Hogar de Cristo”. The houses multiplied and took on new dimensions; in some houses there were rehabilitation centers, in others trade-schools, and so on. All were inspired and permeated by Christian values.

In 1945 Father Hurtado visited the United States to study the “Boys Town” movement and to consider how it could be adapted to his own country. The last six years of his life were dedicated to the development of various forms in which “El Hogar” could exist and function.

In 1947 Father Hurtado founded the Chilean Trade Union Association (ASICH) to promote a union movement inspired by the social teaching of the Church.

Between 1947 and 1950, Father Hurtado wrote three important works: on trade unions, on social humanism, and on the Christian social order. In 1951 he founded “Mensaje”, the well-known Jesuit periodical dedicated to explaining the doctrine of the Church.

Pancreatic cancer brought him, within a few months, to the end of his life. In the midst of terrible pain, he was often heard to say, “I am content, Lord.

After having spent his life manifesting Christ’s love for the poor, Father Hurtado was called to the Lord on the 18th of August 1952.

From his return to Chile after his Tertianship to his death, a matter of only fifteen years, Father Hurtado lived and accomplished all the works described above. His apostolate was the expression of a personal love for Christ the Lord; it was characterized by a great love for poor and abandoned children, an enlightened zeal for the formation of the laity, and a lively sense of Christian social justice.

Fr. Hurtado was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 23rd, 2005.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Thursday, August 17th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 18:21-35.19:1.


Thursday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

17 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 18:21-35.19:1.

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”
When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

 

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Thursday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

17 August 2017

Commentary of the day

Saint Cyprian (c.200-258), Bishop of Carthage and martyr
The Lord’s Prayer, 23-24

“Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors”

The Lord demands that we ourselves forgive the debts of our debtors just as we, too, ask that our own be forgiven (Mt 6,12). We should know that we cannot receive what we ask with regard to our own sins unless we do the same for those who have sinned against us. And so Christ says elsewhere: “The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,” (Mt 7,2). And the servant who, having been freed from all his debt, was unwilling to forgive that of his fellow servant was thrown into prison. Because he would not spare his fellow, he lost that for which his master had spared him. Christ establishes this even more forcibly in his precepts when he decrees that…: “When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your transgressions,” (Mk 11,25-26).

When Abel and Cain first of all offered sacrifice, God did not look at their offerings but at their hearts (Gn 4,3f.). The one whose offering was pleasing to him was the one whose heart was pleasing to him. Abel, the peaceful and just one, by making his offering to God in innocence, taught others to come forward in the fear of God to offer their gift at the altar, with a simple heart, a sense of justice, harmony and peace. By offering sacrifice to God with such dispositions as these he merited to become a precious offering himself and to be the first to offer the witness of martyrdom. By the glory of his blood he prefigured the Lord’s Passion because he possessed the Lord’s righteousness and peace. Men like these are they who are crowned by the Lord and who will obtain justice along with him on the day of judgement.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Thursday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

17 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Hyacinth,

Dominican Missionary

(1185-1257)

SAINT HYACINTH
Dominican Missionary
(1185-1257)

Hyacinth, the glorious apostle of Poland and Russia, was born of noble parents in Poland, about the year 1185. In 1218, being already Canon of Cracow, he accompanied his uncle, the bishop of that place, to Rome. There he met St. Dominic, and received the habit of the Friar Preachers from the patriarch himself, of whom be became a living copy. So wonderful was his progress in virtue that within a year Dominic sent him to preach and plant the Order in Poland, where he founded two houses.

        His apostolic journeys extended over numerous regions. Austria, Bohemia, Livonia, the shores of the Black Sea, Tartary, and Northern China on the east, and Sweden and Norway to the west, were evangelized by him, and he is said to have visited Scotland. Everywhere multitudes were converted, churches and convents were built; one hundred and twenty thousand pagans and infidels were baptized by his hands. He worked numerous miracles, and at Cracow raised a dead youth to life.

        He had inherited from St. Dominic a most filial confidence in the Mother of God; to her he ascribed his success, and to her aid he looked for his salvation. When St. Hyacinth was at Kiev the Tartars sacked the town, but it was only as he finished Mass that the Saint heard of the danger. Without waiting to unvest, he took the ciborium in his hands, and was leaving the church. As he passed by an statue of Mary a voice said: “Hyacinth, my son, why do you leave me behind? Take me with you, and leave me not to my enemies.” The statue was of heavy alabaster, but when Hyacinth took it in his arms it was light as a reed. With the Blessed Sacrament and the statue he came to the river Dnieper, and walked dry-shod over the surface of the waters.

        On the eve of the Assumption he was warned of his coming death. In spite of a wasting fever, he celebrated Mass on the feast, and communicated as a dying man. He was anointed at the foot of the altar, and died the same day, 1257.

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

 

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Tuesday, August 15th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke 1:39-56.


Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven – Solemnity

15 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 

“Most blessed are you among women,

and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:39-56.

Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant;
from this day all generations will call me blessed.
The Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel ,
remembering his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

 

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Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven – Solemnity

15 August 2017

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

– Solemnity

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Solemnity

        In this festival the Church commemorates the happy departure from life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her translation into the kingdom of her Son, in which she received from Him a crown of immortal glory, and a throne above all the other Saints and heavenly spirits.

        After Christ, as the triumphant Conqueror of death and hell, ascended into heaven, his blessed Mother remained at Jerusalem, persevering in prayer with the disciples, till, with them, she had received the Holy Spirit. She lived to a very advanced age, but finally paid the common debt of nature, none among the children of Adam being exempt from that rigorous law. But the death of the Saints is rather to be called a sweet sleep than death; much more that of the Queen of Saints, who had been exempt from all sin. It is a traditionary pious belief, that the body of the Blessed Virgin was raised by God soon after her death, and taken up to glory, by a singular privilege, before the general resurrection of the dead.

        The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the greatest of all the festivals which the Church celebrates in her honor. It is the consummation of all the other great mysteries by which her life was rendered most wonderful; it is the birthday of her true greatness and glory, and the crowning of all the virtues of her whole life, which we admire single in her other festivals.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven – Solemnity

15 August 2017

Commentary of the day

Saint Germanus of Constantinople (?-733), Bishop
Homily 1 for the Dormition of the Mother of God (PG 98, 346)

“Raised body and soul to the glory of heaven” (Collect of the Feast)

   Living Temple of the most holy divinity of the Only-begotten Son, Mother of God, with thanksgiving I say over and over again that your assumption has in no way set you apart from ordinary christians. You live on without decay yet do not dwell far from this decaying world. Instead, you are close to those who call on you and those who seek you in faith will find you. It was indeed fitting that your soul should always remain strong and alive and your body be immortal. For indeed, how could the dissolution of the flesh reduce you to dust and ashes when it was you who delivered mankind from the destruction of death through the incarnation of your Son?…

      Children watch out and long for their mothers, and mothers love to live with their children. In the same way, since you possessed a maternal love for your Son and your God in your heart, so you should naturally be able to return to his side and God, in his filial love for you, should very rightly allow you to share in his condition. Thus, dead to what has an end, you have transferred to the imperishable dwelling places of eternity where the God, whose life you will share from henceforth, has his home…

      You were his bodily home and now it is he who has become, in return, the place of your rest. “Here is my resting place for ever”, he said (Ps 132[131],14). The resting place of which he speaks is the flesh with which he clothed himself when he had taken it from you, O Mother of God; the flesh in which (as we believe) he revealed himself in the present world and will reveal himself again in the world to come when he comes to judge the living and the dead. Since you are the dwelling of his eternal repose, he removed all corruption from you and took you along with himself since he wished to keep you in his presence and his love. That is why he grants you all you ask of him as to a mother anxious about her children. And everything you wish for, he carries out by his divine power, he who is blessed for ever and ever.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven – Solemnity

15 August 2017

Saint of the day

St. Tarsicius,

Martyr

(3rd century)

St. Tarsicius
Martyr
(3rd century)

        Tarcisius, one of the patron saints of altar boys, has always been an example of youthful courage and devotion. He may have been a deacon, as Damasus compares him to Stephen. In the Passion of Pope Stephen, written in the sixth century, Tarcisius is said to be an acolyte of the pope himself.

        He was accosted and beaten to death on the Appian Way by a mob while carrying the Eucharist to some Christians in prison during one of the fierce Roman persecutions of the third century, probably during that of Valerian. He suffered death rather “than surrender the Sacred Body to the raging dogs“.

        He was buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus, and his relics are claimed by the church of San Silvestro in Capite.

 

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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.”

 

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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

13 August 2017

Commentary of the day

Origen (c.185-253), priest and theologian
Commentary on St Matthew’s Gospel, 11,6; PG 13,919

“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

When we have stood firm during the long watches of the dark night that rules over our time of testing; after we have struggled as best we may…, then let us be assured that towards night’s close, “when the night is advanced and the day is at hand” (Rom 13,12), the Son of God will come to us, walking on the waves. When we see him appearing like this, we will be seized with doubt until at last we clearly understand that it is the Lord who has thus come among us. Still thinking we are seeing a ghost, we will cry out in fear, but at once he will say to us: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

It is possible that these reassuring words will cause a Peter aiming at perfection to rise up within us, who will get out of the boat, sure he has escaped the trial that was tossing him about. To begin with, his wish to meet up with Jesus will enable him to walk on the water. But since his faith is still shaky and he himself is unsure, he notices “how strong the wind was”, becomes frightened, and begins to sink. Still, he escapes this misfortune because he directs this great cry towards Jesus: “Lord, save me!” And scarcely has this other Peter finished saying “Lord, save me!” than the Word stretches out his hand to help him. He catches him just as he begins to drown, reproaching him for his little faith and doubt. However, take note that he did not say: “Unbelieving” but “man of little faith”, and that it is written: “Why did you doubt?”, which is to say: “It is true you have a little faith, but you let yourself be pulled in the opposite direction.” And immediately, Jesus and Peter will get into the boat again, the wind will die down, and the others in the boat will do him homage, saying: “Truly, you are the Son of God.” But only those disciples close to Jesus in the boat spoke such words as these.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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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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Tuesday, August 8th. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew 14:22-36.


Tuesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

In Australia & New Zealand: solemnity and feast of St Mary MacKillop, Virgin

8 August 2017

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea they were terrified.

“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.

 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 14:22-36.

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.”
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

 

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Tuesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

In Australia & New Zealand: solemnity and feast of St Mary MacKillop, Virgin

8 August 2017

Feast of St Mary MacKillop,

Virgin

 

 

Readings of the day in Australia (solemnity) and New Zealand (feast)

First book of Kings 17:8-16

And then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, ‘Up and go to Zarephath, a Sidonian town, and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to give you food.’ So he went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks. Addressing her he said, ‘Please bring a little water in a vessel for me to drink.’ She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. ‘Please’, he said, ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’ ‘As the Lord your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’ But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel: Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’ The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.

Psalm 63, 1-8.

O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory. For your love is better than life, my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, my mouth shall praise you with joy.
On my bed I remember you. On you I muse through the night for you have been my help; in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.

Letter of St Paul to the Colossians 3:12-17

As the chosen of God, the holy people whom he loves, you are to be clothed in heartfelt compassion, in generosity and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other if one of you has a complaint against another. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, put on love, the perfect bond. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together in one body. Always be thankful.
Let the Word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and whatever you say or do, let it be in the name of the Lord Jesus, in thanksgiving to God the Father through him.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 27:55

Many women were there by the cross, watching from a distance, the same women who had followed Jesus and looked after him.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

________________________________________

Tuesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

In Australia & New Zealand: solemnity and feast of St Mary MacKillop, Virgin

8 August 2017

Commentary of the day

Saint Columbanus (563-615), monk, founder of monasteries
Spiritual instructions 1, On faith, 3-5 (cf breviary, Thursday of week seven)

“Through the sea was your way and your path through the deep waters, your footsteps were not seen” (Ps 76,20)

God is everywhere, utterly vast, and everywhere near at hand, according to his own witness of himself: “I am a God at hand and not a God afar off” (Jer 23:23). The God we are seeking is not one who dwells far away from us; we have him within us if we are worthy. For he resides in us like soul in body, if only we are sound members of him, if we are not dead in sins (cf 1Cor 6;15)… In that case, truly does he reside in us who said: “I will live in them and move among them” (Lev 26:11f.; 2Cor 6:16). Yet if we are worthy that he should be in us, then in truth we are quickened by him as his living members, as the apostle Paul says: “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

