Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Catholic News World : Tuesday May 20, 2014 - Share!


Viral Pro-Life Artwork with Cups of Water - World's Largest - Share it's Amazing!

King Hamad of Bahrain to build Largest Catholic Church in Arabian Peninsula meets Pope

Text From Belo Youtube Channel: To raise awareness among the general public about the global clean water crisis, the artist Belo created an image composed of 66,000 cups of colored rainwater simulating levels of impurities found in water all over the planet. This major work of 3,600 square feet, representing a fetus in the maternal womb, emphasizes the necessity of water, even before birth, for each living person.

Fun Facts: 66,000 compostable and biodegradable cups, 15,000 liters of colored rainwater, 1 kg of vegetable dye, more than 100 volunteers, 62 hours of work, placed end to end the 66,000 cups would measure 5.2 km long. 

Thank you to all volunteers, partners and sponsers!

Partners: ONE DROP, Punchline Films, Allan Hurd and Kalibre

Sponsors: Nova Envirocom and Cirque du Soleil

Pope Francis "The peace of Jesus is a Person, the Holy Spirit!"

(Vatican Radio) Those who welcome the Holy Spirit will have a solid and endless peace, unlike those who choose to “superficially” trust in the tranquility offered by money or power. This was Pope Francis’ message at Mass Tuesday morning in Casa Santa Marta.

The peace offered by things - money , power , vanity – and peace in Person, the Holy Spirit. The first is always in danger of vanishing - Today you are rich and you are somebody, not tomorrow - instead no-one “can take away” the second because it is a "definitive" peace. The Pope’s homily, which centered on one of the greatest desires of mankind of all times, was inspired by a passage from the Gospel of John, in the liturgy of the day. Jesus is about to face the Passion and before he takes leave of the disciples, he announces, "My peace I give you". A peace , says the Pope, which differs completely from the "peace that the world gives us", because "it is somewhat superficial” it offers a “degree of calm, even a certain joy", but only "up to a certain point": 

"For example, it offers us the peace of wealth: 'I am at peace because I have everything I need, everything organized for my whole life , I do not have to worry ... '. This is a peace that the world gives. Do not worry, you won’t have any problems because you have so much money ... the peace of wealth. And Jesus tells us not to trust this peace, because with great realism he tells us: 'Look, there are thieves ... thieves can steal your wealth!'. Money does not give you a definitive peace. Just think, metal also rusts! What does it mean? A stock market crash and all your money is gone! It is not a secure peace: It is a superficial temporal peace".

Pope Francis also examined two other types of worldly peace . The first, the peace of "power" does not work either – he pointed out – because “a coup can stake it away". Think , he added, what happened to the "peace of Herod" when the Magi "told him that the King of Israel was born: that peace vanished immediately". Or the peace of "vanity", which Pope Francis termed an "peace of conjecture", today you are greatly appreciated and tomorrow you will be insulted , "like Jesus between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Instead, the peace that Jesus gives is of a completely different substance: 

"The peace of Jesus is a Person, the Holy Spirit! On the same day of the Resurrection, He comes to the Upper Room and His greeting is: 'Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit'. This is the peace of Jesus: it is a Person, it is a great gift . And when the Holy Spirit is in our hearts , no one can remove His peace. No one! It is a definitive peace! So what is our task? To custody this peace. Safeguard it! It is a great peace, a peace that is not mine, is belongs to another Person who gives it to me, another Person who is in my heart and accompanies me all the days of my life. The Lord has given it to me".
This peace is received at Baptism and Confirmation, but above all - says Pope Francis - "we receive it like a child who receives a gift" " without conditions , with an open heart". We must custody the Holy Spirit without “imprisoning Him”, asking for help from this "great gift " of God :

"If you have this peace of the Spirit, if you have the Holy Spirit within you, and you are aware of this, let not your heart be troubled. Be sure! Paul told us that we must first pass through many tribulations to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But we all, all of us, we have so many, everyone! Some bigger, some smaller ... ' But let not your heart be troubled' , and this is the peace of Jesus. The presence of the Spirit that makes our heart be at peace. Not anesthetized, no! At peace! Aware, but at peace with the peace that only God's presence gives".

