(Vatican Radio) Allowing ourselves to be looked upon by Jesus, whose gaze changes our lives: this was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks after the readings at Mass on Saturday morning, the Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, whose conversion story is told in the Gospel passage of the day.
Jesus looks Matthew – a tax collector, a public sinner whose whole life was money, which he idolized – right in the eye. Then, said Pope Fraancis, “[Matthew feels] in his heart the gaze of the Lord who looked upon him.”:
“That gaze overtook him completely, it changed his life. We say he was converted. He Changed his life. ‘As soon as he felt that gaze in his heart, he got up and followed him.’ This is true: Jesus’ gaze always lifts us up. It is a look that always lifts us up, and never leaves you in your place, never lets us down, never humiliates. It invites you to get up - a look that brings you to grow, to move forward, that encourages you, because [the One who looks upon you] loves you. The gaze makes you feel that He loves you. This gives the courage to follow Him: ‘And he got up and followed him.’”
“The gaze of Jesus,” said Pope Francis, “[is not something] magical: Jesus was not a specialist in hypnosis.” Jesus looked on everyone, and everyone felt His gaze upon him, as if Jesus had called each person by name … and this look would change the lives of everyone.” So did Peter change, who, after denying his Lord then met His gaze and wept bitterly. Then there is the final gaze, from the Cross. “He looked on His mother, looked at the [beloved] disciple and said, with that look, he told us that His mother was our mother and that the Church is mother - with a look. Then he looked at the Good Thief, and once again to Peter, “[who was] afraid, after the Resurrection, with those three questions: ‘Do you love me?’ - a look that shamed him. The Pope said it will do us well to think and pray about this gaze of Jesus, and to let ourselves be looked on by Him. “Jesus goes to the house of Matthew as he was sitting at the table many sinners arrive. “Word had spread, and all of society - but not the [respectable folks] - felt invited to lunch,” as it happened in the parable of the king who ordered the servants to go to the main crossroads to invite to his son’s wedding as many people as they met, both good and bad:
“And sinners, tax collectors and sinners, they felt that Jesus had looked on them and that gaze of Jesus upon them – I believe – was like a breath on embers, and they felt that there was fire in the belly, again, and that Jesus made lifted them up, gave them back their dignity. The gaze of Jesus always makes us worthy, gives us dignity. It is a generous look. ‘But behold, what a teacher: dining with the dregs of the city!’: But beneath that dirt there were the embers of desire for God, the embers of God's image that wanted someone who could help them be kindled anew. This is what the gaze of Jesus does.”
“All of us, in our lives,” concluded Pope Francis, “have felt this gaze, and not once only: many times! Perhaps the person of a priest, who taught us doctrine or forgave our sins, perhaps in the help of friends.”:
“But all of us find ourselves before that gaze, that marvelous gaze, and we go forward in life, in the certainty that He looks upon us. He too, however, awaits us, in order to look on us definitively – and that final gaze of Jesus upon our lives will be forever, it will be eternal. I ask all the saints upon whom Jesus has looked, to prepare us to let ourselves be looked upon in life, and that they prepare us also for that final – and first! – gaze of Jesus!”
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(Vatican Radio) The Holy Father has implemented the following changes in the organisation of the Roman Curia.
- He has accepted the resignation from the role of Major Penitentiary of Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, who has reached the age of retirement. He has confirmed as successor in the same role Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who until now was Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy.
- In the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he has confirmed as Prefect Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, and as Secretary Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer. He has appointed as Adjunct Secretary Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, who until now was Vice President of the Pontifical Council “Ecclesia Dei”. He has furthermore confirmed the Members and Consultants, and has appointed as Consultant Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, Adjunct Secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
- In the Congregation for the Evangelisation of the People, he has confirmed as Prefect Cardinal Fernando Filoni, as Secretary Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, and as Adjunct Secretary Archbishop Protase Rugambwa. He has furthermore confirmed the Members and Consultants.
- In the Congregation for the Clergy, he has appointed as Prefect Archbishop Beniamino Stella, who until now was President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. He has confirmed as Secretary Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta. He has appointed as Secretary for the Seminaries Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong, who until now was Bishop of Paplanta, elevating him at the same time to the dignity of Archbishop.
- In the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, he has appointed as Delegate of the Ordinary Section Msgr. Mauro Rivella, of the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Turin.
His Holiness has also appointed as Legate in Germany His Excellency Archbishop Nikola Eterović, was until now was General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. He has appointed as successor in the same role His Excellency Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, who until now was Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.
His Holiness has furthermore appointed as Legate in Sierra Leone Archbishop Mirosław Adamczyk, Legate in Liberia and Gambia.
His Holiness has finally appointed as Legate and President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy Giampiero Gloder, Head of Office with Special Responsibilities in the Secretariat of State, elevating him at the same time to the dignity of Archbishop.
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ABUJA, September 20 2013(CISA) – At least 87 people have been killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno state, according to local officials.
Disguised in military uniforms, the militants set up checkpoints outside the town of Benisheik and shot dead those trying to flee, witnesses said.
According to BBC news, the rebels also razed dozens of buildings in the September 17 attack.
Boko Haram, which wants to create an Islamic state across Nigeria, has waged a deadly insurgency in the country since 2009.
Communications with Borno state have been severely disrupted since May, when a state of emergency was declared in Borno and two neighbouring states. Despite heavy military deployments to worst affected areas attacks have increased in recent months.
Local vigilante groups have been formed to help counter the militants but scores of these volunteers have been killed in recent weeks.
Borno state governor Kashim Shettima visited the scene on Thursday September 19, and described the killings as “barbaric and un-Islamic”, and pledged financial assistance to relatives of the victims.
Benisheik was also the scene of fierce clashes earlier this month, which reportedly left five militants and 13 vigilante members dead.
