Friday, October 21, 2011









TODAY'S GOSPEL: OCT. 21: LUKE 12: 54 - 59



VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Given below is the text of an English-language note published yesterday afternoon by the Holy See Press Office on the subject of the Holy See and Libya following the death of Colonel Gadaffi. (IMAGE: RADIO VATICANA)

"The news of the death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi marks the end of a much too long and tragic phase of a brutal struggle to bring down a harsh and oppressive regime.

"This dramatic event obliges us yet again to reflect on the immense toll of human suffering which accompanies the affirmation and collapse of any system which is not based on the respect and dignity of the human person, but rather on the prevailing affirmation of power.

"It is hoped now that the Libyan people might be spared further violence due to a spirit of revenge, and that the new leaders can undertake as soon possible efforts necessary for bringing peace and rebuilding in a spirit of solidarity, based on justice and the rule of law. May the international community also be committed to generously helping in the rebuilding of the nation.

"For its own part, the small Catholic community will continue to offer its own witness and service to all people, especially in the charitable and health fields. The Holy See will assist the Libyan people with the instruments available to it in the field of international relations with a spirit of promoting justice and peace.

"In this regard, it is necessary to keep in mind that it is a constant practice that when the Holy See establishes diplomatic relations, it recognises States and not governments. For this reason the Holy See has not proceeded in establishing a formal recognition of the National Transitional Council (CNT) as the government ofLibya. Given that the CNT is now acting effectively as the government in Tripoli, the Holy See considers it the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, in conformity with international law.

"The Holy See has already had contacts with the new Libyan authorities. Firstly, the Secretariat of State, which has the responsibility for the diplomatic relations of the Holy See, has been in contact with the Libyan Embassy to the Holy See following the political changes in Tripoli. During his recent participation at the General Assembly of the United Nations, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, had the opportunity to speak to Abdurrahman M. Shalgham, permanent representative of Libya to the United Nations. More recently, Archbishop Tommaso Caputo, apostolic nuncio to Libya, who is based inMalta, travelled to Tripoli for a three-day visit (from 2-4 October) in which he met Mahmoud Jibril, prime minister of the CNT. Archbishop Caputo was also received by the minister for foreign affairs.

"During these various meetings the importance of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Libyawas affirmed by both sides. The Holy See renewed its support for the Libyan people and for the transition. The Holy See wished the new authorities every success in their rebuilding the country. On their own behalf, the leaders of the new Libya expressed their appreciation for the Holy Father's humanitarian appeals and the efforts of the Church in Libya through its services in hospitals and help centres run by thirteen religious communities (six in Tripolitania and seven in Cirenaica)".

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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Joseph Weterings, the new ambassador of the Netherlands to the Holy See. In his address to the diplomat the Pope recalled how the Holy See's contribution to international diplomacy "consists largely in articulating the ethical principles that ought to underpin the social and political order, and in drawing attention to the need for action to remedy violations of such principles.

"It does so, evidently, from the standpoint of the Christian faith", he added. "Christianity has always pointed to reason and nature as the sources of the norms on which a state of law should be built. Hence the diplomatic dialogue in which the Holy See engages is conducted neither on confessional nor on pragmatic grounds but on the basis of universally applicable principles that are as real as the physical elements of the natural environment".

Benedict XVI continued his English-language remarks: "In acting as a voice for the voiceless and defending the rights of the defenceless, including the poor, the sick, the unborn, the elderly, and the members of minority groups who suffer unjust discrimination, the Church seeks always to promote natural justice as it is her right and duty to do. While recognising with humility that her own members do not always live up to the high moral standards that she proposes, the Church cannot do other than continue to urge all people, her own members included, to seek to do whatever is in accordance with justice and right reason and to oppose whatever is contrary".

He then went on to enumerate a number of areas of shared concern for the Holy See and the Netherlands, including the need to promote global peace through just resolution of conflicts, opposing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, promoting self-reliance in emerging countries, and defending human dignity. He also recognised the "generous humanitarian response of the Dutch people when emergency aid is needed around the world".

The Holy Father spoke of his pleasure at "the steps that the Dutch government has taken to discourage drug abuse and prostitution", and concluded by expressing his appreciation at the promotion of freedom of religion in theNetherlands which, he said, "is a matter of particular concern to the Holy See at the present time".

Religious freedom, the Pope explained, "is threatened not only by legal constraints in some parts of the world, but by an anti-religious mentality within many societies, even those where freedom of religion enjoys the protection of law. It is therefore greatly to be hoped that your government will be vigilant, so that the freedom of religion and freedom of worship will continue to be protected and promoted, both at home and abroad".

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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present an international congress dedicated to St. Catherine, Doctor of the Church and co-patron of Europe. The congress will be held in Rome and Siena from 27 to 29 October.