Text from Vatican Radio website 

Pope Francis "Promote the life of the unborn child as well as that of the elderly"

Vatican City, 20 May 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis inaugurated the 66th assembly of Italian bishops, in which they will discuss proposals to amend the Statute and Regulation of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), as well as the “Guide to proclamation and catechesis in Italy”. They will also consider the theme “Christian education and missionarity in the light of the Apostolic exhortation 'Evangelii gaudium'”. It is the first time that a pontiff has presided at an assembly of the CEI.
Francis structured his discourse in three points, directing it at pastors of a Church that is the community of the Resurrected, that is the body of the Lord, and that anticipates and promises the Kingdom. He began by telling the bishops: “The people look to us. They look to us for help in grasping the singularity of their daily lives in God's providential plan”; and emphasised that “faith is the living memory of an encounter nurtured by the fire of the Word that shapes the ministry and anoints the people. … Without constant prayer, the Pastor is exposed to the danger of being ashamed of the Gospel, and ends up defusing the scandal of the Cross in worldly 'wisdom'”.
“The temptations, which aim to obscure the primacy of God and His Christ, are legion in the life of the Pastor: they range from lukewarmness, which leads to mediocrity … which dodges renunciation and sacrifice; then there is the temptation to haste in pastoral ministry, along with that sloth that leads to intolerance, almost as if everything were a burden. … There is a temptation to grow accustomed to sadness, cancelling out every expectation and creativity, leaving us unsatisfied and therefore incapable of entering into the lives of our people and understanding them in the light of Easter morning”.
To combat these temptations, the Pope urges the Italian bishops never to cease to seek the Lord, because “He is the principle and foundation that envelops our weaknesses with mercy, transforming and renewing everything; we are called to offer He Who is most precious to our people, so as not to leave them at the mercy of a society of indifference, indeed desperation. … If we want to follow him, there is no other path. Following it with Him, we discover that we are a people, to the point of recognising with wonder and gratitude that all is grace, even the difficulties and contradictions of human life, if these are lived with a heart open to the Lord”.
Proceeding to speak of pastors of the Church as the body of the Lord, he remarked that the Church is the “other grace for which we must feel profoundly indebted. … Unity is a gift and responsibility, and its sacrament shapes our mission. … The lack of communion is the greatest scandal”, and “as Pastors, we must seek refuge from temptations that otherwise disfigure us; … the hardness of he who judges without being involved, and the laxity of those who acquiesce without taking responsibility for the other. … the ambition that generates 'currents', sectarianism … and then, the tendency to seek the lost security of the past, and the claims of those who wish to defend unity by denying diversity, thus humiliating the gifts with which God continues to keep His Church young and beautiful”.
“In relation to these temptations, ecclesial experience is the most effective antidote. It emanates from the sole Eucharist, whose cohesive strength generates fraternity, the ability to accept, forgive and walk together”. The Holy Father urged the bishops to love people and communities with generous and total dedication” and to trust that “the holy people of God has the pulse to find the right roads. Accompany with breadth the growth of lay coresponsibility. ... With their insight and help, you will be able to avoid remaining attached to a pastoral of conversation – indeed, generic, dispersed, fragmented and of limited influence – and will instead adopt a form of pastoral care that focuses on the essential”.
In relation to the third point, “Pastors of a Church that anticipates and promises the Kingdom”, he commented that “serving the Kingdom means living a life decentred from oneself, striving for the encounter that is the path for truly rediscovering what we are: proclaimers of the truth of Christ and His mercy. ... With this clarity, brothers, may your proclamation be cadenced by the eloquence of gestures. ... And, among the 'places' in which your presence seems to me to be most necessary and meaningful ... there is, first and foremost, the family. Nowadays, the domestic community is strongly penalised by a culture that privileges individual rights and transmits a logic of the temporary. Promote the life of the unborn child as well as that of the elderly. ... And do not forget to tend, with the compassion of the Samaritan, to those who are emotionally wounded and whose plans for life are compromised”.
Another space that the bishops must not desert is the “waiting room crowded with the unemployed ... where the drama of those who do not know how to bring bread home to the table encounters that of those who are not able to keep their businesses afloat. It is an historic emergency, that appeals to the social responsibility of all: as Church, let us not give in to catastrophism and resignation, instead supporting with every form of creative solidarity the efforts of those who, without work, feel deprived even of their dignity. ... Finally, there is the welcoming embrace to migrants: they flee intolerance, persecution, a bleak future. May no-one turn their gaze away! ... And, more generally, in the difficult situations that so many of our contemporaries, may they find you attentive and participatory, ready to re-examine the current model of development that exploits creation, sacrifices people at the altar of profit and creates new forms of marginalisation and exclusion”.
“Reach out towards whoever asks to reason for the hope that is in you; welcome their culture, offer them respectfully the memory of faith and the company of the Church, the signs of brotherhood, gratitude and solidarity, that anticipate in man's days the reflections of a Sunday without end”.

