Sunday, September 30, 2012

St. Jerome


Most of the saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced, but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper! It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

   He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. He also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and a consultant to monk, bishop and pope. St. Augustine said of him, "What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known."

   St. Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible which came to be called the Vulgate. It is not the most critical edition of the Bible, but its acceptance by the Church was fortunate. As a modern scholar says, "No man before Jerome or among his contemporaries and very few men for many centuries afterwards were so well qualified to do the work." The Council of Trent called for a new and corrected edition of the Vulgate, and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church.

   In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia (in the former Yugoslavia). After his preliminary education he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time, and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers.

   After these preparatory studies he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ's life with an outpouring of devotion. Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. On September 30 in the year 420, Jerome died in Bethlehem. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Reading 1 Nemesis 11: 25-29

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.

   Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp. So, when a young man quickly told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, " Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses?aide, said, "Moses, my lord, stop them." But Moses answered him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!"


Psalm 19: 8, 10, 12-13, 14

R. (9a) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Though your servant is careful of them,
very diligent in keeping them,
Yet who can detect failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
of serious sin.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.


Reading 2 James 5: 1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.


Gospel Mk 9: 38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ,  amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

   "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"

Friday, September 28, 2012

The liturgy raises hearts to God like no other prayer, Pope says


VATICAN CITY, September 26 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Benedict says that the public prayer of the Church, known as the liturgy, is a wonderful school of prayer which raises the human heart to God like no other form of worship.

“It is in the liturgy that we ‘lift up our hearts,’ opening ourselves to the word of God as we gather with our brethren in a prayer which rises within us, and which is directed to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit,” the Pope said at his Sept. 26 general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

“As the Second Vatican Council teaches, it is by means of the liturgy that Christ our Redeemer and High Priest continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church. This is the great marvel of the liturgy: God acts, while we are caught up in his action,” the Pope said.

He offered his reflections as part of an ongoing weekly exploration of the role of prayer in the story of salvation.

Pope Benedict explained to the estimated 10,000 pilgrims present that the “liturgy” comes from the Greek meaning “work done by the people and for the people.”

The people in question are the “new People of God, brought into being by Christ” through his passion, death and resurrection. This means it is a people “which does not exist by itself and which is not bound by blood, territory or country, but is brought into being through the Paschal Mystery,” the Pope noted.

It was almost a “chance occurrence,” he said, that the first document approved by the Second Vatican Council was the constitution on the sacred liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concilium.”

“Among the many projects, the text on the sacred liturgy seemed to be the least controversial, and, for this reason, is seen as an exercise in the methodology of conciliar work,” he recalled. As a young priest and academic, Pope Benedict attended the Second Vatican Council as the chief theological advisor or “peritus” to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne.

“But without a doubt,” the Pope stated, “what at first glance seemed a chance occurrence, proved to be the right choice, starting from the hierarchy of themes and most important tasks of the Church.”

“Where God’s gaze is not decisive,” he said, “everything else loses its direction.” The basic criterion for the liturgy, therefore, “is its orientation to God, so that we can share in his work.”

The requirement for a good liturgical celebration, he suggested, is both “prayer and conversation with God, first listening and then answering.”

In that sense, the liturgy is the opposite of how we normally communicate, where internal thoughts usually precede the formulation of external speech.

But in the liturgy “it is the inverse, the words come first,” Pope Benedict said. “God gave us the Word and the Sacred Liturgy gives us the words, and we must enter into their meaning, welcome them within us, be in harmony with them. Thus we become children of God, similar to God.”

He explained that this means there should be a “correlation between what we say with our lips and what we carry in our hearts.” It is this relationship which is “essential, fundamental, to our dialogue with God in the liturgy.”

When we experience the liturgy with this attitude, the Pope said, “it is as if our heart is freed from the force of gravity, which drags it down, and from within rises upwards, towards truth and love, towards God.”

“Dear friends,” the Pope said as he drew to a close, “we celebrate and live the liturgy well only if we remain in an attitude of prayer, united to the Mystery of Christ and his dialogue as the Son with the Father.”

Sunday, September 23, 2012

DAILY SAINTS


St. Padre Pio da Pietrelcina
September 23

20120918_PadrePioSonriendo.jpg


In one of the largest such ceremonies in history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio of Pietrelcina on June 16, 2002. It was the 45th canonization ceremony in Pope John Paul's pontificate. More than 300,000 people braved blistering heat as they filled St. Peter's Square and nearby streets. They heard the Holy Father praise the new saint for his prayer and charity. "This is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching," said the pope. He also stressed Padre Pio's witness to the power of suffering. If accepted with love, the Holy Father stressed, such suffering can lead to "a privileged path of sanctity."

   Many people have turned to the Italian Capuchin Franciscan to intercede with God on their behalf; among them was the future Pope John Paul II. In 1962, when he was still an archbishop in Poland, he wrote to Padre Pio and asked him to pray for a Polish woman with throat cancer. Within two weeks, she had been cured of her life-threatening disease.

   Born Francesco Forgione, Padre Pio grew up in a family of farmers in southern Italy. Twice (1898-1903 and 1910-17) his father worked in Jamaica, New York, to provide the family income.
At the age of 15, Francesco joined the Capuchins and took the name of Pio. He was ordained in 1910 and was drafted during World War I. After he was discovered to have tuberculosis, he was discharged. In 1917 he was assigned to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, 75 miles from the city of Bari on the Adriatic.

   On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet and side.

   Life became more complicated after that. Medical doctors, Church authorities and curiosity seekers came to see Padre Pio. In 1924 and again in 1931, the authenticity of the stigmata was questioned; Padre Pio was not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to hear confessions. He did not complain of these decisions, which were soon reversed. However, he wrote no letters after 1924. His only other writing, a pamphlet on the agony of Jesus, was done before 1924.

   Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, but busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each morning after a 5 a.m. Mass in a crowded church, he heard confessions until noon. He took a mid-morning break to bless the sick and all who came to see him. Every afternoon he also heard confessions. In time his confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; penitents had to take a number so that the situation could be handled. Many of them have said that Padre Pio knew details of their lives that they had never mentioned.

   Padre Pio saw Jesus in all the sick and suffering. At his urging, a fine hospital was built on nearby Mount Gargano. The idea arose in 1940; a committee began to collect money. Ground was broken in 1946. Building the hospital was a technical wonder because of the difficulty of getting water there and of hauling up the building supplies. This "House for the Alleviation of Suffering" has 350 beds.

   A number of people have reported cures they believe were received through the intercession of Padre Pio. Those who assisted at his Masses came away edified; several curiosity seekers were deeply moved. Like St. Francis, Padre Pio sometimes had his habit torn or cut by souvenir hunters.

   One of Padre Pio’s sufferings was that unscrupulous people several times circulated prophecies that they claimed originated from him. He never made prophecies about world events and never gave an opinion on matters that he felt belonged to Church authorities to decide. He died on September 23, 1968, and was beatified in 1999.


Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Reading 1 Wis 2:12, 17-20

The wicked say: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.

   Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.

   With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.

   Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 54:3-4, 5, 6 and 8
R. (6b) The Lord upholds my life.

O God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

For the haughty men have risen up against me,
the ruthless seek my life;
they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

Reading 2 Jas 3:16-4:3
Beloved: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.

   And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

   Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war.

   You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Gospel Mk 9:30-37
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise."

   But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.

   They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they remained silent.

   They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.

   Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Holy Name of Mary






Jesus, enable us to love Mary
as you do.
Mary, help us to love Jesus,
as you do.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Reading 1 Is 50:5-9a

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear;and I have not rebelled,have not turned back.I gave my back to those who beat me,my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;my face I did not shieldfrom buffets and spitting.

   The Lord GOD is my help,therefore I am not disgraced;I have set my face like flint,knowing that I shall not be put to shame.He is near who upholds my right;if anyone wishes to oppose me,let us appear together.Who disputes my right?Let that man confront me.See, the Lord GOD is my help;who will prove me wrong?
Responsorial Psalm Ps 114:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
R. (9) I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

I love the LORD because he has heard
my voice in supplication,
Because he has inclined his ear to me
the day I called.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The cords of death encompassed me;
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow,
And I called upon the name of the LORD,
"O LORD, save my life!"
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Gracious is the LORD and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

For he has freed my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 Jas 2:14-18
What good is it, my brothers and sisters,if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?If a brother or sister has nothing to wearand has no food for the day, and one of you says to them,"Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, "but you do not give them the necessities of the body,what good is it?So also faith of itself,if it does not have works, is dead.

   Indeed someone might say,"You have faith and I have works."Demonstrate your faith to me without works,and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

Gospel Mk 8:27-35
Jesus and his disciples set outfor the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples,"Who do people say that I am? "They said in reply,"John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets."And he asked them,"But who do you say that I am?" Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Christ."

   Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.

   He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

   He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "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 and that of the gospel will save it."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Prayer for Today


Praise to you, saving sacrifice,
offered on the wood of the cross
for me and for all mankind.
Praise to the noble and precious blood,
flowing from the wounds
of the my crucified Lord Jesus Christ
and washing away the sins of the whole world.
Remember, Lord, your creature,
whom you have redeemed with your blood;
I repent my sins,
and I long to put right what I have done.
Merciful Father, take away
all my offenses and sins;
purify me in body and soul,
and make me worthy to taste the holy of holies.

St. Ambrose of Milan

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time


Reading 1 Is 35:4-7a

Thus says the LORD:Say to those whose hearts are frightened:Be strong, fear not! Here is your God,he comes with vindication;with divine recompense he comes to save you.

   Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.

   Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

The God of Jacob keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.


Reading 2 Jas 2:1-5

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, "Sit here, please, " while you say to the poor one, "Stand there, " or "Sit at my feet, " have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?

   Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?

Gospel Mark 7:31-37
Again Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis.

   And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man's ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, "Ephphatha!"-- that is, "Be opened!" -- And immediately the man's ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.

   He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, "He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Dt 4:1-2, 6-8

Moses said to the people: "Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it. Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, 'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.' For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?"

Responsorial Psalm Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5



R. (1a) One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Reading 2 Jas 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27

Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Gospel Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. --For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. -- So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, "Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?" He responded, "Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."

He summoned the crowd again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.

"From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile."



A Prayer for Today


May the strength of God
 guide me this day,
 and may God's power preserve me.

 May the wisdom of God instruct me:
 the eye of God watch over me;
 the ear of God hear me;
 the word of God give sweetness to my speech;
 the hand of God defend me;
 and may I follow the way of God.

 Christ be with me, Christ before me,
 Christ be after me, Christ within me,
 Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
 Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left.
 Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I rise.
 Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
 Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
 Christ in every eye that sees me,
 Christ in every ear that hears me.
- St. Patrick

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pray For The Missions






Dearest Jesus,

Please send us people who love You
and want to share their love with others.

There are so many in this world who
have never heard of You.

Give strength and blessings to those
who already are working to
bring the Good News to Your children.

Missionaries need our prayers and
we beg you to give them what
You know they need.

Thank you Lord.

Prayer

Lord God, I come from dust and to dust I shall return. You, however, existed before all time, and every creature takes its being from you. ...