The congress has as its title "'Virgo digna Coelo'. Catherine and her heritage on the 550th anniversary of her canonisation" and has been organised by the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences in collaboration with the Dominican Order, the archdiocese of Siena and the St. Catherine International Study Centre. Today's press conference was presented by Fr. Bernard Ardura O. Praem., president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; Umberto Utro, curator of the Christian antiquities section of the Vatican Museums, and Fr. Bernardino Prella O.P., assistant for Malta and Italy of the Master of the Order of Friars Preachers.

Fr. Ardura pointed out that "the figure of St. Catherine extends far beyond her own earthly existence and takes on a powerful symbolic value which, as we approach the Year of Faith, serves to remind us of the unshakeable faith which she possessed and which made her spiritual mother to so many Christians". He went on to explain that the forthcoming congress will be divided into four sessions "to facilitate a more profound examination of the life and influence of the saint" who, he said, "also enjoyed great recognition among theologians, to the point that on 4 October 1970 Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church, for her exalted theology and her influence in the renewal of that discipline".

The first session of the congress will see a contribution from Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The second session will be dedicated to the cause of canonisation of St. Catherine, including an examination of its documents and a review of models of female sanctity between 1300 and 1400. The third session will focus on the relationship between St. Catherine and the religious orders of her day. "In the fourth session", Fr. Ardura continued, "we will see how it is possible to study and celebrate St. Catherine today, because her memory has remained alive among Christians and her influence has never ceased to enrich the Church, mainly though hagiographies and literary culture, and in particular thanks to her magnificent Letters".

On its last day the congress will move to Siena for the inauguration of an exhibition entitled "Catherine of Siena and the process of canonisation". It will also hold its last session there, dedicated to "St. Catherine in art". Professor Utro explained that the session will take place in the chapter house of the convent of St. Dominic in Siena, and will be presided by Paolo Nardi, prior general of the International St. Catherine Association and curator of the exhibition. Other art historians will also participate, including Diega Giunta, the leading specialist on artistic representations of St. Catherine.

In his remarks Fr. Prella explained how, "in her writings, ... St. Catherine uses lively and audacious images to communicate the Truth that is Jesus Christ, freely addressing herself to everyone, to the humble and the great of the earth and of the Church. She firmly denounced the sins of the laity - and even more so those of monks, clergy and prelates - yet always offering everyone the hope of infinite divine mercy".

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VATICAN CITY, 21 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences seven prelates from the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Peter Joseph Connors of Ballarat.

- Bishop William Wright of Maitland-Newcastle.

- Bishop Anthony Colin Fisher O.P. of Parramatta.

- Bishop Gerard Joseph Hanna bishop of Wagga Wagga.

- Bishop Kevin Michael Manning, apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Wilcannia-Forbes.

- Bishop Peter William Ingham of Wollongong.

- Bishop Max Leroy Davis, military ordinary.

This evening he is scheduled to received in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


The Mighty Macs Poster

MIGHTY MACS RELEASE: It's 1971. Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time ... and she's about to embark on an adventure for the ages. A new era is dawning in the country and in collegiate athletics, where a national champion will be crowned for the first time in women's basketball.

In the lead up to this historical season, major universities are preparing their game plans to win that first title. Meanwhile a tiny all-women's Catholic college in Philadelphia has a more modest goal: find a coach before the season begins. Providentially, Cathy Rush is about to find Immaculata College.

Recently married, Cathy is dealing with the aftermath of a truncated playing career. While cultural norms would have her staying at home, she's willing to do the hard work necessary to help her new team reach their goals—or perhaps she's just trying to achieve her unfulfilled dreams through them.

From the beginning, her challenges are as imposing as the big-school teams Immaculata will face on the court. Cathy learns there is no gymnasium on campus, she receives little support from the school's Mother Superior, and the school is in dire financial straits. To top it off, she may not even have enough players to field a team!

While it appears the Macs don't have a prayer, all hope is not lost. With the help of Sister Sunday—a spunky assistant coach—and the support of a booster club of elderly nuns, Coach Rush creates a new game plan that just might bring the team—and the school—together.

Will this pioneer buck cultural norms and spur her rag-tag team to unexpected heights? Or will her hard-driving ways create a wedge between the coach and everyone around her? One thing's for certain: there's never been anyone like Cathy Rush at Immaculata!

THE MIGHTY MACS is based on the incredible true story of the 1971-72 Immaculata College team that started in obscurity but became the original Cinderella story in women's basketball. This team of pioneers went from barely making that inaugural tournament to the first dynasty in their game. And Cathy Rush, the woman that was ahead of her time, became immortalized when she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

THE MIGHTY MACS stars Carla Gugino as Cathy Rush; David Boreanaz as her husband, NBA referee Ed Rush; Marley Shelton as Sister Sunday; and Academy Award and Tony Award winner Ellen Burstyn as Mother St. John. The film was written, directed, and produced by Tim Chambers. The film's executive producers are Pat Croce, the former president of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, and Vince Curran, a successful businessman and former basketball star at Penn. Curran and Chambers are founders and partners of Quaker Media.