Churches in China being demolished and Religious Statues Destroyed

ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Bernardo Cervellera
A Catholic Way of the Cross destroyed, domestic communities shut down and scattered. Officially, it is to “beautify” the city by destroying buildings held to be “illegal”. But the real reason is that it is an attempt to eliminate anything that contrasts the Party’s power and seize land for property development . Religions are the biggest threat to society (ie the Party ) . A Protestant minister : You can destroy a building, but not the church as a community.

Rome (AsiaNews) - A source for AsiaNews in China has sent us a new list of crosses and religious buildings that have been demolished in the region of Zhejiang. After the destruction of the church of Sanjiang in Wenzhou, the campaign against crosses and buildings deemed to be overly flashy is gaining ground and targeting Protestants and Catholics buildings, of official and underground churches (see photo) . Among the photos there is also an ordinance ordering the closure of a local church and the prohibition on the faithful to gather.
Two days before the bulldozers tore down the imposing (Protestant) church of Sanjiang, it was the turn of the Catholic shrine of Longgang, where authorities destroyed many statues that were part of the Way of the Cross, forcing the faithful to transfer the larger statues to a warehouse. The central pavilion, occupied by statues of Christ , the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph was walled to hide the religious symbols from view. Also in this case the reason given was that the constructions are "illegal" .
Since 2013 , when Zhejiang was slated to become a hub of economic development  by 2020, a campaign has been enacted to "beautify " the region by removing the illegal structures . The campaign is called the "Rectify Three, Demolish One" campaign intended to halt violation of building regulations,  a move to "make space for development. According to the provincial government these demolitions affect all communities and private dwellings without distinction . But it is a fact that the campaign is targeting mainly Christian sites .
The faithful note that the demolition notices began to circulate after Xia Baolong , party secretary of Zhejiang earlier this year inspected a church in Baiquan and noted it had a cross that towered "too obviously", deeimg it offensive to the eye. On later seeing a forest of crosses in the skyline in other cities, he gave the order to " rectify " the situation. Since then, tearing down crosses , destroying statues and razing churches has become the Party's most conspicuous task.
Crosses were torn down in Hangzhou, Yongjia county and in neighboring Anhui. The "advice" of the Party was not to position the crosses on the spire, rather at the foot of the building, on the walls, or even better, inside the church.

The government defends itself by saying that all those crosses and demolished buildings violated building codes and that, before their forced destruction, the communities were given time to rectify the error. But the faithful denounce that the notice was imposibly short : the church of Sanjiang , only had 4 days for "rectification", in short, to destroy over 500 "illegal" square meters.

The fact that the demolition of churches is part of a wider plan was clearly revealed by the Secretary Xia Baolong who, in an interview with Xinhua on the 17th of February, denounced thaat  "hostile forces of the West"had  infiltrated the Christian communities . And in July 2013 he warned the Party of Wenzhou against the influence of the underground community.

Almost as if to confirm these "concerns", on 6 May the University of International Relations and the Academy of Social Sciences published a "Blue Book". It states that all religions pose one of the biggest challenges to national security and that "hostile western forces are infiltrating the religions of China".
Ormai, soffocare le religioni, controllarle e demolire o ridurre i loro edifici fa parte di una campagna a livello nazionale.

In una delle foto che mostriamo nella sequenza legata a questo articolo, vi è un'ordinanza in cui le autorità ordinano la chiusura di una chiesa domestica sotterranea, che si radunava in un appartamento. E si esige:
By now, the effort to suffocate religions, control or eradicate them and demolish their buildings has become a nationwide campaign .

In one of the photos featured in the sequence linked to this article, there is a notice in which the authorities order the closure of an underground house church, which gathered in an apartment. The orders are as follows:

1) An immediate stop to all religious practices;

2 ) Removal of all religious objects from the building;

3 ) Dismissal of all participants in the services.

The same applies to several underground Catholic communities.

It seems that the Chinese government fear the prediction of some academics, that by 2025 China will be the country with the most Christians in the world, with about 165 million faithful. This "prophecy", based on socialogical projections was made by Yanggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University ( Indiana, USA).