But who shall explore his highest summit to the measure of this unutterable and incomprehensible being? Who shall examine the secret depths of God? Who shall dare to treat of the eternal source of the universe? Who shall boast of knowing the infinite God, who fills all and surrounds all, who enters into all and passes beyond all, who occupies all and escapes all? Whom “no one has ever seen” (Jn 1:18)? Therefore, let no one venture to seek out the unsearchable things of God, the nature, mode and cause of his existence. These are unutterable, undiscoverable, unsearchable. Only believe with simplicity and yet with firmness that God is and shall be even as he has been, since God is unchanging.

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Tuesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

In Australia & New Zealand: solemnity and feast of St Mary MacKillop, Virgin

8 August 2017

Saints of the day

St. Dominic,

Priest

(1170-1221)

ST DOMINIC
Priest
(1170-1221)

        St. Dominic was born in Spain, in 1170. As a student, he sold his books to feed the poor in a famine, and offered himself in ransom for a slave.

        At the age of twenty-five he became superior of the Canons Regular of Osma, and accompanied his Bishop to France. There his heart was well-nigh broken by the ravages of the Albigenian heresy, and his life was henceforth devoted to the conversion of heretics and the defence of the Faith. For this end he established his threefold religious Order.

        The convent for nuns was founded first, to rescue young girls from heresy and crime. Then a company of apostolic men gathered around him, and became the Order of Friar Preachers. Lastly came the Tertiaries, persons of both sexes living in the world.

        God blessed the new Order, and France, Italy, Spain, and England welcomed the Preaching Friars. Our Lady took them under her special protection, and whispered to St. Dominic as he preached. It was in 1208, while St. Dominic knelt in the little chapel of Notre Dame de la Prouille, and implored the great Mother of God to save the Church, that Our Lady appeared to him, gave him the Rosary, and bade him go forth and preach. Beads in hand, he revived the courage of the Catholic troops, led them to victory against overwhelming numbers, and finally crushed the heresy.

        His nights were spent in prayer; and, though pure as a virgin, thrice before morning broke he scourged himself to blood. His words rescued countless souls, and three times raised the dead to life.

        At length, on the 6th of August, 1221, at the age of fifty-one, he gave up his soul to God.

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

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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Tuesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

In Australia & New Zealand: solemnity and feast of St Mary MacKillop, Virgin

8 August 2017

Saints of the day

St. Mary of the Cross Mackillop,

Virgin

 

St. Mary of the Cross Mackillop,

Virgin

Mary of the Cross MacKillop was born on January 15, 1842 in Melbourne, Australia. Conditions in the mid-nineteenth century were still appallingly primitive. Poverty was rife especially in country areas, religious discrimination was widespread, the plight of the aboriginal people was deplorable, unemployment was common-place and communication was difficult in the extreme. Travel over any distance was for the fearless and tough. Many of the first settlers were of convict origin with little education and many were descendants of Irish Catholics much discriminated against because of their religion and place of origin. The Church had few priests to serve its people who were scattered around rural areas and, as a rule, experiencing poverty. Mary was the first of eight children of Scottish immigrants, Alexander MacKillop and Flora MacDonald. These Catholic parents imbued their children with a great love of their faith. The family was poor, the father often without work because he dabbled in business and politics.

Mary, in her teens, was called upon to assist the family finances by finding employment. At a young age, Mary had increasingly felt the call to live as a religious sister but she still had the obligation to care for her family. While working as a governess in Penola, she met Father Julian Tenison Woods who was parish priest of a large part of South East, South Australia. At that period of Australian history, schools, medical care and any form of social services were lacking, especially for the poor. The Catholic rural poor were especially disadvantaged. Blessed Mary’s dream of a free education for such children corresponded with the dream of Father Woods. He became her mentor and spiritual director and encouraged her vocation.

