Tag Archives: Christianity

Optional Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

St. Maria Goretti (painting 1929)

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God’s grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven. Amen.

— Prayer to St. Maria Goretti


Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Gn 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a

When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them. When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the cities that had grain and rationed it to the Egyptians, since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt. In fact, all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain, for famine had gripped the whole world.

The sons of Israel were among those who came to procure rations.

It was Joseph, as governor of the country, who dispensed the rations to all the people. When Joseph’s brothers came and knelt down before him with their faces to the ground, he recognized them as soon as he saw them. But Joseph concealed his own identity from them and spoke sternly to them.

With that, he locked them up in the guardhouse for three days.

On the third day Joseph said to his brothers:

“Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-fearing man. If you have been honest, only one of your brothers need be confined in this prison, while the rest of you may go and take home provisions for your starving families. But you must come back to me with your youngest brother. Your words will thus be verified, and you will not die.”

To this they agreed. To one another, however, they said:

“Alas, we are being punished because of our brother. We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us, yet we paid no heed; that is why this anguish has now come upon us.”

Reuben broke in, “Did I not tell you not to do wrong to the boy? But you would not listen! Now comes the reckoning for his blood.” The brothers did not know, of course, that Joseph understood what they said, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. But turning away from them, he wept.

Responsorial Psalm33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.

R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.


Gospel Reading: Mt 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:

First, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”


About St. Maria Goretti

St. Maria Goretti was born of a poor family in Corinaldi, Italy, in 1890. Near Nettuno she spent a difficult childhood assisting her mother in domestic duties. She was of a pious nature and often at prayer. In 1902 she was stabbed to death, preferring to die rather than be raped. (Office of Readings)

“It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger (actually Alessandro Serenelli who lived with his father in the same house as the Goretti’s.) burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: “Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance.” With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity.

“The life of this simple girl—I shall concern myself only with highlights—we can see as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God’s grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed and untarnished.

“From Maria’s story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult and hazardous that course may prove. With determination and God’s help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer.

“Not all of us are expected to die a martyr’s death, but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue. This demands strength of character though it may not match that of this innocent girl. Still, a constant, persistent and relentless effort is asked of us right up to the moment of our death. This may be conceived as a slow steady martyrdom which Christ urged upon us when he said: The kingdom of heaven is set upon and laid waste by violent forces.

“So let us all, with God’s grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven.”

Excerpted from a homily at the canonization of Saint Maria Goretti by Pope Pius XII

Patron: Against impoverishment; against poverty; children; children of Mary; girls; loss of parents; martyrs; rape victims; young people in general.

Things to Do:

  • Please visit this site for a more detailed account of St. Maria Goretti’s life and Alessandro Serenelli’s conversion.
  • This saint’s feast day is a wonderful launching point to teach our children about purity, chastity and modesty. Sex education should be taught by the parents with a Catholic approach. Young girls can use St. Maria as a model.
  • A highly recommended book is St. Maria Goretti: In Garments All Red by Rev. Godfrey Poage. Young teens to adult will enjoy this account of her life.

via Catholic Culture

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Optional Memorial of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Martyrs of Rome

“It was through envy and jealousy that the greatest and most upright pillars of the Church were persecuted and struggled unto death…. First of all, Peter, who because of unreasonable jealousy suffered not merely once or twice but many times, and, having thus given his witness, went to the place of glory that he deserved. It was through jealousy and conflict that Paul showed the way to the prize for perseverance. He was put in chains seven times, sent into exile, and stoned; a herald both in the east and the west, he achieved a noble fame by his faith….”

“Around these men with their holy lives there are gathered a great throng of the elect, who, though victims of jealousy, gave us the finest example of endurance in the midst of many indignities and tortures. Through jealousy women were tormented, like Dirce or the daughters of Danaus, suffering terrible and unholy acts of violence. But they courageously finished the course of faith and despite their bodily weakness won a noble prize.”