Get ready to cheer on a true Cinderella team when THE MIGHTY MACS opens in theaters on October 21.

Quaker Media

THE MIGHTY MACS is the first theatrical release from Quaker Media, an innovative production company that creates, produces, manages, distributes, and syndicates unique media content. Operated by Tim Chambers (writer/director of THE MIGHTY MACS) and Vince Curran (executive producer), Quaker Media is named in honor of the alma mater of the two founders: The University of Pennsylvania.

In Theaters October 21Credits


Bishop Donal McKeown launches new App for Vocations

BISHOPS OF IRELAND REPORT: “This App is an invitation to engage with a process of generating hope, solidarity and healing in a society that is fractured and hurting in many ways.” – Bishop McKeown

I feel a little out of my depth today being asked to launch an App. I may be on Facebook – but I’m a Blackberry man myself and yesterday I had to ask a nephew – who’s a quarter of my age – what an App is. But I suppose it is a bit like baptising a child – you can do something for it even if you haven’t been part of its creation!

Some will caricature this as just a churchy gimmick that will try to give the impression of modernity to something that is passé, a vain attempt to market something that belongs to yesterday. I know that, for very many young people in modern Ireland, the word ‘vocation’ is not a meaningful term and they have little idea what clergy do, other than for an hour or two on Sundays. But the social media is where young people are. From my own little venture onto Facebook, I am very aware that this is how news travels. This is the market place, this is the public square. Like Jesus, who hung around where people were, and who thus met Matthew the tax collector, the Samaritan woman and the lepers, if we claim to speak in his name, we have to be in the public forum, like St Paul on the Areopagus, ready to engage with people where they are.

But, like all vocations promotion, this App is not primarily a recruitment exercise. It seeks to engage with people on their journey and helping them to engage with their own story. Vocations work never seeks just to get people to sign up, to sign their life away. It can only be there to help people get into conversation with themselves, with their own life story – and thus help them to discern where call in calling them, what truth that lies in the depths of their hearts, how they can be truest top themselves.

But the call to discern vocation is taking place in a very different context from the one in which I grew up. And I am not just referring to modern Ireland. As Pope Benedict pointed out very clearly at World Youth Day and in Germany last month, this is a time of crisis, not just for Church but also for Western society.

It is certainly a time of crisis for Church. I like the phrase that I heard recently which talked of Europe going through a period of the deforestation of Christian memory. The language of God is a foreign tongue to very many people in countries where the Christian vocabulary was highly developed in its speech about life and reality. Pope Benedict also spoke about some people in Church who see the Church merely as an institution, without letting it touch their hearts, or letting the faith touch their hearts. And, if they see Church merely as being one among many competing organisations in a popularity poll in civil society, then they will reject the Church when their dream for church fails to materialise.

But the Pope is also aware of the crisis in civil society. And this is not just an economic or fiscal crisis. He speaks of the inconstancy and fragmentation of many people’s lives and exaggerated individualism. Even some decades ago Viktor Frankl was aware that Western society gives people the means by which to live but not a meaning for which to live. The absence of any reason for meaningfulness in an individual’s life is not unconnected with the plague of suicide and self-harm – and the apparent inability of our culture to produce anything of much beauty or grace. That was why Pope John Paul II’s letter of 2003 to the Church in Europe focussed specifically on the Church as called to generate hope in a society that had lost its sense of direction and seemed unable to create a reason for hope.

So what is Vocations work calling people to in this cultural and ecclesiastical crisis? Pope Benedict told the Germans that the Church will need again and again to set herself apart from her surroundings, to become in a certain sense “unworldly”. After all, Jesus came because God so loved the world – but he came among us not merely to confirm the world and to be its companion but in order to change it. The world certainly needs affirmation – but it also needs salvation.

And I was very struck during the summer at WYD. I spent about 10 says with a group of remarkably clued-in young people. None was cynical about Church. Their only complaint seemed to be that Church was not asking enough from them. I saw people who were seeking something great in three areas:

  • They wanted to do something great and beautiful with their lives, they were committed to generosity and service and wanted to break the claustrophobic mould that is self-indulgence.
  • They showed a remarkable interest in Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body. And seemed very dissatisfied with the current preoccupation with superficial physical appearance and with sex.
  • They had a hunger for spirituality and for prayer. And silent adoration was one of their great sources of nourishment.

That is the broad environment into which this App is being launched. It is a call to all young people to consider how they want to spend their lives and what they want to leave as their contribution to the welfare of society. Next year we celebrate the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and very shortly after that we have the European Vocations Service conference in Maynooth – all followed by World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013. I believe that this is a time of grace for this society to stop moaning and start moving. This is a critical time in which the future of this society is being cast. This App is an invitation to engage with a process of generating hope, solidarity and healing in a society that is fractured and hurting in many ways. It is about freeing people from being prisoners of the past and helping them to be architects rather than victims of the future. I hope that it will help some little groups of rebellious believers to exercise a prophetic role in the footsteps of Jesus who walked in the market place.

And if Blackberry breaks down again, I might even think of converting to an iPhone!!!

Further information:

Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444



The veteran Australian journalist Bernie Keenan first fell in love with the notion of news and news gathering as a youngster watching the Saturday morning movie newsreels.

By age 16 his passion for news and his interest in photography led him to apply for his first job at Channel Nine in Brisbane. After a stint as a film editor, he was sent on the road as a news cameraman, embarking on a distinguished career that would see him cover many of the most significant stories of the era. Most recently, he was chief of staff in the ABC's Sydney newsroom.

Bernard Patrick Keenan was born on March 17, 1945, in Sunnybank, Queensland, one of four children of James Keenan and his wife Mary (nee O'Connor) and, by his own accounts, something of a handful.

He travelled to Poland and Rome to cover the election of Pope John Paul II, covered consecutive Americas Cups and even shot a documentary on the then up-and-coming young band ABBA in Sweden

He delighted in telling stories about his undistinguished record as a scholar who couldn't wait to leave school and begin work.

In 1975 he was dispatched to what was then called Portuguese Timor to cover the fighting but visa complications delayed the crew's departure from Darwin. The next morning, they were beaten to the flashpoint by their network colleagues from Melbourne, who would become part of the ill-fated Balibo Five.

In recent years he devoted a lot of his time to volunteering with the Little Sisters of the Poor aged care facility in Randwick and at Redfern's Teresa House shelter.

Keenan died after a heart attack as he was preparing for a run with his training partners in Coogee. The day before he had attended a memorial service for his long-time friend the ABC pilot Gary Ticehurst, who died in a helicopter crash on August 18.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The small girl hit by a truck, was not rescued by passers-by. Another vehicle broke her legs and left her in a coma. The video of her tragedy has sparked millions of comments on the immorality and materialism that dominate today's China.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A two year old girl hit by two vehicles and ignored by at least 18 passers-by, died this morning at a hospital in Foshan (Guangdong). The images of the tragedy, spread on the internet, have inflamed the minds of millions of bloggers who criticize the materialism and immorality of the Chinese society.

CCTV images dating to Oct. 13 show the little Wang Yue (familiarly called Yueyue) being hit by a truck that fails to stop to care for her, leaving her bleeding on the road.

In the following seven minutes, there are dozens of people who pass by on foot or by bicycle and nobody stops to help her. Another truck strikes her and breaks her legs. Only a woman sweeper drags her to the edges of the road until her mother, a migrant who runs a small shop, rushes to her (see the tragic videohere).

Taken to the hospital, the doctors declared small Yueyue, in a coma, would not survive. Today, the declaration of death for "systemic organ failure."

The accident and now her death has caused millions of blog comments that call into question the morality of China. "I hope - says a comment - that this little angel who was discarded by society can act as a wake-up call to the nation about the importance of moral education."

The two drivers who hit Yueyue are in prison. The Communist Party of Guangdong is planning to pass a law requiring people to help those who are in obvious difficulty. But bloggers say that education is needed before laws.

It must be said that many in China many are reluctant to help people in need because sometimes "good Samaritans" are accused of being guilty and obliged to pay those whom they helped.

