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Thursday, May 16, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD THURS. MAY 16, 2013 - SHARE BREAKING NEWS

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POPE FRANCIS "THE LORD ALWAYS WANTS US TO MOVE FORWARD" AND LATEST FROM VATICAN

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. MAY 16, 2013

WATCH THE LIFE OF ST. DAMIEN MOLOKAI PART 7 - FREE MOVIE

CARDINAL PELL PENTECOST CATECHESIS FOR THE YEAR OF FAITH IN AUSTRALIA

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 16 : ST. MARGARET OF CORTONA - MIRACLE WORKER

Vatican Radio REPORT-  Saint Paul was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at Mass Thursday morning, and in particular his talent at ‘being a nuisance’, at unsettling people who had grown too comfortable in their faith and imbuing them with that Apostolic zeal that is necessary for the Church to move forward. Emer McCarthy reports:

Pope Francis said that Apostolic zeal, implies "an element of madness, but of spiritual madness, of healthy madness” and proclaiming Christ has its consequences, which can often result in persecution. Nonetheless, stated the Pope, we must not be ‘backseat Christians’ cozy in our comfort zones.

Drawing inspiration from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 22, where Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin, Pope Francis pointed out that the life of the Apostle to the Gentiles was one of "persecution", but that this did not discourage him. The fate of Paul, he stressed, "is a fate with many crosses, but he keeps going, he looks to the Lord and keeps going":

"Paul is a nuisance: he is a man who, with his preaching, his work, his attitude irritates others, because testifying to Jesus Christ and the proclamation of Jesus Christ makes us uncomfortable, it threatens our comfort zones – even Christian comfort zones, right? It irritates us. The Lord always wants us to move forward, forward, forward ... not to take refuge in a quiet life or in cozy structures, no?... And Paul, in preaching of the Lord, was a nuisance. But he had deep within him that most Christian of attitudes: Apostolic zeal. He had its apostolic zeal. He was not a man of compromise. No! The truth: forward! The proclamation of Jesus Christ, forward! ".

Pope Francis noted that St. Paul was a "fiery" individual, but this fire was not limited to his character. It was the fire of his zeal for the Lord, who accompanied the Saint in his ‘pitched battles’. Indeed, continued the Pope, it was the Lord who led him "onwards," to bear witness in Jerusalem and in Rome:

"By the way, I like the fact that the Lord has cared for this diocese, even since then ... We are privileged! And Apostolic zeal is not an enthusiasm for power, for possession. It is something that comes from within, that the Lord wants from us: Christian with Apostolic Zeal. And where does this Apostolic Zeal come from? It comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Paul found Jesus Christ, he encountered Jesus Christ, but not with an intellectual, scientific knowledge – which is important, because it helps us - but with that first knowledge, that of the heart, of a personal encounter. "

Pope Francis continued, this is what pushes Paul to keep going, "to always proclaim Jesus". "He was always in trouble, not in trouble for troubles’ sake, but for Jesus, proclaiming Jesus "this is the consequence". Apostolic zeal, the Pope stressed, can only be understood "in an atmosphere of love." Apostolic zeal, implies "an element of madness, but of spiritual madness, of healthy madness”. Paul "had this healthy madness."

The Pope invited all those present to pray to the Holy Spirit for this Apostolic zeal that is not only the preserve of missionaries. Even in the Church, he warned, there are "lukewarm Christians" who "do not feel like moving forward":

"There are backseat Christians, right? Those who are well mannered, who do everything well, but are unable to bring people to the Church through proclamation and Apostolic zeal. Today we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us all this Apostolic fervor and to give us the grace to be annoying when thin are too quiet in the Church the grace to go out to the outskirts of life. The Church has so much need of this! Not only in distant lands, in the young churches, among people who do not know Jesus Christ, but here in the cities, in our cities, they need this proclamation of Jesus Christ. So let us ask the Holy Spirit for this grace of Apostolic zeal, let’s be Christians with apostolic zeal. And if we annoy people, blessed be the Lord. Onwards, as the Lord says to Paul, ‘take courage!' "
Thursday Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Peter Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso, president and secretary of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace. It was attended by Council staff and staff from Vatican Radio. 

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

POPE TO NEW AMBASSADORS: FINANCIAL CRISIS ROOTED IN REJECTION OF ETHICS
Vatican City, 16 May 2013 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the credential letters of four new ambassadors to the Holy See: Mr. Bolot Iskovich Otunbaev from Kyrgyzstan; Mr. David Shoul from Antigua and Barbuda; Mr. Jean-Paul Senninger from Luxembourg; and Mr. Lameck Nthekela from Botswana. In the address he gave them, the pontiff urged them not to forget the predominance of ethics in the economy and in social life, emphasizing the value of solidarity and the centrality of the human being.
Below is the official English language translation of Pope Francis' address for the New Non-Resident Ambassadors to the Holy See: Kyrgyzstan, Antigua and Barbuda, Luxembourg and Botswana (16 May 2013)

Your Excellencies,

I am pleased to receive you for the presentation of the Letters accrediting you as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See on the part of your respective countries: Kyrgyzstan, Antigua and Barbuda, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Botswana. The gracious words which you have addressed to me, for which I thank you heartily, have testified that the Heads of State of your countries are concerned to develop relations of respect and cooperation with the Holy See. I would ask you kindly to convey to them my sentiments of gratitude and esteem, together with the assurance of my prayers for them and their fellow citizens.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our human family is presently experiencing something of a turning point in its own history, if we consider the advances made in various areas. We can only praise the positive achievements which contribute to the authentic welfare of mankind, in fields such as those of health, education and communications. At the same time, we must also acknowledge that the majority of the men and women of our time continue to live daily in situations of insecurity, with dire consequences. Certain pathologies are increasing, with their psychological consequences; fear and desperation grip the hearts of many people, even in the so-called rich countries; the joy of life is diminishing; indecency and violence are on the rise; poverty is becoming more and more evident. People have to struggle to live and, frequently, to live in an undignified way. One cause of this situation, in my opinion, is in the our relationship with money, and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society. Consequently the financial crisis which we are experiencing makes us forget that its ultimate origin is to be found in a profound human crisis. In the denial of the primacy of human beings! We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old (cf. Ex 32:15-34) has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.