The hostility toward Christians is not so much ideological, rooted as it were on the old Marxist schemes. It is fueled by economic reasons and lust for power: removing land and buildings from Christians to feed the hunger for space and building speculation; it reduces their visibility and unity and furthermore, avoids them becoming stakeholders in the play for power. Increasingly, in fact , Christians become human rights activists, engaged in civil society against corruption, oppression , violence , pollution, all the plagues that the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping said it would fight without having ever changed a thing, other than targeting political enemies.

It is worth noting that in 2003-2004 a campaign was launched in Zhejiang to demolish hundreds of churches . Since then, the community of Zhejiang and Wenzhou have grown even more and now the Christians are about 15% of the population of the city of 9 million inhabitants.

Their strength lies in faith and not in buildings. One of them, Pastor Yang, commenting on the destruction of the church of Sangjiang said: " When it comes to our faith, the word jiaohui (church, congregation, fellowship) is not the same as jiaotang (church building). It may be possible to deal violently with a jiaotang, but not with the jiaohui. Christians shouldn't be so sad. Maybe this is a good time to reflect and wonder if we have put too much focus on church buildings. With this jiaotang now destroyed, we should focus our efforts on building the jiaohui".

Shared From ASIA NEWS IT

Today's Mass Readings Online : Tues. May 20, 2014

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 286

Reading 1ACTS 14:19-28
In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21

R. (see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel JN 14:27-31A

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

Pope Francis sends Condolences for Bus Accident in Columbia killing over 30

(Vatican Radio) A telegramme signed by Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father has been sent to the Archbishop of Santa Marta in Columbia following a tragic accident in which a bus, in the north of the country caught fire killing the 32 passengers on board, mostly children.

The telegramme reads that “Pope Francis, was deeply distressed to learn the sad news of the serious accident in the town of Fundaciòn that caused so many victims including many children.”

It goes on to say that the Holy Father offers his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this terrible incident and fervently prays to God to grant all the victims of this tragedy eternal rest.

The Holy Father also offers words of comfort to the families of the victims, praying for them in their distress.

Text from  Vatican Radio website 

Saint May 20 St. Bernardine of Siena - Patron of Gamblers and Advertisers

St. Bernardine of Siena
Feast: May 20

Feast Day:May 20
Born:1380, Massa Marittima, Italy
Died:1444, Aquila, Italy
Canonized:24 May 1450 by Pope Nicholas V
Patron of:advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations work;
St. Bernardine, a true disciple of St. Francis, and an admirable preacher of the word of God, inflamed with the most ardent love of our divine Redeemer, was made by God an instrument to kindle the same holy fire in innumerable souls, and to inspire them with his spirit of humility and meekness. He was born at Massa in 1380, of the noble family of Albizeschi, in the republic of Sienna. He lost his mother when he was but three years old, and his father, who was chief magistrate of Massa, before he was seven. The care of his education devolved on a virtuous aunt called Diana who infused into his tender soul ardent sentiments of piety towards God, and a tender devotion to his blessed Mother. This aunt always loved him as if he had been her own son; and indeed his towardly dispositions won him exceedingly the affections of all who ever had the care of him. He was modest, humble, and devout; and took great delight in prayer, visiting churches, serving at mass, and hearing sermons, which he would repeat again to his companions with an admirable memory and gracefulness of action. In that tender age he had a great compassion for the poor. One day it happened that his aunt sent away a poor person from the door without an alms, because there was but one loaf in the house for the dinner of the family. Bernardine was much troubled to see the beggar go away unrelieved, and said to his aunt, "For God's sake, let us give something to this poor man; otherwise I will neither dine nor sup this day. I had rather the poor should have a dinner than myself." This  wonderfully comforted his good aunt, who never ceased to incite him to all virtues, and, according to his strength, to accustom himself by degrees to fasting. Young as he was, he fasted every Saturday in honor of the blessed Virgin; which pious custom he always continued. At eleven years of age he was called to Sienna by his uncles, and put to school under the ablest masters, who all admired the quickness of his parts, and the solidity of his judgment; but much more, his docility, modesty, and virtue. If he chanced to hear any word the least unbecoming, he, by blushing, testified what confusion it gave him, and how much it wounded his very heart; and though he was otherwise most condescending, civil, and respectful to all, he could never bear with patience any indecent discourse. For a single word of that kind he so severely reprimanded a man of quality, that it was to him a warning during the remainder of his life to govern his tongue; and many years alter, hearing Bernardine preach, he was so moved that he seemed to be drowned in tears. The modesty of the virtuous youth was a check to the most impudent, and kept them in awe in his presence: in whatever company, if the conversation was too free, it was dropped when he appeared, and the very loosest rakes would say, "Hush! here comes Bernardine:" as the presence of Cato among the Romans restrained the lewd libertinism of a festival.1 Nor did the saint behave on these occasions in such a manner as might render virtue the subject of ridicule, but with a surprising dignity. Nevertheless, an impure monster had once the insolence to make an attempt upon his virginal purity, and to solicit him to sin. But the saint, not content to testify his scorn and indignation, excited the whole troop of his little innocent playfellows against the lewd villain, who pelted him with clods and stones, and made him ashamed any more to show his face. Bernardine was exceeding comely and beautiful; but his known virtue secured him from any further assaults; and he never ceased to beg of God the grace of purity, particularly through the intercession of the blessed  Virgin Mary. When he had completed the course of his philosophy, he applied himself to the study of civil and canon law, and afterwards of that of the holy scriptures, with such ardor that he could never from that time relish any other study.