— Pope Clement I, third successor of St. Peter


Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Gn 22:1b-19

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering on a height that I will point out to you.” Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well, and with the wood that he had cut for the burnt offering, set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar. Then he said to his servants: “Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you.” Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham: “Father!” he said. “Yes, son,” he replied. Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “Son,” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.” Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh; hence people now say, “On the mountain the LORD will see.” Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessingBall this because you obeyed my command.”

Abraham then returned to his servants, and they set out together for Beer-sheba, where Abraham made his home.

Responsorial Psalm115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (9) I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your kindness, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
“Where is their God?”

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

 They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Their makers shall be like them,
everyone who trusts in them.
The house of Israel trusts in the LORD;
he is their help and their shield.

R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel ReadingMt 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, ”Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.


First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (see Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in A.D. 57-58.

There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in A.D. 49-50. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city “caused by the certain Chrestus” [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius’s death in A.D. 54. Paul’s letter was addressed to a church with members from Jewish and gentile backgrounds.

In July of A.D. 64, more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, a “great multitude” of Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.

Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in A.D. 68 at the age of thirty-one.

Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians.

Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

Symbols: Red is the color for marytrs; red rose symbol of martyrdom; crown, symbolizing victory over death and sin; white horse with a white banner and cross and sword; fire or flames; palm, symbol of victory.

Things to Do:

  • St. Augustine gives us thoughts on why we celebrate the martyrs:

    Christians celebrate the memory of the martyrs with religious ceremony in order to arouse emulation and in order that they may be associated with their merits and helped by their prayers. But to none of the martyrs do we erect altars as we do to the God of martyrs; we erect altars at their shrines. For what bishop standing at the altars over the bodies of martyrs ever said: We offer to Peter or Paul or Cyprian? Mass is offered to God who crowned the martyrs, at the shrine of the martyrs, so that the very spot may remind us to arouse in ourselves a more fervent charity toward those whom we imitate and toward Him who gives us the power to do so.

  • Bake a special dessert, either some recipe originating from Rome, or the highlighted nameday cakes.
  • This feast was created with the reform of the General Calendar in 1969. Many Roman martyrs feasts were removed from the General Calendar, since there wasn’t too much historical information about them. This feast celebrates the nameless men and women who were martyred in Nero’s Circus in the year 64 AD.

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Calendar

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Faith Aloud, a St. Louis-based religious group that advocates for abortion rights, began an online petition drive calling on Akin to apologize. The Rev. Krista Taves of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville said Akin’s comment “shows how very little he knows about liberals, and how very little he knows about God.” “I’m a liberal because I love God and all God’s creation,” Taves said. “ I value equality, fairness and compassionate justice because my faith informs my politics.”

Faith Aloud, a St. Louis-based religious group that advocates for abortion rights, began an online petition drive calling on Akin to apologize.

The Rev. Krista Taves of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville said Akin’s comment “shows how very little he knows about liberals, and how very little he knows about God.”

“I’m a liberal because I love God and all God’s creation,” Taves said. “ I value equality, fairness and compassionate justice because my faith informs my politics.”

Akin comments draw criticism from religious leaders

I love the quote above. It shows just how much certain “religious groups” know God so well that they support killing inutero but defend life after birth like there is some difference.

However, when you think about it. These people may very well know God better than all of us – especially the Church (you know Rome…). That is because their “God” is a deity of their own invention – their ego – themselves.

That said my God is creator of heaven and earth and “was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.”

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Citing financial concerns, the Washington Theological Union has announced that it will close in 2013. Founded by six religious orders in 1968, the graduate school of theology and ministry has 1,400 alumni.

Citing financial concerns, the Washington Theological Union has announced that it will close in 2013. Founded by six religious orders in 1968, the graduate school of theology and ministry has 1,400 alumni.

Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Washington Theological Union to close

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Old Calendar: Our Lady of Perpetual Help (historical)

Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a 15th Century M...