The worldwide financial and economic crisis seems to highlight their distortions and above all the gravely deficient human perspective, which reduces man to one of his needs alone, namely, consumption. Worse yet, human beings themselves are nowadays considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away. We have begun a throw away culture. This tendency is seen on the level of individuals and whole societies; and it is being promoted! In circumstances like these, solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good. A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules. Moreover, indebtedness and credit distance countries from their real economy and citizens from their real buying power. Added to this, as if it were needed, is widespread corruption and selfish fiscal evasion which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The will to power and of possession has become limitless.

Concealed behind this attitude is a rejection of ethics, a rejection of God. Ethics, like solidarity, is a nuisance! It is regarded as counterproductive: as something too human, because it relativizes money and power; as a threat, because it rejects manipulation and subjection of people: because ethics leads to God, who is situated outside the categories of the market. These financiers, economists and politicians consider God to be unmanageable, unmanageable even dangerous, because he calls man to his full realization and to independence from any kind of slavery. Ethics – naturally, not the ethics of ideology – makes it possible, in my view, to create a balanced social order that is more humane. In this sense, I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of Saint John Chrysostom: “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs” (Homily on Lazarus, 1:6 – PG 48, 992D).

Dear Ambassadors, there is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. This would nevertheless require a courageous change of attitude on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and farsightedness, taking account, naturally, of their particular situations. Money has to serve, not to rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them. The Pope appeals for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-centred ethics in the world of finance and economics.

For her part, the Church always works for the integral development of every person. In this sense, she reiterates that the common good should not be simply an extra, simply a conceptual scheme of inferior quality tacked onto political programmes. The Church encourages those in power to be truly at the service of the common good of their peoples. She urges financial leaders to take account of ethics and solidarity. And why should they not turn to God to draw inspiration from his designs? In this way, a new political and economic mindset would arise that would help to transform the absolute dichotomy between the economic and social spheres into a healthy symbiosis.

Finally, through you, I greet with affection the Pastors and the faithful of the Catholic communities present in your countries. I urge them to continue their courageous and joyful witness of faith and fraternal love in accordance with Christ’s teaching. Let them not be afraid to offer their contribution to the development of their countries, through initiatives and attitudes inspired by the Sacred Scriptures! And as you inaugurate your mission, I extend to you, dear Ambassadors, my very best wishes, assuring you of the assistance of the Roman Curia for the fulfilment of your duties. To this end, upon you and your families, and also upon your Embassy staff, I willingly invoke abundant divine blessings.
POPE RECEIVES CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS' EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Vatican City, 16 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning, after celebrating Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel, Pope Francis met with the Executive Committee of Caritas Internationalis, with their president, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for a presentation of their Campaign Against Hunger, which will be launched soon.
POPE'S MESSAGE COMMEMORATING EDICT OF MILAN
Vatican City, 16 May 2013 (VIS) – The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, is visiting Milan, on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, signed by Constantine and Licinius, respectively the emperors of the western and eastern parts of the Roman Empire, in 313. The treaty granted freedom of worship to Christians throughout the Roman Empire, putting an end to religious persecution.
For his visit, Pope Francis, yesterday afternoon, sent a message—through Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., to Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, with greetings to the Patriarch, the participants in the commemoration, as well as to the entire city, “for the importance given to the memory of the historic decision that, decreeing religious freedom for Christians, opened new paths to the Gospel and decisively contributed to the birth of European civilization.”
In the text, the Holy Father expresses the desire that, “today as then, the common witness of Christians of the East and West, sustained by the Spirit of the Risen One, will agree to the spread of the message of salvation in Europe and the entire world and that, thanks to the foresight of civil authorities, the right to publicly express one’s faith will be respected everywhere, and that the contribution that Christianity continues to offer to culture and society in our time will be accepted without prejudice.”
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 16 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience seven prelates from the Puglia Region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
   - Archbishop Domenico Umberto D’Ambrosio of Lecce,
   - Archbishop Domenico Caliandro of Brindisi-Ostuni,
   - Archbishop Filippo Santoro of Taranto,
   - Bishop Domenico Padovano of Conversano-Monopoli,
   - Bishop Vincenzo Pisanello of Oria,
   - Bishop Vito Angiuli of Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca, and
   - Msgr. Luigi Ruperto, diocesan administrator of Nardo-Gallipoli.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 16 May 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed as members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences:
   - Dr. Phillippe Chenaux, Swiss full professor of History of the Modern and Contemporary Church at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University and director of that same university's Centre for Studies and Research on Vatican Council II.
   - Fr. Cosimo Semeraro, S.D.B., full professor of Critical Methodology and Modern and Contemporary History at Rome's Pontifical Salesian University.
The Holy Father also appointed Msgr. Michele De Palma, of the clergy of the Diocese of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi, Italy, as secretary of that same Committee.

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. MAY 16, 2013

John 17: 20 - 26

20"I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word,21that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.22The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,23I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.24Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.25O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me.26I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."