Together, they developed a plan for a congregation of sisters who would work wherever there was a need but especially in rural areas. They would live in small convents or in whatever style of dwelling that the local people had. It was a courageous plan. In January 1866 the plan was put into action. Mary and her two sisters began teaching in Penola, South Australia, in a stable refurbished by her brother. With the encouragement and mentoring of Father Woods, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart was born. On the advice of Father Woods, Mary moved to the main South Australian city of Adelaide. On August 15, 1867 Mary and her companions professed the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Mary took the name Sister Mary of the Cross. She was joined by other young women, who responded to needsin rural areaswhere they provided, without payment, elementary teaching in religion and secular subjects to poor children who, otherwise had no hope of education. Soon afterwards Mary’s charitable heart opened to the destitute and elderly who were friendless and abandoned in a harsh society without any social welfare.

By 1869 there were sixty sisters working in schools, orphanages and refuges for women. Father Woods and Blessed Mary envisaged the sisters being governed centrally by one superior and being free to go wherever there was a need anywhere in the colonies. In a short time, therefore, the sisters could be found in the other colonies and in New Zealand. A complex set of circumstances led to the Bishop of Adelaide, who was once her friend and benefactor, excommunicating Mary in 1871 for supposed disobedience. Mary accepted the excommunication and the dismissal of many of her sisters with serenity and peace. The Bishop revoked the sentence before his death less than six months later. Mary returned to her work and the majority of the sisters, who had been sent away, returned to the Institute. They were dark days. Mary was advised to go to Rome to seek the help of Pope Pius IX. Crucial for the institute was the concept of central government, which would enable her to send the sisters anywhere there was a need, rather than be confined to a particular diocese.

While in Rome, Mary did not receive final approval for the institute—this came in 1888—but she did receive encouragement from many and especially from her three meetings with Pope PiusIX. She returned to Australia with support for central government. Back in Australia, further problems arose and Mary was ordered to leave Adelaide for Sydney where, in 1885 she was deposed as Mother General. It was not until 1899 that the sisters were free to elect her as their Mother General, an office she held until her death. She accepted these harsh changes and still retained respect for the bishops and priesthood and encouraged her sisters to do the same. Mary was untiring in her zeal for the poor. One of her favourite sayings was, “Never see a need without doing something about it.”

Her devotion to the Sacred Heart, the Blessed Sacrament and Saint Joseph impelled her to love God and His people. Her attention to the will of God enabled her to accept the joys as well as the difficulties that beset her so frequently. She wrote, “The will of God is to me a very dear book and I never tire of reading it.” Throughout her life Mary suffered from ill health and was often confined to bed with severe and debilitating headaches. But she used her illness to come closer to God. While visiting New Zealand when she was sixty years old she suffered a stroke. Her right side was impaired but she learned to write with her left hand and continued in the office of Superior General and even made several visitations to faraway convents. By 1905 deterioration was becoming evident and for the next years she suffered heroically and kept a cheerful, pleasant outlook on life, always speaking of God’s Will.

In 1909 her condition worsened and she died peacefully on August 8, 1909. Her last days were ones of sadness for those who were gathered around her. Cardinal Moran said when he left her, “I have this day attended the death-bed of a saint… Her death will bring many blessings.” One thousand sisters then in the Institute mourned her death. Mary’s remains were removed to the Memorial Chapel at the Motherhouse in North Sydney, NSW, Australia. Three popes, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have prayed at her tomb as have thousands of pilgrims annually from all over the world. The lasting memory many sisters had of Mary was her kindness. It was not just the kindness reflected in all the works for which she had been responsible, nor the kindness of an isolated, aloof person but the kindness which St Paul describes in his first letter to the Corinthians: Love is patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence and is not resentful. Love… elights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, to endure whatever comes(1 Cor.13: 4-7).

During his visit to Sydney for World Youth Day in July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI, in speaking of Mary MacKillop, said “I know that herperseverance in the face of adversity, her plea for justice on behalf of those unfairly treated and her practical example of holiness have become a source of inspiration for all Australians”. The Holy Father spoke again, quoting Mary MacKillop, “Believe in the whisperings of God to your heart. Believe in him. Believe in the power of the Spirit of love”. Mary was so immersed in the presence of her God that she was well placed to hear His whisperings throughout her life.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

©Evangelizo.org 2001-2017

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