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help (or of Perpetual Succour) is a Byzantine icon from the late middle ages and has resided in Rome since the late 1400s. The Eastern Catholics call it “Holy Theotokos of the Passion.”

The image depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a blue mantle and veil. On the left side is the Archangel Michael, carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion of Jesus. On the right is the Archangel Gabriel carrying the cross and nails. The Christ child rests in her arms and looks intently at the cross.

Tradition states that the icon memorializes an occasion in which the young Christ awoke from a dream in which He saw the instruments of His passion. Mary comforted Him, but remained solemn since she knew that that the dream was a portent of her Son’s future passion. The icon brilliantly captures both the reality of the incarnation and the reality of the crucifixion of Christ in one single image that mystically links the events to Mary – who was present for each.

The icon was brought to Rome by a pious merchant, who desired that the picture should be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the church of San Matteo, Via Merulana, between St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran.

The rascally French invaded Rome in 1812 and destroyed the church – and the icon disappeared.

In 1865, the icon was rediscovered to the joy of many. Pope Pius IX as a boy had prayed before the icon in the church of San Matteo before it was lost during the French invasion. Pius IX took great interest when the icon was finally rediscovered – since he had been especially devoted to it. He subsequently approved a liturgical feast in commemoration of the icon. The Redemptorists especially revered the image for its profound spiritual meaning.

Today it is one of the most popular images of Our Lady and it is one of the few images that is universally revered in every rite of the Catholic Church – East to West.

Excerpted from Canterbury Tales

Things to Do:

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year


Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on thee, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary.


O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fill my soul when I pronounce thy sacred name, or even only think of thee. I thank God for having given thee, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely pronouncing thy name: let my love for thee prompt me ever to hail thee, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Read more: EWTN Devontionals

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    Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue Discusses Roles of Laity, Bishops’ Conferences at Its 80th Meeting

    Chapel of the Holy Cross, Hellenic College and...
    Chapel of the Holy Cross, Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA (Interior), viaWikipedia

    WASHINGTON—The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation held its 80th meeting at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary in Crestwood, New York, June 6-8. The members reviewed major events in the lives of their churches, and heard presentations on the role of the laity in the Church and intermediate levels of ecclesial authority.

    Thomas Bird, Ph.D., of Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, New York, gave a presentation on “The Role of the Laity in the Catholic Church: Points for Reflection.” Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Ph.D., of Brown University presented on “Some Reflections on the Laity in Ancient Syriac Christianity.” Father Nicholas Apostola of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas gave a presentation on the role of the laity in the Church from an Orthodox perspective.

    On the question of regional structures of Church authority, Orthodox members reported on the second meeting of the new Orthodox Episcopal Assembly, which took place in Chicago in May. Father Joseph Komonchak, professor emeritus of religious studies at The Catholic University of America (CUA), delivered a paper on bishops’ conferences in the Catholic Church. This included an analysis of Pope John Paul II’s 1998 Apostolic Letter Apostolos Suos on the theological and juridical nature of episcopal conferences. The members decided to further investigate these areas.

    They also discussed two reports released at the end of their last meeting on finding a common way to determine the date of Easter and steps that could be taken to reunite the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The next two meetings were scheduled for October 27-29, 2011, and June 5 to 7, 2012.

    The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation is chaired jointly by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans and Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh. Due to the Metropolitan’s absence because of illness, Rev. Dr. Thomas FitzGerald, dean of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, co-chaired this meeting on his behalf.

    Since its establishment in 1965, the North American Consultation has issued 25 agreed statements, which are available at www.usccb.org/seia/orthodox_index.shtml and the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) website at www.scoba.us/resources/orthodox-catholic.html.

    via USCCB (Office of Media Relations)

    Any time I hear about the Orthodox and Catholic Churches coming together to discuss issues of interest and unity, I get butterflies in my stomach. To think that the two lungs of the Church may actually reunite in my lifetime is something that I think is not only possible of would be such a great outpouring of grace that I am certain most would find it to be a defining moment of their lives.