VATICAN OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON CARDINAL O'BRIEN'S LEAVE FROM SCOTLAND

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT

Vatican statement on Cardinal Keith O'Brien | Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews and Edinburgh


Cardinal Keith O'Brien is to leave Scotland for several months, the Vatican has confirmed. The Press Office of the Holy See released the following statement concerning Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien today (Wednesday):
His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews and Edinburgh, for the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last Conclave, and in agreement with the Holy Father, will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance.
Any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See.
There has been no comment from the Cardinal. 
Source: VIS/SCMO

WATCH THE LIFE OF ST. DAMIEN MOLOKAI PART 7 - FREE MOVIE




Part 7 of the life story of St. Molokai shared from Youtube 

STATE OF EMERGENCY IN NIGERIA AS CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION LEADER KILLED - RIP REV. MUSA

Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN, an association that brings together the leading Nigerian Christian denominations including the Catholic Church) in Borno State (in the north-eastern Nigeria), Pentecostal Rev. Faye Pama Musa, was killed in the capital, in Maiduguri, by members of the Islamist sect Boko Haram, shortly after President Goodluck Jonathan had declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa (see Fides 15/05/2013).
According to a first reconstruction of the facts, killers entered the home of the religious leader and killed him in front of his family members.
Fighter planes are also heading towards the north-east, which suggests that the Nigerian Air Force is about to hit targets on its own territory. In Maiduguri the influx of new military reinforcements was welcomed in an atmosphere of tension, with schools and many businesses closed.
According to the National President of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP, the ruling party), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the decision to impose a state of emergency was taken to prevent "terrorists" from proclaiming the secession of the north-east and the creation of their own State. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 16/05/2013)

6 KILLED AND MORE INJURED AS CEILING COLLAPSES IN FACTORY IN CAMBODIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT
The incident occurred this morning in Kampong Speu province, the south of the country. At the time of the collapse there were at least a hundred workers inside the building, rescuers still searching for survivors in the rubble. The excessive weight of the stored material resulted in the collapse.


Phnom Penh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Six people are dead following the collapse of the ceiling in a shoe factory in Kampong Speu town, in the province of the same name in southern Cambodia. The incident occurred in the early hours of the morning and also caused injuries to 11 people, part of the ceiling gave way falling on top of a group of staff at work. Rescue workers are still engaged in the rescue of survivors from the rubble, at the time of the collapse, there were a hundred employees inside the building.
Dave Welsh, director of the Cambodian American Centre for International Labour Solidarity (ACILS), points out that "the factory is large" and it is not currently possible to provide definitive figures on the victims. Various workers are still missing and it is conceivable that, in the coming hours, the toll could rise.

The company is owned by a Taiwanese entrepreneur and, according to some, produces sportswear - especially shoes - for the Japanese brand Asics. Initial findings report that the cause of the collapse is due to the excessive load of products crammed on the floor, causing it to give way.

The garment industry is among the most important in Cambodia and is high on the list for the volume of exports and manpower. It provides employment to over half a million people, out of a total of 14 million inhabitants, the monthly minimum wage was recently increased, rising from 61 dollars to the current 75. The vast majority of companies produce clothing and footwear for the U.S. and European market.
The collapse of the factory in Cambodia brings to mind the dramatic collapse of the factory in Bangladesh, a real tragedy that has shaken the conscience of citizens and producers around the world. At the center of the controversy the model of entrepreneurial development of the Asian continent - exploited by the West - which forces labor and laborers to work in inhuman conditions as well as extremely dangerous conditions. The collapse of a factory-camps in Bangladesh is just the latest, terrible episode in a long series of accidents.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

CARDINAL PELL PENTECOST CATECHESIS FOR THE YEAR OF FAITH IN AUSTRALIA


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
15 May 2013
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
Why Faith Matters is the theme of the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell's annual Pentecost Catechesis to be held at historic St John's College at the University of Sydney on Friday, 17 May.
Already almost 400 youth and young adults from across the city have registered to attend what promises to be a standing room only event.
Organised by Catholic Youth Services (CYS), the evening will begin with an optional Holy Hour at the College Chapel followed by dinner in the college quadrangle where young people will have an opportunity to meet and talk informally with His Eminence. The dinner will be followed by the Cardinal's Pentecost Catechesis in the Great Hall of the College which will include a chance to ask questions about faith, particularly in today's secular society.
This will be followed with dessert, tea and coffee with His Eminence in the College's nearby Brennan Hall.
"The Cardinal's Pentecost Catechesis is always a much anticipated event among young people across the Archdiocese," says Bernard Toutounji, director of CYS explaining that despite teenagers' and their tendency to leave "everything to the last minute," there has been a big demand to be part of this year's event.
Each year Cardinal Pell holds Pentecost consultations with Catholic youth leaders and students
"Registrations have poured in but as there is room for only 400 or so in the Great Hall at St John's, I am urging anyone who wants to attend but hasn't registered to do so as soon as possible," he says.
As with previous years, the Cardinal's Pentecost Catechesis takes a specific theme.
"Last year's theme was Behold the Mystery and this year, as part of the Year of Faith, the theme His Eminence has chosen is Why Faith Matters," Bernard says adding that in today's secular world, this is a question many young people are asking and one many are asked to answer by their peers and fellow uni students or workmates.
In past years pupils from Sydney's Catholic schools have joined members of parish youth groups, the city's university chaplaincies and those from CYS and other affiliated groups for Cardinal Pell's Pentecost Catechesis.
This year however on Friday at 10 am students and staff from the city's Catholic schools will attend the World Youth Day Commissioning Mass at St Mary's Cathedral which will be celebrated by Cardinal Pell and concelebrated by the Bishops of the Archdiocese and WYDRio 2013's chaplains. As part of this important Mass, His Eminence will also introduce his Pentecost message and explain the importance of faith, and why faith matters.
The Great Hall, St John's College
"But some students who are attending the Mass have also signed on be at the Cardinal's Pentecost Catechesis later that night," Bernard says.
Earlier this year, as he does each year, His Eminence held Pentecost consultations with young people from across the Archdiocese.
"Cardinal Pell has always been deeply interested in young people, and the consultations he holds in the lead up to Pentecost are very much looked forward to by Sydney's young people," Bernard says, explaining that not only are they able to discuss their own faith journeys and issues of concern with His Eminence, but since 2001 when Cardinal Pell was appointed Archbishop of Sydney, the consultations have formed the basis of his annual Pentecost Message.
St John's College Chapel where Holy Hour will be held
For many of the 400-plus young people  from parishes, chaplaincies, deaneries, schools and universities registered to attend this year's Pentecost Catechesis by Cardinal Pell, the evening will also provide a chance for many of those present  to see inside St John's College, the oldest Catholic university college in Australia.
Established in 1858 and named after St John the Evangelist, the College and its gothic style chapel were designed by William Wardell, the English-born architect who designed Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral and St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne.
Friday evening's event will be hosted by members of CYS's Net Ministry Team 2013, including Team Leader, Denis Nuwagaba from Uganda and Jessica Lehnoff from Georgia USA. Another Team Leader, Carly Forsyth from Cairns, Qld will be among those to give testimonies during the Catechesis.
To find out more about Cardinal Pell's Pentecost Catechesis at St John's College on Friday evening, 17 May email pentecost@cys.org.au or phone 02 9764 43
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

NOVENA TO HOLY SPIRIT DAY 6 FOR PENTECOST



ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY GHOST
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. / I adore the brightness of Your purity the unerring keenness of Your justice and the might of Your love. You are the Strength / and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart! To be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light: and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You / by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds / and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart / I implore You / Adorable Spirit I Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere / “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.
PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST
O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth / the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You I and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God find know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable / the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples / and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
DAY 6 OF NOVENA 
If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn'd to ill.
The Gift of Understanding
Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of  life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Prayer
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.


(Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father 7 TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)





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 2013

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 16 : ST. SIMON OF STOCK


St. Simon Stock
CARMELITE
Feast: May 16


Information:
Feast Day:May 16
Born:1165 in Aylesford, County Kent, England
Died:16 May 1265 in the Carmelite monastery at Bordeaux, France
Major Shrine:Aylesford, England
Patron of:Bordeaux, France
He was descended of a good family in Kent. From his infancy he turned all his thoughts and affections to attain to the most perfect love of God, and studied to devote all his moments to this glorious pursuit. In this earnest desire, in the twelfth year of his age, he retired into a wilderness, and chose for his dwelling a great hollow oak tree; whence the surname of Stock wee given him. While he here mortified his flesh with fasting and other severities, he nourished his soul with spiritual dainties in continual prayer. His drink was only water; and he never touched any other food but herbs, roots and wild apples. While he led this course of life, he was invited by a divine revelation to embrace the rule of certain religious men who were coming from Palestine into England. Albert, the holy patriarch of Jerusalem, having given a written rule to the Carmelite friars about the year 1205, some brothers of this order were soon after brought over from mount Carmel by John lord Vescy and Richard lord Gray of Codnor, when they returned from the Holy Land. These noblemen some time after settled them, the latter in the wood of Aylesford, near Rochester in Kent, the former in the forest of Holme, near Alnewick in Northumberland; which houses continued the two most famous convents of this order in England till their dissolution in the thirty-third year of the reign of Henry VIII. But we are assured by Bale, who before his apostacy was himself a friar of the English province of this order, and by Lambert and Weaver in their accurate descriptions of the Antiquities of Kent, that the first or most ancient convent of these friars in England was that at Newenden in Kent, which was founded for them by Sir Thomas Archer or Fitz-Archer, whose family flourished for many centuries upon that manor. The first arrival of these friars in England is placed in the annals of the order, quoted by F. Cosmas de Villiers, in 1212. Simon, who had then lived a recluse twenty years, imitating the Macariuses and Arseniuses in the most heroic practices of penance and contemplation, was much affected with the devotion of these servants of God to the blessed Virgin, their edifying deportment, and their eremitical austere institute, and joined their holy company before the end of the year 1212. After his admission he was sent to Oxford to finish his studies; and having run through his academical course he returned to his convent, where so bright was the example of his piety, that the virtue of the rest seemed to suffer an eclipse by the extraordinary lustre of his sanctity. Such was his reputation, that in 1215 Brocard, prior of mount Carmel, and general of the order, appointed him vicar-general, with full power over all the western provinces. Many clamors being raised against this institute, St. Simon repaired to Rome in 1226, and obtained from pope Honorius III. a confirmation of the rule given to this order by Albertus; and another from Gregory IX. in 1229. Some years after, St. Simon paid a visit to his brethren on mount Carmel, and remained six years in Palestine, where, in 1237, he assisted at the general chapter of the order held by Alanus the fifth general. In this assembly it was decreed, that the greatest part of the brethren should pass into Europe, their settlements in the east being continually disturbed by the persecutions, oppressions, or threats of the Saracens. In 1240 many were sent to England, and in 1244, Alanus himself, with St. Simon, having nominated Hilarion his vicar on mount Carmel, and in Palestine, followed them  thither, there being already five monasteries of the order erected in this island.

In a general chapter held at Aylesford in 1245, Alanus resigning his dignity, St. Simon was chosen the sixth general, and in the same year procured a new confirmation of the rule by pope Innocent IV., who at the saint's request received this order under the special protection of the Holy See, in 1251. St. Simon established houses in most parts of Europe; but this institute flourished nowhere with so great splendor and edification as in England, and continued so to do for several ages, as the annals of the order take notice. St. Simon, soon after he was promoted to the dignity of general, instituted the confraternity of the Scapular, to unite the devout clients of the Blessed Virgin in certain regular exercises of religion and piety. Several Carmelite writers assure us that he was admonished by the Mother of God in a vision, with which he was favored on the 16th of July, to establish this devotion." This confraternity has been approved, and favored with many privileges by several popes. The rules prescribe, without any obligation or precept, that the members wear a little scapular, at least secretly, as the symbol of the order, and that they recite every day the office of our Lady, or the office of the church; or, if they cannot read, seven times the Pater, Ave, and Gloria Patri, in lieu of the seven canonical hours; and lastly, that they abstain from flesh-meat on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; or if this cannot be done, that they double for each of these days the seven Paters, &c. St. Simon cured several sick persons by giving them the scapular; the reputation of which miracles moved Edward I., king of England, St. Louis of France, and many others, to enrol their names in this confraternity.