At seventeen years of age he enrolled himself in the confraternity of Our Lady in the hospital of Scala, to serve the sick. Here he began with new vigor to tame his flesh by severe fasts, watchings, hair-shirts, disciplines, and other austerities; but he applied himself more to the interior mortification of his will, which rendered him always most mild, sweet, patient, and affable to every one. He had served this hospital four years, when, in 1400, a dreadful pestilence which had already made great havoc in several other parts of Italy, and was increased by the concourse of pilgrims to the jubilee, reached Sienna; insomuch that twelve, eighteen, or twenty persons died every day in this hospital; and among others were carried off almost all the priests, apothecaries, and servants, that belonged to the place. Bernardine therefore  persuaded twelve young men to bear him company in the service of the hospital, expecting heaven for their speedy recompense; and they all strove which should come up the nearest to Bernardine in cheerfulness, humility, and assiduity in performing the most sacred offices, and in exerting themselves in the service of the sick. The saint was intrusted in a manner with the whole care of the hospital, which, in the space of four months, he put into excellent order. It is hardly credible how many lives he saved, or with what charity and pains he night and day attended the patients, and furnished them with every comfort and succor which it was in his power to afford them. God preserved him from the contagion during these four months, at the end of which the pestilence ceased. He then returned home, but sick of a fever which he had contracted by his fatigues, which obliged him to keep his bed four months; during which time he edified the city, no less by his resignation and patience, than he had done by his charity. He was scarce well recovered when he returned to the like works of charity, and with incredible patience attended a dying aunt for fourteen months, named Bartholomaea, a woman of great piety, who was blind and bedridden. When God had called her to himself, Bernardine retired to a house at some distance from the city, making the walls of his garden the bounds of his enclosure. Here, in solitude, fasting, and prayer, he endeavored to learn the will of God in the choice of a state of life. After some time he took the habit of the order of St. Francis, among the fathers of the Strict Observance at Colombiere, a solitary convent a few miles from Sienna; and after the year of his novitiate, made his profession on the 8th of September, 1404. Having been born on the feast of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin, out of devotion to her, he chose the same day for the principal actions of his life: on it he took the religious habit, made his vows, said his first mass, and preached his first sermon. His fervor increased daily; and while some sought interpretations to mollify the severity of the rule, he was always studying to add to it greater austerities and heroic practices of virtue, the more perfectly to crucify in himself the old man. He was pleased with insults and humiliations, and whatever could be agreeable to the most ardent spirit of humility and self-denial. When he went through the streets in a threadbare short habit, the boys sometimes cast stones at him, with injurious language; in which contempt the saint found a singular joy and satisfaction. He showed the same sentiments when a near kinsman with bitter invectives reproached him, as disgracing his friends by the mean and contemptible manner of life he bad embraced. These and all other virtues he learned in the living book of Christ crucified, which he studied night and day, often prostrate before a crucifix, from which he seemed one day to hear our Lord speak thus to him: "My son, behold me hanging upon a cross: if thou lovest me, or art desirous to imitate me, be thou also fastened naked to thy cross, and follow me; thus thou wilt assuredly find me." In the same school he learned an insatiable zeal for the salvation of souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Having in retirement prepared himself for the office of preaching, his superiors ordered him to employ his talent that way for the benefit of others. He labored under a natural impediment from weakness and hoarseness of voice; the removal of which obstacle he obtained by addressing himself to his glorious patroness, the mother of God. For fourteen years his labors were confined to his own country; but when the reputation of his virtue was spread abroad, he shone as a bright light to the whole church.