In any case, for many bloggers, the death of small Yueyue is the confirmation that the traditional values of China have by now been totally consumed and materialism has dried up every impulse of compassion and morality.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "When faced with the death of a man, sentiments of Christian piety, besides human sentiments must always prevail. One cannot therefore rejoice over an epilogue, the death of Colonel Gaddafi, thats belongs to a period of conflict that lasted for such a long time and caused the sacrifice of many lives", said a statement sent to Agenzia Fides , by His Exc. Mgr. Tommaso Caputo, Apostolic Nuncio to Libya and Malta.
"Now more than ever, the sincere desire to ensure everyone in the Country a new period, based on a new-found social harmony is necessary to make headway on all sides", continues Mgr. Campbell. "From the moment one has the reconstruction of the Country, at all levels, the goal of national reconciliation appears to be the main opportunity in which to tie the need for social justice and respect for the dignity of every person, as an essential condition for an orderly and equal social development. Over the past four years, travelling throughout the country and in particular our religious operating in thirteen different government health facilities in Cyrenaica and in Tripolitania, I have come to believe that the Libyans heart is nourished by the desire of peace and harmony. This is what we hope for the future", concluded the Apostolic Nuncio.
A note from the Vatican Press Office said that "now it is to be hoped that, sparing the Libyan people from further violence due to a spirit of revenge or vengeance, the new government leaders may undertake as soon as possible the necessary work of pacification and reconstruction, with a spirit of inclusion, on the basis of justice and law, and that the international community is generously committed to helping the rebuilding of the country".
"On its behalf - continues the Vatican note - the small Catholic community will continue to offer its testimony and selfless service in particular in the charitable and health field, and the Holy See will work in favor of the Libyan people with the tools available in the field of international relations in the spirit of promoting justice and peace".
Recalling the normal practice of the Holy See to establish diplomatic relations, the note points out that since the National Transitional Council (NTC) "has been established as a government in an effective way in Tripoli, the Holy See considers it the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, in accordance with international law". After recalling the various meetings between representatives of the Holy See and the NTC, the note concludes: "On the occasion of these various meetings, the importance of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Libya was stressed by both parties . The Holy See had the opportunity to renew its support for the Libyan people and its support for the transition. The Holy See wished every success to the new authorities in the reconstruction of the Country. The leaders of the new Libya have announced its appreciation for the humanitarian appeals of the Holy Father and the Church's involvement in Libya, especially through the service in hospitals or other care centers of 13 religious communities (6 in Tripoli and 7 in Cyrenaica). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 21/10/2011)


St. Hilarion
Feast: October 21
Feast Day:
October 21
291 at Gaza, Palestine
371 at Cyprus

Hilarion was born in a little town called Tabatha, five miles to the south of Gaza; he sprang like a rose out of thorns, his parents being idolaters. He was sent by them very young to Alexandria to study grammar, when, by his progress in learning, he gave great proofs of his wit, for which, and his good temper and dispositions, he was exceedingly beloved by all that knew him. Being brought to the knowledge of the Christian faith, he was baptized and became immediately a new man, renouncing all the mad sports of the circus and the entertainments of the theatre, and taking no delight but in the churches and assemblies of the faithful. Having heard of St. Antony, whose name was famous in Egypt, he went into the desert to see him. Moved by the example of his virtue he changed his habit and stayed with him two months, observing his manner of life, his fervour in prayer, his humility in receiving the brethren, his severity in reproving them, his earnestness in exhorting them, and his perseverance in austerities. But not being able to bear the frequent concourse of those who resorted to St. Antony to be healed of diseases or delivered from devils, and being desirous to begin to serve God like St. Antony in perfect solitude, he returned with certain monks into his own country. Upon his arrival there, finding his father and mother both dead, he gave part of his goods to his brethren and the rest to the poor, reserving nothing for himself.
He was then but fifteen years of age, this happening about the year 307. He retired into a desert seven miles from Majuma, toward Egypt, between the seashore on one side and certain fens on the other. His friends forewarned him that the place was notorious for murders and robberies, but his answer was that he feared nothing but eternal death. Everybody admired his fervour and extraordinary manner of life. In the beginning of his retirement certain robbers who lurked in those deserts asked him what he would do if thieves and assassins came to him? He answered, "The poor and naked fear no thieves." "But they may kill you," said they. "It is true," said the holy man, "and for this very reason I am not afraid of them, because it is my endeavour to be always prepared for death." So great fervour and resolution in one so young and so tender as our saint was both surprising and edifying to all who knew him. His constitution was so weak and delicate that the least excess of heat or cold affected him very sensibly; yet his whole clothing consisted only of a piece of sackcloth, a leather coat, which St. Antony gave him, and an ordinary short cloak. Living in solitude, he thought himself at liberty to practice certain mortifications which the respect we owe to our neighbour makes unseasonable in the world. He cut his hair only once a year, against Easter; never changed any coat till it was worn out, and never washed the sackcloth which he had once put on, saying, "It is idle to look for neatness in a hair shirt."
At his first entering on this penitential life he renounced the use of bread; and for six years together his whole diet was fifteen figs a day, which he never took till sunset. When he felt the attacks of any temptation of the flesh, being angry with himself and beating his breast, he would say to his body, "I will take order, thou little ass, that thou shalt not kick; I will feed thee with straw instead of corn; and will load and weary thee, that so thou mayest think rather how to get a little bit to eat than of pleasure." He then retrenched part of his scanty meal, and sometimes fasted three or four days without eating; and when after this he was fainting, he sustained his body only with a few dried figs and the juice of herbs. At the same time, praying and singing, he would be breaking the ground with a rake, that his labour might add to the trouble of his fasting. His employment was digging or tilling the earth, or, in imitation of the Egyptian monks, weaving small twigs together with great rushes in making baskets whereby he provided himself with the frugal necessaries of life. During the first four years of his penance he had no other shelter from the inclemencies of the weather than a little hovel or arbour which he made himself of reeds and rushes which he found in a neighbouring marsh, and which he had woven together. Afterwards he built himself a little cell, which was still to be seen in St. Jerome's time; it was but four feet broad and five feet in height, and was a little longer than the extent of his body, so that a person would have rather taken it for a grave than a house. During the course of his penance he made some alteration in his diet, but never in favour of his appetites. From the age of twenty-one he for three years lived on a measure which was little more than half a pint of pulse steeped in cold water a-day; and for the next three years his whole food was dry bread with salt and water. From his twenty-seventh year to his thirty-first he ate only wild herbs and raw roots; and from thirty-one to thirty-five he took for his daily food six ounces of barley bread a day, to which he added a few kitchen herbs, but half boiled and without oil. But perceiving his sight to grow dim and his body to be subject to an itching with an unnatural kind of scurf and roughness, he added a little oil to this diet. Thus he went on till his sixty-fourth year when, conceiving by the decay of his strength that his death was drawing near, he retrenched even his bread, and from that time to his eightieth year his whole meal never exceeded five ounces. When he was fourscore years of age there were made for him little weak broths or gruels of flour and herbs, the whole quantity of his meat and drink scarce amounting to the weight of four ounces. Thus he passed his whole life; and he never broke his fast till sunset, not even upon the highest feasts or in his greatest sickness.
Anyone who considers the condition of man in this state of trial and the malice of the enemy of our salvation will easily conceive that our saint did not pass all these years, nor arrive at so eminent a degree of virtue and sanctity, without violent temptations and assaults from the infernal spirit; in all which he was victorious by the assistance of omnipotent grace. Sometimes his soul was covered with a dark cloud, and his heart was dry and oppressed with bitter anguish; but the deafer heaven seemed to his cries on such occasions, the louder and the more earnestly he persevered knocking. To have dropped the shield of prayer under these temptations would have been to perish. At other times his mind was haunted and his imagination filled with impure images, or with the vanities of the theatre and circus. The phantoms of the enemy St. Hilarion dissipated by casting himself upon his knees and signing his forehead with the cross of Christ; and, being enlightened and strengthened by a supernatural grace, he discovered his snares, and never suffered himself to be imposed upon by the artifices by which that subtle fiend strove to withdraw him from holy prayer, in which the saint spent the days and great part of the nights.