St. Simon governed the order with great sanctity and prudence during twenty years, and propagated it exceedingly from England over all Europe being himself  famous for his eminent virtue, and a great gift of miracles and prophecy. He wrote several hymns and decrees for his order, and several other useful things for its service, says Leland. At length, in the hundredth year of his age, having a call to France, he sailed to Bordeaux, where God put an end to his labors some months after his arrival, in 1265, on the 16th of July. He was buried in the cathedral of that city, and was honored among the saints soon after his death. Pope Nicholas III. granted an office to be celebrated in his honor at Bordeaux on the 16th of May, which Paul V. extended to the whole order.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/S/stsimonstock.asp#ixzz1vAIhZKxT

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 16 : ST. MARGARET OF CORTONA - MIRACLE WORKER


St. Margaret of Cortona
FRANCISCAN TERTIARY, FOUNDRESS, MIRACLE WORKER
Feast: May 16


Information:
Feast Day:May 16
Born:1247, Tuscany, Italy
Died:February 22, 1297, Cortona, Italy
Canonized:May 16, 1728 by Pope Benedict XIII
Patron of:gainst temptations; falsely accused people; hoboes; homeless people; insanity; loss of parents; mental illness; mentally ill people; midwives; penitent women; people ridiculed for their piety; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; single laywomen; third children; tramps
They were stirring times in Tuscany when Margaret was born. They were the days of Manfred and Conradin, of the Guelphs and Ghibellines in Italy, when passions of every kind ran high, and men lived at great extremes. They were times of great sinners, but also of great saints; Margaret lived to hear of the crowning and resignation of St. Celestine V, whose life and death are a vivid commentary on the spirits that raged throughout that generation. It was the age of St. Thomas in Paris, of Dante in Florence; of Cimabue and Giotto; of the great cathedrals and universities. In Tuscany itself, apart from the coming and going of soldiers, now of the Emperor, now of the Pope, keeping the countryside in a constant state of turmoil, and teaching the country-folk their ways, there were for ever rising little wars among the little cities themselves, which were exciting and disturbing enough. For instance, when Margaret was a child, the diocese in which she lived, Chiusi, owned a precious relic, the ring of the Blessed Virgin Mary. An Augustinian friar got possession of this relic, and carried it off to Perugia. This caused a war, Chiusi and Perugia fought for the treasure and Perugia won. Such was the spirit of her time, and of the people among whom she was brought up.

It was also a time of the great revival; when the new religious orders had begun to make their mark, and the old ones had renewed their strength. Franciscans and Dominicians had reached down to the people, and every town and village in the country had responded to their call to better things. St. Francis of Assisi had received the stigmata on Mount Alverno twenty years before, quite close to where Margaret was born; St. Clare died not far away, when Margaret was four years old. And there was the opposite extreme, the enthusiasts whose devotion degenerated into heresy. When Margaret was ten there arose in her own district the Flagellants, whose processions of men, women, and children, stripped to the waist and scourging themselves to blood, must have been a not uncommon sight to her and her young companions.
Margaret was born in Laviano, a little town in the diocese of Chiusi. Her parents were working people of the place; their child was very beautiful, and in their devotion, for she was the only one, they could scarcely help but spoil her. Thus from the first Margaret, as we would say, had much against her; she grew up very willful and, like most spoilt children, very restless and dissatisfied. Very soon her father's cottage was too small for her; she needed companions; she found more life and excitement in the streets of the town Next, in course of time the little town itself grew too small; there was a big world beyond about which she came to know, and Margaret longed to have a part in it. Moreover she soon learnt that she could have a part in it if she chose. For men took notice of her, not only men of her own station and surroundings, whom she could bend to her will as she pleased; but great and wealthy men from outside, who would sometimes ride through the village, and notice her, and twit her for her beautiful face. They would come again; they were glad to make her acquaintance, and sought to win her favor. Margaret quickly learned that she had only to command, and there were many ready to obey.

While she was yet very young her mother died; an event which seemed to deprive her of the only influence that had hitherto held her in check. Margaret records that she was taught by her mother a prayer she never forgot: "O Lord Jesus, I beseech thee, grant salvation to all those for whom thou wouldst have me pray." To make matters worse her father married again. He was a man of moods, at one time weak and indulgent, at another violent to excess, and yet with much in him that was lovable, as we shall have reason to see. But with the step-mother there was open and continued conflict. She was shocked at Margaret's willfulness and independence, and from her first coming to the house was determined to deal with them severely. Such treatment was fatal to Margaret. As a modern student has written of her: "Margaret's surroundings were such as to force to the surface the weaknesses of her character. As is clear from her own confessions, she was by nature one of those women who thirst for affection, in whom to be loved is the imperative need of their lives. She needed to be loved that her soul might be free, and in her home she found not what she wanted. Had she been of the weaker sort, either morally or physically, she would have accepted her lot, vegetated in spiritual barrenness, married eventually a husband of her father's choice, and lived an uneventful life with a measure of peace."

As it was she became only the more willful and reckless. If there was not happiness for her, either at home or elsewhere, there was pleasure and, with a little yielding on her part, as much of it as she would. In no long time her reputation in the town was one not to be envied; before she was seventeen years of age she had given herself up to a life of indulgence, let the consequences be what they might.

Living such a life it soon became evident that Margaret could not stay in Laviano. The circumstances which took her away are not very clear; we choose those which seem the most satisfactory. A certain nobleman, living out beyond Montepulciano, which in those days was far away, was in need of a servant in his castle. Margaret got the situation, there at least she was free from her step-mother and, within limits, could live as she pleased. But her master was young, and a sporting man, and no better than others of his kind. He could not fail to take notice of the handsome girl who went about his mansion, holding her head high as if she scorned the opinions of men, with an air of independence that seemed to belong to one above her station. He paid her attention; he made her nice presents, he would do her kindnesses even while she served him. And on her side, Margaret was skilled in her art; she was quick to discover that her master was as susceptible to her influence as were the other less distinguished men with whom she had done as she would in Laviano. Moreover this time she was herself attracted; she knew that this man loved her, and she returned it in her way. There were no other competitors in the field to distract her; there was no mother to warn her, no step-mother to abuse her. Soon Margaret found herself installed in the castle, not as her master's wife, for convention would never allow that, but as his mistress, which was more easily condoned. Some day, he  had promised her, they would be married, but the day never came. A child was born, and with that Margaret settled down to the situation.

For some years she accepted her lot, though every day what she had done grew upon her more and more. Apart from the evil life she was living, her liberty loving nature soon found that instead of freedom she had secured only slavery. The restless early days in Laviano seemed, in her present perspective, less unhappy than she had thought; the poverty and restraint of her father's cottage seemed preferable to the wealth and chains of gold she now endured. In her lonely hours, and they were many, the memory of her mother came up before her, and she could not look her shadow in the face. And with that revived the consciousness of sin, which of late she had defied, and had crushed down by sheer reckless living, but which now loomed up before her like a haunting ghost. She saw it all she hated it all, she hated herself because of it, but there was no escape. It was all misery, but she must endure it; she had made her own bed, and must henceforth lie upon it. In her solitary moments she would wander into the gloom of the forest, and there would dream of the life that might have been, a life of virtue and of the love of God. At her castle gate she would be bountiful; if she could not be happy herself, at least she could do something to help others. But for the rest she was defiant. She went about her castle with the airs of an unbeaten queen. None should know, not even the man who owned her, the agony that gnawed at her heart. From time to time there would come across her path those who had pity for her. They would try to speak to her, they would warn her of the risk she was running; but Margaret, with her every ready wit, would laugh at their warnings and tell them that some day she would be a saint.

So things went on for nine years, till Margaret was twenty-seven. On a sudden there came an awakening. It chanced that her lord had to go away on a distant journey; in a few days, when the time arrived for his return, he did not appear. Instead there turned up at the castle gate his favorite hound, which he had taken with him. As soon as it had been given admittance it ran straight to Margaret's room, and there began to whine about her, and to tug at her dress as if it would drag her out of the room. Margaret saw that something was amiss.

Anxious, not daring to express to herself her own suspicions, she rose and followed the hound wherever it might lead; it drew her away down to a forest a little distance from the castle walls. At a point where a heap of faggots had been piled, apparently by wood-cutters, the hound stood still, whining more than ever, and poking beneath the faggots with its nose. Margaret, all trembling, set to work to pull the heaps away; in a hole beneath lay the corpse of her lord, evidently some days dead, for the maggots and worms had already begun their work upon it.

How he had come to his death was never known; after all, in those days of high passions, and family feuds, such murders were not uncommon. The careful way the body had been buried suggested foul play; that was all. But for Margaret the sight she saw was of something more than death. The old faith within her still lived, as we have already seen, and now insisted on asking questions. The body of the man she had loved and served was lying there before her, but what had become of his soul? If it had been condemned, and was now in hell, who was, in great part at least, responsible for its condemnation? Others might have murdered his body, but she had done infinitely worse Moreover there was herself to consider. She had known how, in the days past, she had stirred the rivalry and mutual hatred of men on her account and had gloried in it who knew but that this deed had been done by some rival because of her? Or again, her body might have been Lying there where his now lay, her fatal beauty being eaten by worms, and in that case where would her soul then have been? Of that she could have no sort of doubt. Her whole life came up before her, crying out now against her as she had never before permitted it to cry. Margaret rushed from the spot, beside herself in this double misery, back to her room, turned in an instant to a torture-chamber.
What should she do next? She was not long undecided. Though the castle might still be her home, she would not stay in it a moment longer. But where could she go? There was only one place of refuge that she knew, only one person in the world who was likely to have pity on her. Though her father's house had been disgraced in the eyes of all the village by what she had done, though the old man all these years had been bent beneath the shame she had brought upon him, still there was the memory of past kindness and love which he had always shown her. It was true sometimes he had been angry, especially when others had roused him against her and her ways; but always in the end, when she had gone to him, he had forgiven her and taken her back. She would arise and go to her father, and would ask him to forgive her once more; this time in her heart she knew she was in earnest--even if he failed her she would not turn back. Clothed as she was, holding her child in her arms, taking no heed of the spectacle she made, she left the castle, tramped over the ridge and down the valley to Laviano, came to her father's cottage, found him within alone and fell at his feet, confessing her guilt, imploring him with tears to give her shelter once again.
The old man easily recognized his daughter. The years of absence, the fine clothes she wore, the length of years which in some ways had only deepened the striking lines of her handsome face, could not take from his heart the picture of the child of whom once he had been so proud. To forgive was easy; it was easy to find reasons in abundance. Had he not indulged her in the early days, perhaps she would never have fallen. Had he made home a more satisfying place for a child of so yearning a nature, perhaps she would never have gone away. Had he been a more careful guardian, had he protected her from those who had lured her into evil ways long ago, she would never have wandered so far, she would never have brought this shame upon him and upon herself. She was repentant, she wished to make amends, she had proved it by this renunciation, she showed she loved and trusted him; he must give her a chance to recover. If he did not give it to her, who would?

So the old man argued with himself, and for a time his counsel prevailed. Margaret with her child was taken back; if she would live quietly at home the past might be lived down. But such was not according to Margaret's nature. She did not wish the past to be forgotten, it must be atoned. She had done great evil, she had given great scandal; she must prove to God and man that she had broken with the past, and that she meant to make amends. The spirit of fighting sin by public penance was in the air; the Dominican and Franciscan missionaries preached it, there were some in her neighborhood who were carrying it to a dangerous extreme. Margaret would let all the neighbors see that she did not shirk the shame that was her due. Every time she appeared in the church it was with a rope of penance round her waist; she would kneel at the church door that all might pass her by and despise her; since this did not win for her the scorn she desired, one day, when the people were gathered for mass, she stood up before the whole congregation and made public confession of the wickedness of her life.

But this did not please her old father. He had hoped she would lie quiet and let the scandal die; instead she kept the memory of it always alive. He had expected that soon all would be forgotten; instead she made of herself a public show. In a very short time his mind towards her changed. Indulgence turned to resentment, resentment to bitterness, bitterness to something like hatred. Besides, there was another in the house to be reckoned with; the step-mother, who from her first coming there had never been a friend of Margaret. She had endured her return because, for the moment, the old man would not be contradicted, but she had bided her time. Now when he wavered she brought her guns to bear; to the old man in secret, to Margaret before her face, she did not hesitate to use every argument she knew. This hussy who had shamed them all in the sight of the whole village had dared to cross her spotless threshold, and that with a baggage of a child in her arms. How often when she was a girl had she been warned where her reckless life would lead her! When she had gone away, in spite of every appeal, she had been told clearly enough what would be her end. All these years she had continued, never once relenting, never giving them a sign of recognition, knowing very well the disgrace she had brought upon them, while she enjoyed herself in luxury and ease. Let her look to it; let her take the consequences. That house had been shamed enough; it should not be shamed any more, by keeping such a creature under its roof. One day when things had reached a climax, without a word of pity Margaret and her child were driven out of the door. If she wished to do penance, let her go and join the fanatical Flagellants, who were making such a show of themselves not far away.

Margaret stood in the street, homeless, condemned by her own, an outcast. Those in the town looked on and did nothing; she was not one of the kind to whom it was either wise or safe to show pity, much less to take her into their own homes. And Margaret knew it; since her own father had rejected her she could appeal to no one else; she could only hide her head in shame, and find refuge in loneliness in the open lane. But what should she do next? For she had not only herself to care for; there was also the child in her arms. As she sat beneath a tree looking away from Laviano, her eyes wandered up the ridge on which stood Montepulciano. Over that ridge was the bright, gay world she had left, the world without a care, where she had been able to trample scandal underfoot and to live as a queen. There she had friends who loved her; rich friends who had condoned her situation, poor friends who had been beholden to her for the alms she had given them. Up in the castle there were still wealth and luxury waiting for her, and even peace of a kind, if only she would go back to them. Besides, from the castle what good she could do! She was now free; she could repent in silence and apart; with the wealth at her disposal she could help the poor yet more. Since she had determined to change her life, could she not best accomplish it up there, far away from the sight of men?

On the other hand, what was she doing here? She had tried to repent, and all her efforts had only come to this; she was a homeless outcast on the road, with all the world to glare at her as it passed her by. Among her own people, even if in the end she were forgiven and taken back, she could never be the same again. Then came a further thought. She knew herself well by this time. Did she wish that things should be the same again? In Laviano, among the old surroundings which she had long outgrown, among peasants and laborers whom she had long left behind, was it not likely that the old boredom would return, more burdensome now that she had known the delights of freedom? Would not the old temptations return, had they not returned already, had they not been with her all the time, and with all her good intentions was it not certain that she would never be able to resist? Then would her last state be worse than her first. How much better to be prudent, to take the opportunity as it was offered, perhaps to use for good the means and the gifts she had hitherto used only for evil? Thus, resting under a tree in her misery, a great longing came over Margaret, to have done with the penitence which had all gone wrong, to go back to the old life where all had gone well, and would henceforth go better, to solve her problems once and for all by the only way that seemed open to her. That lonely hour beneath the tree was the critical hour of her life.
Happily for her, and for many who have come after her, Margaret survived it: "I have put thee as a burning light," Our Lord said to her later, "to enlighten those who sit in the darkness.--I have set thee as an example to sinners, that in thee they may behold how my mercy awaits the sinner who is willing to repent; for as I have been merciful to thee, so will I be merciful to them." She had made up her mind long ago, and she would not go back now. She shook herself and rose to go; but where? The road down which she went led to Cortona; a voice within her seemed to tell her to go thither. She remembered that at Cortona was a monastery of Franciscans. It was famous all over the countryside; Brother Elias had built it, and had lived and died there; the friars, she knew, were everywhere described as the friends of sinners. She might go to them; perhaps they would have pity on her and find her shelter. But she was not sure. They would know her only too well, for she had long been the talk of the district, even as far as Cortona; was it not too much to expect that the Franciscan friars would so easily believe in so sudden and complete a conversion? Still she could only try; at the worst she could but again be turned into the street, and that would be more endurable from them than the treatment she had just received in Laviano.

Her fears were mistaken. Margaret knocked at the door of the monastery, and the friars did not turn her away. They took pity on her; they accepted her tale though, as was but to be expected, with caution. She made a general confession, with such a flood of tears that those who witnessed it were moved. It was decided that Margaret was, so far at least, sincere and harmless, and they found her a home. They put her in charge of two good matrons of the town, who spent their slender means in helping hard cases and who undertook to provide for her. Under their roof she began in earnest her life of penance. Margaret could not do things by halves; when she had chosen to sin she had defied the world in her sinning, now that she willed to do penance she was equally defiant of what men might think or say. She had reveled in rich clothing and jewels; henceforth, so far as her friends would permit her, she would clothe herself literally in rags. She had slept on luxurious couches; henceforth she would lie only on the hard ground. Her beauty, which had been her ruin, and the ruin of many others besides, and which even now, at twenty-seven, won for her many a glance of admiration as she passed down the street, she was determined to destroy. She cut her face, she injured it with bruises, till men would no longer care to look upon her. Nay, she would go abroad, and where she had sinned most she would make most amends. She would go to Montepulciano; there she would hire a woman to lead her like a beast with a rope round her neck, and cry: "Look at Margaret, the sinner." It needed a strong and wise confessor to keep her within bounds.
Nor was this done only to atone for the past. For years the old cravings were upon her; they had taken deep root and could not at once be rooted out; even to the end of her life she had reason to fear them. Sometimes she would ask herself how long she could continue the fight; sometimes it would be that there was no need, that she should live her life like ordinary mortals. Sometimes again, and this would often come from those about her, it would be suggested to her that all her efforts were only a proof of sheer pride. In many ways we are given to see that with all the sanctity and close union with God which she afterwards attained, Margaret to the end was very human; she was the same Margaret, however chastened, that she had been at the beginning. "My father," she said to her confessor one day, "do not ask me to give in to this body of mine. I cannot afford it. Between me and my body there must needs be a struggle until death."
The rest of Margaret's life is a wonderful record of the way God deals with his penitents. There were her child and herself to be kept, and the fathers wisely bade her earn her own bread. She began by nursing; soon she confined her nursing to the poor, herself living on alms. She retired to a cottage of her own; here, like St. Francis before her, she made it her rule to give her labor  to whoever sought it, and to receive in return whatever they chose to give. In return there grew in her a new understanding of that craving for love which had led her into danger. She saw that it never would be satisfied here on earth; she must have more than this world could give her or none at all. And here God was good to her. He gave her an intimate knowledge of Himself; we might say He humored her by letting her realize His love, His care, His watchfulness over her. With all her fear of herself, which was never far away, she grew in confidence because she knew that now she was loved by one who would not fail her. This became the character of her sanctity, founded on that natural trait which was at once her strength and her weakness.
And it is on this account, more than on account of the mere fact that she was a penitent, that she deserves the title of the Second Magdalene. Of the first Magdalene we know this, that she was an intense human being, seeking her own fulfillment at extremes, now in sin, now in repentance regardless of what men might think, uniting love and sorrow so closely that she is forgiven, not for her sorrow so much as for her love. We know that ever afterwards it was the same; the thought of her sin never kept her from her Lord, the knowledge of His love drew her ever closer to Him, till, after Calvary, she is honored the first among those to whom He would show Himself alone. And in that memorable scene we have the two traits which sum her up; He reveals Himself by calling her by her name: "Mary," and yet, when she would cling about His feet, as she had done long before, He bids her not to touch Him. In Margaret of Cortona the character, and the treatment, are parallel. She did not forget what she had been; but from the first the thought of this never for a moment kept her from Our Lord. She gave herself to penance, but the motive of her penance, as her revelations show, was love more than atonement. In her extremes of penance she had no regard for the opinions of men; she would brave any obstacle that she might draw the nearer to Him. At first He humored her; He drew her by revealing to her His appreciation of her love; He even condescended so far as to call her "Child," when she had  grown tired of being called "Poverella." But later, when the time for the greatest graces came, then He took her higher by seeming to draw more apart; it was the scene of "Noli me tangere" repeated.

This must suffice for an account of the wonderful graces and revelations that were poured out on Margaret during the last twenty-three years of her life. She came to Cortona as a penitent when she was twenty-seven. For three years the Franciscan fathers kept her on her trial, before they would admit her to the Third Order of St. Francis. She submitted to the condition; during that time she earned her bread, entirely in the service of others. Then she declined to earn it; while she labored in service no less, she would take in return only what was given to her in alms. Soon even this did not satisfy her; she was not content till the half of what was given her in charity was shared with others who seemed to her more needy. Then out of this there grew other things, for Margaret had a practical and organizing mind. She founded institutions of charity, she established an institution of ladies who would spend themselves in the service of the poor and suffering. She took a large part in the keeping of order in that turbulent countryside; even her warlike bishop was compelled to listen to her, and to surrender much of his plunder at her bidding. Like St. Catherine of Siena after her, Margaret is a wonderful instance, not only of the mystic combined with the soul of action, but more of the soul made one of action because it was a mystic, and by means of its mystical insight.

Margaret died in 1297, being just fifty years of age. Her confessor and first biographer tells us that one day, shortly before her death, she had a vision of St. Mary Magdalene, "most faithful of Christ's apostles, clothed in a robe as it were of silver, and crowned with a crown of precious gems, and surrounded by the holy angels." And whilst she was in this ecstasy Christ spoke to Margaret, saying: "My Eternal Father said of Me to the Baptist: This is My beloved Son; so do I say to thee of Magdalene: This is my beloved daughter." On another occasion we are told that "she was taken in spirit to the feet of Christ, which she washed with her tears as did Magdalene of old; and as she wiped His feet she desired greatly to behold His face, and prayed to the Lord to grant her this favor." Thus to the end we see she was the same; and yet the difference!
They buried her in the church of St. Basil in Cortona. Around her body, and later at her tomb, her confessor tells us that so many miracles, physical and spiritual, were worked that he could fill a volume with the record of those which he personally knew alone. And today Cortona boasts of nothing more sacred or more treasured than that same body, which lies there still incorrupt, after more than six centuries, for everyone to see.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmargaretofcortona.asp#ixzz1vAIUPr2g
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