    Over the next couple of days I plan on reading and commenting on the three linked documents above. Keep in mind that the Catholic Churches, those in full communion with the See of Peter and the Orthodox Churches, those with verifiable Apostolic origin, are the only two branches of Christianity that validly retain all seven sacraments, which include the Real Presence of Our Blessed Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Moreover, it is only the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches that can rightly be defined as “churches” unlike Protestant “ecclesial communities” (Dominus Iesus).

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    Optional Memorial of Sts. Thomas More (Martyr) and John Fisher (Bishop and Martyr); Optional Memorial of St. Paulinus of Nola (Bishop and Confessor)

    Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher via Wikipedia

    Comfort in tribulation can be secured only on the sure ground of faith holding as true the words of Scripture and the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    St. Thomas More

    The story of Saint Sir Thomas More one for, pardon the pun, for all seasons. I recall watching the film version of the play mentioned below, A Man for All Seasons, and marveling at the conviction of this Catholic layperson.

    Yes, St. Sir Thomas More was an attorney and a brilliant man but it is often these men that falter. Just look at the many Catholics that took this oath, saving their life in this world but at the risk of their souls in the next; Henry the VIII himself being the primary example of this.

    I can not help but wonder, would I have such conviction under such circumstances? Would my wife and family rise to the occasion and support a call to conscience that leads to bloody martyrdom? Can we expect the same from those Catholic “rock stars” that speak, teach and preach around the country and the world today?

    Saint Thomas More, pray for us.

    Saint John Fisher, pray for us.

    Saint Paulinus, pray for us.


    Read the Bible at Mass

    First Reading: Gn 15:1-12, 17-18

     

    The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:

    “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.”

    But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what good will your gifts be, if I keep on being childless and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?” Abram continued, “See, you have given me no offspring, and so one of my servants will be my heir.”

    Then the word of the LORD came to him:

    “No, that one shall not be your heir; your own issue shall be your heir.”

    He took him outside and said:

    “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”

    Abram put his faith in the LORD, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

    He then said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession.”

    “O Lord GOD,” he asked, “how am I to know that I shall possess it?”

    He answered him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”

    Abram brought him all these, split them in two, and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not cut up. Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram stayed with them. As the sun was about to set, a trance fell upon Abram, and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him.

    When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, which passed between those pieces. It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying:

    “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River the Euphrates.”


    Responsorial Psalm105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9

     

    R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

    Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
    make known among the nations his deeds.
    Sing to him, sing his praise,
    proclaim all his wondrous deeds.

    R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

    Glory in his holy name;
    rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
    Look to the LORD in his strength;
    seek to serve him constantly.

    R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

    You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
    sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
    He, the LORD, is our God;
    throughout the earth his judgments prevail. 

    R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

    He remembers forever his covenant
    which he made binding for a thousand generations—
    Which he entered into with Abraham
    and by his oath to Isaac.

    R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.


    Gospel: Mt 7:15-20

    Jesus said to his disciples:

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

    So by their fruits you will know them.”


    On Today’s Celebration

    St. Thomas More

    Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger via Wikipedia

    His belief that no lay ruler has jurisdiction over the church of Christ cost Thomas More his life.

    Beheaded on Tower Hill, London, July 6, 1535, he steadfastly refused to approve Henry VIII’s divorce and remarriage and establishment of the Church of England.

    Described as “a man for all seasons,” More was a literary scholar, eminent lawyer, gentleman, father of four children and chancellor of England. An intensely spiritual man, he would not support the king’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Nor would he acknowledge Henry as supreme head of the church in England, breaking with Rome and denying the pope as head.

    More was committed to the Tower of London to await trial for treason: not swearing to the Act of Succession and the Oath of Supremacy. Upon conviction, More declared he had all the councils of Christendom and not just the council of one realm to support him in the decision of his conscience.

    Four hundred years later, in 1935, Thomas More was canonized a saint of God. Few saints are more relevant to our time. In fact, in 2000, Pope John Paul II named him patron of political leaders. The supreme diplomat and counselor, Thomas More did not compromise his own moral values in order to please the king, knowing that true allegiance to authority is not blind acceptance of everything that authority wants. Henry himself realized this and tried desperately to win his chancellor to his side because he knew More was a man whose approval counted, a man whose personal integrity no one questioned. But when Thomas resigned as chancellor, unable to approve the two matters that meant most to Henry, the king felt he had to get rid of Thomas.

    Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

    Patron: Adopted children; diocese of Arlington, Virginia; civil servants; court clerks; difficult marriages; large families; lawyers; diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida; politicians; politicos; statesmen; step-parents; widowers.

    Things to Do:


    St. John Fisher

    John Fisher by Hans Holbein the Younger via Wikipedia

    John Fisher is usually associated with Erasmus, Thomas More and other Renaissance humanists. His life, therefore, did not have the external simplicity found in the lives of some saints. Rather, he was a man of learning, associated with the intellectuals and political leaders of his day. He was interested in the contemporary culture and eventually became chancellor at Cambridge. He had been made a bishop at thirty-five, and one of his interests was raising the standard of preaching in England. Fisher himself was an accomplished preacher and writer. His sermons on the penitential psalms were reprinted seven times before his death. With the coming of Lutheranism, he was drawn into controversy. His eight books against heresy gave him a leading position among European theologians.

    In 1521 he was asked to study the problem of Henry VIII’s marriage. He incurred Henry’s anger by defending the validity of the king’s marriage with Catherine and later by rejecting Henry’s claim to be the supreme head of the Church of England.

    In an attempt to be rid of him, Henry first had him accused of not reporting all the “revelations” of the nun of Kent, Elizabeth Barton. John was summoned, in feeble health, to take the oath to the new Act of Succession. He and Thomas More refused because the Act presumed the legality of Henry’s divorce and his claim to be head of the English church. They were sent to the Tower of London, where Fisher remained fourteen months without trial. They were finally sentenced to life imprisonment and loss of goods.

    When the two were called to further interrogations, they remained silent. Fisher was tricked, on the supposition he was speaking privately as a priest, and declared again that the king was not supreme head. The king, further angered that the pope had made John Fisher a cardinal, had him brought to trial on the charge of high treason. He was condemned and executed, his body left to lie all day on the scaffold and his head hung on London Bridge. More was executed two weeks later.

    Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

    Patron: Those persecuted for the Faith.

    Symbols: Palm

    Things to Do:


    St. Paulinus of Nola

    Icon of St. Paulinus of Nola via All-Merciful Savior Orthodox Mission

    In 353 Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus was born of a prominent Bordeaux family. He received his education in the school of the rhetorician Ausonius. At an early age he attained the dignity of senator and then of consul. As governor of Campania, he chose Nola as his seat. Here he was converted to the faith by St. Felix of Nola. He resigned his position and returned to Gaul, where St. Martin of Tours restored his eyesight.

    Despite personal remonstrances, Paulinus was ordained a priest in Spain, and from there he returned to do honor at the grave of his sainted spiritual father. In 409 he became bishop of Tours. Paulinus was an author and poet; he corresponded with the great saints and scholars of his time, Ambrose and Augustine. During the Vandal invasion he used every possible means to feed the poor. When a poor widow asked for money to ransom her son, he gave himself into slavery. With God’s aid he returned to his flock and died at the age of seventy-eight in 431. His last words were: “I will prepare a lamp for My anointed” (Ps. 131). His particular virtue was love toward the poor.

    Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

    Excerpts on the Saints via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year

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    thelyricsofmyworld:

    Dare You To Move
    Switchfoot
    The Beautiful Letdown

    This is fairly deep. And it certainly applies to bearing witness to one’s faith in Christ.