St. Hilarion had spent above twenty years in his desert when he wrought his first miracle. A certain married woman of Eleutheropolis, who was the scorn of her husband for her barrenness, sought him out in his solitude, and by her tears and importunities prevailed upon him to pray that God would bless her with fruitfulness; and before the year's end she brought forth a son, A second miracle much enhanced the saint's reputation. Elpidius, who was afterwards prefect of the praetorium, and his wife Aristeneta, returning from a visit of devotion they had made to St. Antony to receive his blessing and instructions, arrived at Gaza, where their three children fell sick, and their fever proving superior to the power of medicines they were brought to the last extremity, and their recovery despaired of by the physicians. The mother, like one distracted, addressed herself to Hilarion, who, moved by her tears, went to Gaza to visit them. Upon his invoking the holy name of Jesus by their bedside, the children fell into a violent sweat, by which they were so refreshed as to be able to eat, to know their mother, and kiss the saint's hand. Upon the report of this miracle many flocked to the saint, desiring to embrace a monastic life under his direction. Till that time neither Syria nor Palestine were acquainted with that penitential state; so that St. Hilarion was the first founder of it in those countries, as Antony had been in Egypt. Among other miraculous cures, several persons possessed by devils were delivered by our saint. The most remarkable were Marisitas, a young man of the territory about Jerusalem, so strong that he boasted he could carry seven bushels of corn; and Orion, a rich man of the city of Aila, who, after his cure, pressed the saint to accept many great presents, at least for the poor. But the holy hermit persisted obstinately to refuse touching any of them, bidding him bestow them himself. St. Hilarion restored sight to a woman of Facidia, a town near Rinocorura, in Egypt, who had been blind ten years. A citizen of Majuma, called Italicus, who was a Christian, kept horses to run in the circus against a Duumvir of Gaza, who adored Mamas, which was the great idol of Gaza, that word signifying in Syriac, Lord of men. Italicus, knowing that his adversary had recourse to spells to stop his horses, came to St. Hilarion, by whose blessing his horses seemed to fly while the others seemed fettered; upon seeing which the people cried out that Mamas was vanquished by Christ. From the model which our saint set, a great number of monasteries were founded all over Palestine. St. Hilarion visited them all on certain days before the vintage.
St. Hilarion was informed by revelation in Palestine, where he then was, of the death of St. Antony. He was then about sixty-five years old, and had been for two years much afflicted at the great number of bishops, priests, and people that were continually resorting to him, by which his contemplation was interrupted. At length, regretting the loss of that sweet solitude and obscurity which he formerly enjoyed, he resolved to leave that country, to prevent which the people assembled to the number of ten thousand to watch him. He told them he would neither eat nor drink till they let him go; and seeing him pass seven days without taking anything they left him. He then chose forty monks who were able to walk without breaking their fast (that is, without eating till after sunset), and with them he travelled into Egypt. On the fifth day he arrived at Peleusium; and in six days more at Babylon, in Egypt. Two days after he came to the city of Aphroditon, where he applied himself to the deacon Baisanes, who used to let dromedaries to those who had desired to visit St. Antony, for carrying water which they had occasion for in that desert. The saint desired to celebrate the anniversary of St. Antony's death by watching all night in the place where he died. After travelling three days in a horrible desert they came to St. Antony's mountain, where they found two monks, Isaac and Pelusius, who had been his disciples, and the first his interpreter. It was a very high steep rock of a mile in circuit, at the foot of which was a rivulet, with abundance of palm-trees on the borders. St. Hilarion walked all over the place with the disciples of St. Antony. Here it was, said they, that he sang, here he prayed; there he laboured, and there he reposed himself when he was weary. He himself planted these vines and these little trees; he tilled this piece of ground with his own hands; he dug this basin with abundance of labour, to water his garden, and he used this hoe to work with several years together. St. Hilarion laid himself upon his bed and kissed it as if it had been still warm. The cell contained no more space in length and breadth than what was necessary for a man to stretch himself in to sleep. On the top of the mountain (to which the ascent was very difficult, turning like a vine) they found two cells of the same size, to which he often retired to avoid a number of visitors and even the conversation of his own disciples: they were hewn in a rock, nothing but doors being added to them. When they came to the garden, "Do you see," said Isaac, "this little garden planted with trees and pot-herbs? About three years since a herd of wild asses coming to destroy it, he stopped one of the first of them and, striking him on the sides with his staff, said, 'Why do you eat what you did not sow?' From that time forward they only came hither to drink, without meddling with the trees or herbs." St. Hilarion asked to see the place where he was buried. They carried him to a bye place; but it is uncertain whether they showed it him or no; for they showed no grave, and only said that St. Antony had given the strictest charge that his grave should be concealed, fearing lest Pergamius, who was a very rich man in that country, should carry the body home and cause a church to be built for it.
St. Hilarion returned from this place to Aphroditon, and, retiring with only two disciples into a neighbouring desert, exercised himself with more earnestness than ever in abstinence and silence; saying, according to his custom, that he then only began to serve Jesus Christ. It had not rained in the country for three years, that is, ever since the death of St. Antony, when the people in deep affliction and misery addressed themselves to St. Hilarion, whom they looked upon as St. Antony's successor, imploring his compassion and prayers. The saint, sensibly affected with their distress, lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and immediately obtained a plentiful rain. Also many labourers and herdsmen who were stung by serpents and venomous beasts were perfectly cured by anointing their wounds with oil which he had blessed and given them. Though oil be the natural and sovereign antidote against poison, these cures by his blessing were esteemed miraculous. The saint, seeing the extraordinary honours which were paid him in that place, departed privately towards Alexandria, in order to proceed to the desert of Oasis. It not being his custom to stop in great cities, he turned from Alexandria into Brutium, a remote suburb of that city, where several monks dwelt. He left this place the same evening, and when these monks very importunately pressed his stay he told them that it was necessary for their security that he should leave them. The sequel showed that he had the spirit of prophecy; for that very night armed men arrived there in