In vain cloth the minister of God confide in the weak resources of mere human eloquence and pomp of words, by which he rather debases the dignity and majesty of the sacred oracles: while he pleases the ear and gains the applause of his audience, he leaves their hearts dry. The great apostle of Andalusia, the venerable holy John D'Avila, being desired to lay down some rules for the art of preaching, answered, he knew no other art than the most ardent love of God and zeal for his honor. He used to say to young clergymen, that one word spoken by a man of prayer would do more good, and have a more powerful influence, than all the most eloquent discourses; for it is only the language of the heart that speaks to the heart; and a life of mortification and prayer not only draws down the dew of the divine benediction upon the labors of the preacher, but it replenishes his soul with a sincere spirit of humility, compunction, and all virtues, and with an experimental knowledge and feeling sense of the great truths which he delivers. Zealous ministers who are filled with the Spirit of God, are a great blessing to the people among whom they labor; and this reflection unfolds the secret how saints possess so extraordinary a grace of converting souls to God. This was the excellent talent of Bernardine. They who heard him preach felt their souls to melt in sentiments of compunction, divine love, humility, and the contempt of the world, and returned home new men, striking their breasts, and bathed in tears. The word, of God was in his mouth as a fire, and as a hammer breaking the hardest rocks. Another eminent preacher of his order being asked the reason why his sermons did not produce equal fruit with those of Bernardine, answered, "Brother Bernardine is a fiery glowing coal. What is only warm hath not the power of kindling a fire in others like the burning coal." The saint himself being consulted what was the way to preach with profit, gave this rule: "In all your actions seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory; direct all you do purely to his honor; persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first all that you desire to teach others. By this means the Holy Ghost will be your master, and will give you such wisdom and such a tongue that no adversary will be able to stand against you." This he faithfully practiced, and from his assiduous communication with God he imbibed that eminent spirit of virtue which gave him the most powerful ascendant over the hearts of men. Among the great truths of religion, he principally labored to inculcate a sincere contempt of the vanity of the world, and an ardent love of our blessed Redeemer. He wished he could cry out with a trumpet which could be heard over the whole earth, that he might sound aloud in the ears of all men that great oracle of the Holy Ghost: O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying? O children, how long will you love childishness?3 And he never ceased with the thunder of his voice to raise men from grovelling always on this earth, to the important consideration of the things which belong to their eternal welfare, and to the love of Jesus Christ. So much was he affected with the mysteries of the incarnation and sufferings of the Son of God, that he could never pronounce his sacred name without appearing in transports of love and adoration. Often at the end of his sermon he showed to the people the sacred name of Jesus curiously cut on a board with gold letters, inviting them to adore Christ with him on their knees, reciting a pious doxology. This was misconstrued by some, who also cavilled at certain expressions which he had used. Upon their complaints, pope Martin V. summoned him to appear, and commanded him silence for a while. The humble saint meekly acquiesced without making any reply. But his holiness, after a full examination of his doctrine and conduct, dismissed him with his benediction, high commendations, and ample leave to preach everywhere. The same pope pressed him to accept the bishopric of Sienna in 1427; but he declined that dignity, alleging for his excuse, that if he were confined to one church, he could no longer employ himself in the service of so many souls. In 1431 he no less resolutely refused that of Ferrara, which Eugenius III. earnestly desired to confer upon him, and again that of Urbino, in 1435. When the saint preached first at Milan, the haughty duke Philip Mary Visconti took offence at certain things which he had said in his sermons, and threatened him with death if he should presume to speak any more on such subjects; but the saint declared, that no greater happiness could befall him than to die for the truth. The duke, to try him, sent him a present of one hundred ducats of gold in a golden bowl. The saint excused himself from receiving the money to two different messengers; but being compelled by a third to accept it, he took the messenger with him to the prisons, and laid it all out in his presence in releasing debtors. This disinterestedness turned the duke's aversion into the greatest veneration for the saint ever after.

St. Bernardine preached several times through the greatest part of Italy; some say also in Spain; but this seems uncertain. Nothing was more spoken of over all Italy than the wonderful fruit of his sermons, miraculous conversions, restitution of ill-gotten goods, reparations of injuries, and heroic examples of virtue. The factions of the Guelfs and Ghibellins then horribly divided many cities of Italy, and gave frequent employment to the saint. Hearing once of a great dissension at Perugia, he hastened thither from the marquisate of Ancona, and entering the city, thus addressed the inhabitants, "God, who is highly offended at this division among you, hath sent me, as his angel, to proclaim peace to men of good will upon earth." After preaching four sermons to persuade them to a mutual forgiveness of all injuries, and a general amnesty, at the end of the last he bade all those who forgave each other and desired to live in peace, to pass to the right hand. All present did so except one young nobleman, who stayed on the left, muttering some thing between his teeth. The saint, after a severe reproach, foretold him his sudden death, which happened soon after, and without the benefit of the sacraments. In 1433 he accompanied the emperor Sigismund to his coronation at Rome; after which he retired for a short time to Sienna, where he put the finishing hand to his works.

Amidst the greatest applause and honors, the most sincere humility always appeared in his words and actions; and he ever studied to conceal the talents with which God had enriched him. How great his esteem of humility was, he testified when a brother of his order asked him the means by which he might speedily arrive at perfection. The saint, instead of giving him any answer by words, threw himself at his feet; showing at the same time his own great affection to humility, and also that this virtue raises the soul to divine love and every grace. God, however, was pleased to honor his servant before men. Besides several predictions and miraculous cures of many lepers and other sick persons, the saint is recorded to have raised four dead to life. He was appointed vicar-general of his order of the Strict Observance in Italy, in 1438, in which he settled a rigorous reformation; but, after five years, obtained a discharge from his office; and in his old age continued the function of preaching through Romania, Ferrara, and Lombardy. He returned to Sienna in 1444, preached a most pathetic farewell sermon at Massa on concord and unity, and being taken ill of a malignant fever on the road, still preached as usual till he arrived at Aquila in Abruzzo. There, being confined to his bed, he prepared himself for his passage out of this life by the rites of the church. When he was speechless, he made a sign to be taken off his bed and laid upon the floor; where, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he surrendered his pure soul into the hands of his Creator on the 20th of May, 1444, after a life of sixty-three years, eight months, and thirteen days. His tomb was rendered illustrious by many miracles, and he was canonized by Nicholas V. in 1450. His body is kept in a crystal shrine, enclosed in one of silver, in the church of his order at Aquila.



King Hamad of Bahrain to build Largest Catholic Church in Arabian Peninsula meets Pope

Asia News Report: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa gave Pope Francis a scale model of the church. The two leaders also talked about Mideast peace and inter-faith coexistence.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain discussed peace in the Middle East and inter-faith coexistence during their meeting today. The Bahraini monarch used the occasion to present the pontiff with a scale model of the "largest church in the Arabian Peninsula," which is slated for construction in the small Gulf state.
"The cordial discussions," the Vatican said in a press release, "focused on various themes of common interest, with particular reference to the commitment towards peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as the promotion of dialogue and peaceful co-existence among all members of society."
Similarly, "Mention was [. . .] made of the Christian community's positive contribution to the country, and appreciation was expressed for His Majesty's personal interest in the needs of the local Catholic community."
The meeting between the Holy Father and the Bahraini monarch lasted 27 minutes in the presence of an interpreter. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was accompanied by an entourage of seven aides, all men.
The king wore a turban and traditional attire in white and gold. Three of his aides were also in traditional dress; the other wore Western clothes.
After the private meeting, gifts were exchanged. The king gave the pope a large red box with a scale model of the future Catholic Vicariate of Bahrain.
"The largest church in North Arabia, which will be built in the Kingdom of Bahrain" and today's date were inscribed on the model.
In offering the gift to Pope Francis, the King of Bahrain also described the area where the Catholic Vicariate will rise, built near two mosques, one from the early Islamic era and the other inaugurated in 1988, and an Islamic cultural centre. "The two nearby mosques will protect the vicariate," King Hamad said.
The Pope reciprocated by giving his guest a medal with the Angel of Peace, explaining to him that it is a "symbol of peace and solidarity."

After the papal audience, the Bahraini delegation met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and Secretary for Relations with States Dominique Mamberti.
Shared from Asia News IT

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