    Life in Him exposes the darkness to the light of Truth. Thus there is often fallout.

    Life in Him is not “worldly.” Thus you face resistance.

    When a man or woman carries their cross daily in cooperation with God, tension most certainly exists between the wants for the self and the need to be selfless.

    As we walk out path to Calvary there is always the question – are we being all that God created us to be?

    Only when we recognize “how it is” versus “how it should be” can we truly accept the Truth of our sinful nature and move closer towards eternity with Our Blessed Lord.

    You know, I always love how God is present in every aspect of our lives even when we least expect it because we never intended it.

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    Final Thoughts On the Corapi Situation

    Human tongue. Regional preference to sour high...
    Human tongue. Regional preference to sour highlighted; via Wikipedia

    Okay, I hope that this will be my final thoughts on the subject of Fr. John Corapi but there is one thing that is leaving a sour taste in my mouth and that is the stench of seeming hypocrisy that coming from the com-boxes and even from some of the very bloggers, publishers and apologists that I have come to admire.

    Personally we all know that none of us is without sin. The validly baptized are without Original Sin but the personal sin abounds. With the Catholic blogosphere set ablaze by Fr. Corapi’s statement many of persons have fallen prey to the Enemy. I guess even myself to some degree.

    Top-notch personalities seem like fair-weather friends. For example many bloggers seed their posts with judgment against the Fr. Corapi. Many com-boxers do the same against all parties: priest, bishop, accuser, (and even others – I had to disclose this piece because I am trying not to judge intent or heart but comment on actions) etc.

    I guess what I am ranting about is the disappointment I feel in reading the words of my Catholic brothers and sisters and find that there is truly some sort of judgment being placed on the heart of the parties involved with this scandal sans a few that are focusing on the power of prayer and not judging. (This is what I hope I am doing by the way.)

    With this, the Enemy is certainly showing how wily he is and easily we fall.

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    Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

    Carlo Francesco Nuvolone, St. Aloysius Gonzaga...

    There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials.

    St. Aloysius Gonzaga

    St. Aloysius Gonzaga’s outstanding quality was his radiant purity and the Church praises this perfect innocence with the words, “Thou has made him little less than the angels.” He was baptized in the womb, because his life was in danger, and he made a vow of chastity at the age of nine. When he was sixteen he joined the Society of Jesus and died at the age of twenty-three in 1591 as a result of his devoted nursing of the plague-stricken.

    via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year


    Read the Bible at Mass

    First Reading: Gn 13:2, 5-18

    Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.

    Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support them if they stayed together; their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. There were quarrels between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and those of Lot’s. (At this time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were occupying the land.)

    So Abram said to Lot:

    “Let there be no strife between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land at your disposal? Please separate from me. If you prefer the left, I will go to the right; if you prefer the right, I will go to the left.”

    Lot looked about and saw how well watered the whole Jordan Plain was as far as Zoar, like the LORD’s own garden, or like Egypt. (This was before the LORD had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Lot, therefore, chose for himself the whole Jordan Plain and set out eastward. Thus they separated from each other; Abram stayed in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain, pitching his tents near Sodom. Now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked in the sins they committed against the LORD.

    After Lot had left, the LORD said to Abram:

    “Look about you, and from where you are, gaze to the north and south, east and west; all the land that you see I will give to you and your descendants forever. I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth; if anyone could count the dust of the earth, your descendants too might be counted. Set forth and walk about in the land, through its length and breadth, for to you I will give it.”

    Abram moved his tents and went on to settle near the terebinth of Mamre, which is at Hebron. There he built an altar to the LORD.


    Responsorial Psalm: 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5

    R. (1b) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

    He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
    who thinks the truth in his heart
    and slanders not with his tongue.

    R. He 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. He 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.
    He who does these things
    shall never be disturbed.

    R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.


    Gospel of the Lord: Mt 7:6, 12-14

    Jesus said to his disciples:

    “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

    “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.

    “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”


    St. Aloysius Gonzaga

    The people who mass-produce statues and holy cards have done St. Aloysius Gonzaga no favors. The standard image of the saint as a frail, doe-eyed novice has given us the wrong impression. It may even be responsible for the decline in devotion to St. Aloysius. Yet Aloysius deserves a revival, especially as the patron saint of teenagers.

    The time and place where he grew up — 16th-century Italy — is not very different from 21st century America. It was a lax, morally careless, self-indulgent age. Aloysius saw the decadence around him and vowed not to be part of it. He did not, however, become a kill-joy. Like any teenage boy, he wanted to have a good time, and as a member of an aristocratic family he had plenty of opportunities for amusement. He enjoyed horse races, banquets and the elaborate parties held in palace gardens. But if Aloysius found himself at a social function that took a turn to the lascivious, he left.

     Aloysius did not just want to be good, he wanted to be holy; and on this point he could be tough and uncompromising. He came by these qualities naturally: among the great families of Renaissance Italy, the Medici were famous as patrons of the arts, and the Borgias as schemers, but the Gonzagas were a warrior clan. While most Gonzaga men aspired to conquer others, Aloysius was determined to conquer himself.

    Aloysius wanted to be a priest. When he was 12 or 13, he invented for himself a program he thought would prepare him for the religious life. He climbed out of bed in the middle of the night to put in extra hours kneeling on the cold stone floor of his room. Occasionally, he even beat himself with a leather dog leash. Aloysius was trying to become a saint by sheer willpower. It was not until he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Rome that he had a spiritual director — St. Robert Bellarmine — to guide him.

    Bellarmine put a stop to Aloysius’ boot camp approach to sanctity, commanding him to follow the Jesuit rule of regular hours of prayer and simple acts of self-control and self-denial. Aloysius thought the Jesuits were too lenient, but he obeyed. Such over-the-top zeal may have exasperated Bellarmine, but he believed that Aloysius’ fervor was genuine and that with proper guidance the boy might be a saint.

    To his credit, Aloysius recognized that his bullheadedness was a problem. From the novitiate he wrote to his brother, “I am a piece of twisted iron. I entered the religious life to get twisted straight.”

    Then, in January 1591, the plague struck Rome. With the city’s hospitals overflowing with the sick and the dying, the Jesuits sent every priest and novice to work in the wards. This was a difficult assignment for the squeamish Aloysius. Once he started working with the sick, however, fear and disgust gave way to compassion. He went into the streets of Rome and carried the ill and the dying to the hospital on his back. There he washed them, found them a bed, or at least a pallet, and fed them. Such close contact with the sick was risky. Within a few weeks, Aloysius contracted the plague himself and died. He was 23 years old.

    In the sick, the helpless, the dying, St. Aloysius saw the crucified Christ. The man of the iron will who thought he could take Heaven by sheer determination surrendered at last to divine grace.

    Excerpted from Saints for Every Occasion, Thomas J. Craughwell

    Patron: AIDS care-givers; AIDS patients; Catholic youth; Jesuit students; relief from pestilence; sore eyes; teenage children; teenagers; young people; youth.

    Symbols: cross or crucifix; lilies; crown at his feet; rosary;
    Often portrayed as: a Jesuit with a cross, lily, and skull.

    Things to Do:

    • At first glance, imitating St. Aloysius seems almost impossible, as he did much penance and praying. But he did have to overcome the bad habits of offensive language. Examine my own habits. Do I uplift others by my tongue, or do I use language that people may question whether I am a good Christian? Do I take the name of God in vain? Do I curse? Do I blaspheme? Do I use profanity or obscene language? I will pray to St. Aloysius to ask God for the graces to overcome my weaknesses in this area.
    • Instead of cooking a special treat for this day, perhaps try a light dinner or lunch, maybe a simple soup and bread to imitate this fasting saint. We have highlighted a vegetable soup, or minestrone from Italy, but pick your favorite to serve.

    via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year

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