pursuit of him, with an order to put him to death. When Julian the Apostate ascended the throne, the pagans of Gaza obtained an order from that prince to kill him, in revenge of the affront he had put upon their god Mamas, and of the many conversions he had made; and they had sent this party into Egypt to execute the sentence. The soldiers, finding themselves disappointed at Brutium, said he well deserved the character of a magician which he had at Gaza. The saint spent about a year in the desert of Oasis, and, finding that he was too well known in that country ever to lie concealed there, determined to seek shelter in some remote island, and, going to Paretonium in Lybia, embarked there with one companion for Sicily. He landed at Pachynus, a famous promontory on the eastern side of the island, now called Capo di Passaro. Upon landing he offered to pay for his passage and that of his companion with a copy of the gospels which he had written in his youth with his own hand; but the master, seeing their whole stock consisted in that manuscript and the clothes on their backs, would not accept of it; he even esteemed himself indebted to this passenger, who by his prayers had delivered his son, who was possessed by a devil, on board the vessel. St. Hilarion, fearing lest he should be discovered by some oriental merchants if he settled near the coast, travelled twenty miles up the country and stopped in an unfrequented wild place; where, by gathering sticks, he made every day a fagot, which he sent his disciple, whose name was Zanan, to sell at the next village, in order to buy a little bread. Hesychius, the saint's beloved disciple, had sought him in the East and through Greece when, at Methone, now called Modon, in Peloponnesus, he heard that a prophet had appeared in Sicily who wrought many miracles. He embarked and arrived at Pachynus; and inquiring for the holy man at the first village, found that everybody knew him; he was not more distinguished by his miracles than by his disinterestedness; for he could never be prevailed upon to take anything, not so much as a morsel of bread, from anyone.
St. Hilarion was desirous to go into some strange country, where not even his language should be understood. Hesychius therefore carried him to Epidaurus in Dalmatia, now Old Ragusa, the ruins of which city are seen near the present capital of the republic of that name. Miracles here again defeated the saint's design of living unknown. St. Hilarion, seeing it impossible to live there unknown, fled away in the night in a small vessel to the island of Cyprus. Being arrived there, he retired to a place two miles from Paphos. He had not been there three weeks when such as were possessed with devils in any part of the island began to cry out that Hilarion, the servant of Jesus Christ, was come. He expelled the evil spirits, but, sighing after the tranquillity of closer retirement, considered how he could make his escape to some other country; but the inhabitants watched him that he might not leave them. After two years Hesychius persuaded him to lay aside that design and retire to a solitary place which he had found twelve miles from the shore, not unpleasantly situated among very rough and craggy mountains, where there was water with fruit-trees, which advice the saint followed, but he never tasted the fruit. St. Jerome mentions that though he lived so many years in Palestine, he never went up to visit the holy places at Jerusalem but once; and then stayed only one day in that city. He went once that he might not seem to despise that devotion; but did not go oftener, lest he should seem persuaded that God or his religious worship is confined to any particular place. His chief reason, doubtless, was to shun the distractions of populous places that as much as possible nothing might interrupt the close union of his soul to God. The saint, in the eightieth year of his age, whilst Hesychius was absent, wrote him a short letter with his own hand in the nature of a last will and testament, in which he bequeathed to him all his riches, namely, his book of the gospels, his sackcloth, hood, and little cloak. Many pious persons came from Paphos to see him in his last sickness, hearing he had foretold that he was to go to our Lord. With them there came a holy woman named Constantia, whose son-in-law and daughter he had freed from death by anointing them with oil. He caused them to swear that as soon as he should have expired, they would immediately commit his corpse to the earth, apparelled as he was, with his hair-cloth, hood, and cloak. His distemper increasing upon him, very little heat appeared to remain in his body, nor did anything seem to remain in him of a living man besides his understanding, only his eyes were still open. He expressed his sense of the divine judgments, but encouraged his soul to an humble confidence in the mercy of his Judge and Redeemer, saying to himself, "Go forth, what cost thou fear? go forth, my soul, what cost thou apprehend? Behold, it is now threescore and ten years that thou hast served Christ; and art thou afraid of death?" He had scarcely spoken these words but he gave up the ghost, and was immediately buried as he had ordered.
St. Hilarion died in 371, or the following year, being about eighty years of age; for he was sixty-five years old at the death of St. Antony. Hesychius, who was in Palestine, made haste to Cyprus upon hearing this news and, pretending to take up his dwelling in the same garden, after ten months found an opportunity of secretly carrying off the saint's body into Palestine, where he interred it in his monastery, near Majuma. It was as entire as it was when alive, and the cloths were untouched. Many miracles were wrought, both in Cyprus and Palestine, through his intercession, as St. Jerome assures us. Sozomen mentions his festival to have been kept with great solemnity in the fifth age. See his life written by St. Jerome before the year 392.
If this saint trembled after an innocent, penitential, and holy life, because he considered how perfect the purity and sanctity of a soul must be to stand before him who is infinite purity and infinite justice, how much ought tepid, slothful, and sinful Christians to fear? Whilst love inflames the saints with an ardent desire of being united to their God in the kingdom of pure love and security, a holy fear of his justice checks and humbles in them all presumption. This fear must never sink into despondency, abjection, or despair; but quicken our sloth, animate our fervour, and raise our courage; it must be solicitous, not anxious. Love and hope must fill our souls with sweet peace and joy, and with an entire confidence in the infinite mercy and goodness of God, and the merits of our divine Redeemer. SOURCE

TODAY'S GOSPEL: OCT. 21: LUKE 12: 54 - 59

Luke 12: 54 - 59
54He also said to the multitudes, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, `A shower is coming'; and so it happens.55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat'; and it happens.56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?57"And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?58As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.59I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper."

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