The town lies 70km west of the state capital, Maiduguri, where Boko Haram was founded.
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Novena to St. Michael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29
St. Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value on my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).
St. Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy Will, my petition will be granted.
Pray for me, St. Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.
Novena to St. Gabriel the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29
St. Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the "Angel of the Incarnation," because God has specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a tender and devoted Mother, more like your own.
I venerate you also as the "strength from God," because you are the giver of God's strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God's faithful and to teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions, renew my courage, comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in His agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.
St. Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (Mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God-Made-Man and for His blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, if it be God's holy Will.
Pray for us, St. Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us Pray. Almighty and ever-living God, since You chose the Archangel Gabriel from among all the Angels to announce the mystery of Your Son's Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who honor him on earth may feel the benefit of his patronage in heaven. You live and reign for ever. Amen.
Novena to St. Raphael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29
Holy Archangel Raphael, standing so close to the throne of God and offering Him our prayers, I venerate you as God's special Friend and Messenger. I choose you as my Patron and wish to love and obey you as young Tobiah did. I consecrate to you my body and soul,all my work, and my whole life. I want you to be my Guide and Counselor in all the dangerous and difficult problems and decisions of my life.
Remember, dearest, St. Raphael, that the grace of God preserved you with the good Angels in heaven when the proud ones were cast into hell. I entreat you, therefore, to help me in my struggle against the world, the spirit of impurity, and the devil. Defend me from all dangers and every occasion of sin. Direct me always in the way of peace, safety, and salvation. Offer my prayers to God as you offered those of Tobiah, so that through your intercession I may obtain the graces necessary for the salvation of my soul. I ask you to pray that God grant me this favor if it be His holy Will: (Mention your request).
St. Raphael, help me to love and serve my God faithfully, to die in His grace, and finally to merit to join you in seeing and praising God forever in heaven. Amen.
Feast: September 21
January 24, near Hierapolis or Ethiopia
accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, security forces, security guards, stock brokers, tax collectors
Apostle and evangelist. The name Matthew is derived from the Hebrew Mattija, being shortened to Mattai in post-Biblical Hebrew. In Greek it is sometimes spelled Maththaios, B D, and sometimes Matthaios, CEKL, but grammarians do not agree as to which of the two spellings is the original. Matthew is spoken of five times in the New Testament; first in Matt., ix, 9, when called by Jesus to follow Him, and then four times in the list of the Apostles, where he is mentioned in the seventh (Luke, vi, 15, and Mark, iii, 18), and again in the eighth place (Matt., x, 3, and Acts, i, 13). The man designated in Matt., ix, 9, as "sitting in the custom house", and "named Matthew" is the same as Levi, recorded in Mark, ii, 14, and Luke, v, 27, as "sitting at the receipt of custom". The account in the three Synoptics is identical, the vocation of Matthew-Levi being alluded to in the same terms. Hence Levi was the original name of the man who was subsequently called Matthew; the Maththaios legomenos of Matt., ix, 9, would indicate this. The fact of one man having two names is of frequent occurrence among the Jews. It is true that the same person usually bears a Hebrew name such as "Shaoul" and a Greek name, Paulos. However, we have also examples of individuals with two Hebrew names as, for instance, Joseph-Caiaphas, Simon-Cephas, etc. It is probable that Mattija, "gift of Iaveh", was the name conferred upon the tax-gatherer by Jesus Christ when He called him to the Apostolate, and by it he was thenceforth known among his Christian brethren, Levi being his original name. Matthew, the son of Alpheus (Mark, ii, 14) was a Galilean, although Eusebius informs us that he was a Syrian. As tax-gatherer at Capharnaum, he collected custom duties for Herod Antipas, and, although a Jew, was despised by the Pharisees, who hated all publicans. When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and tendered Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these consoling words: "I came not to call the just, but sinners". No further allusion is made to Matthew in the Gospels, except in the list of the Apostles. As a disciple and an Apostle he thenceforth followed Christ, accompanying Him up to the time of His Passion and, in Galilee, was one of the witnesses of His Resurrection. He was also amongst the Apostles who were present at the Ascension, and afterwards withdrew to an upper chamber, in Jerusalem, praying in union with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts, i, 10 and 14).
Of Matthew's subsequent career we have only inaccurate or legendary data. St. Irenæus tells us that Matthew preached the Gospel among the Hebrews, St. Clement of Alexandria claiming that he did this for fifteen years, and Eusebius maintains that, before going into other countries, he gave them his Gospel in the mother tongue. Ancient writers are not as one as to the countries evangelized by Matthew, but almost all mention Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), and some Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria. According to Heracleon, who is quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Matthew did not die a martyr, but this opinion conflicts with all other ancient testimony. Let us add, however, that the account of his martyrdom in the apocryphal Greek writings entitled "Martyrium S. Matthæi in Ponto" and published by Bonnet, "Acta apostolorum apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1898), is absolutely devoid of historic value. Lipsius holds that this "Martyrium S. Matthæi", which contains traces of Gnosticism, must have been published in the third century. There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew's martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him, therefore it is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The Roman Martyrology simply says: "S. Matthæi, qui in Æthiopia prædicans martyrium passus est". Various writings that are now considered apocryphal, have been attributed to St. Matthew. In the "Evangelia apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1876), Tischendorf reproduced a Latin document entitled: "De Ortu beatæ Mariæ et infantia Salvatoris", supposedly written in Hebrew by St. Matthew the Evangelist, and translated into Latin by Jerome, the priest. It is an abridged adaptation of the "Protoevangelium" of St. James, which was a Greek apocryphal of the second century. This pseudo-Matthew dates from the middle or the end of the sixth century. The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew on 21 September, and the Greek Church on 16 November. St. Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem.