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Monday, June 9, 2014

Catholic News World : Monday June 9, 2014 - Share!

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Vatican Radio) “Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare”, the courage “to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity”.



This was Pope Francis message to his guests Sunday evening – the Israeli and Palestinian Presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas – as he welcomed them to his home for an Invocation for Peace in the Holy Land. 
The encounter took place in the quiet calm of the Vatican Gardens, two weeks to the day since Pope Francis had first announced it during his trip to the Holy Land – to the surprise of many. Then again, celebrating the feast of Pentecost earlier Sunday morning the Holy Father had said “a Church incapable of surprise… is a dying Church”.
 As the sunset over St Peter’s dome, in three separate phases Jews, Christians and Muslims called upon God – each according to their own tradition.  The peoples of the Holy Land gave thanks to God for creation, asked for forgiveness and appealed for peace.
There were rabbis from diverse traditions, Muslim and Druze imams and muftis, cardinals, bishops, the custodian of the Holy Land, Fr. Pizzaballa. Theophilos III, Greek-orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem was also present as were Rabbi Abram Skorka and Muslim leader Omar Abboud both from Buenos Aires, longtime friends of the Holy Father.
We  “call upon God in an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples” said Pope Francis.  We cannot bring about peace on our own, he said, and that is why we are here “because we know and we believe that we need the help of God”.
“We have heard a summons, and we must respond.  It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word “brother”.  But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father”.
The Israeli president Shimon Peres said: "It is within our power to bring peace to our children. This is our duty, the holy mission of parents."
The Palestinian President Mahoumoud Abbas called on God to bring a “comprehensive and just peace” to the region. He also quoted St. John Paul II “if peace is realized in Jerusalem, peace will be witnessed in the whole world".
There have been prayers for peace in the Middle East, but none quite like this.  With the Pope throughout the encounter was the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I – just as he had accompanied Pope Francis throughout his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. A further reminder that Christian unity is also key to peace in the land of Christ’s Birth.
And there in the quite corner of the Vatican gardens – the four men, a Jew, two Christians and a Muslim, planted a small olive tree together as an enduring symbol of the mutual desire for peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
Shared from Radio Vaticana - Video from RomeReports

Pope Francis "People who gossip, who do not make peace, are enemies of peace"


Pope at Santa Marta
09/06/2014


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says the Beatitudes spell out a programme for Christian life.
During his homily at Monday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope focused on the Beatitudes; on the day following the historic meeting for peace in the Vatican, he called for the courage of meekness to defeat hatred.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni. Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day which focusses on the Beatitudes, Pope Francis described them as a “programme”, the “identity card of a Christian”.  If you ask yourself how to become a good Christian,  this is where you can find Jesus’s answer, an answer – he said - that points to an attitude that is currently very much against the tide: Blessed are the poor in spirit. Wealth – Francis pointed out – offers no guarantee, in fact – he continued – when the heart is rich and self-satisfied, it has no place for the Word of God: “Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted”.
The world tells us that happiness, joy and entertainment are the best things in life. And it looks the other way when there are problems of disease or pain in the family. The world does not want to suffer, it prefers to ignore painful situations, to cover them up. Only the person who sees things as they are, and whose heart mourns, will be happy and will be comforted. Thanks to the consolation of Jesus, not to that of the world. Blessed are the meek in this world which is filled with wars, arguments, hatred. And Jesus says: no war, no hatred. Peace and meekness.”
Pope Francis continued saying “if you are meek in life, people will think you are not clever”. Let them think that – he said – “but you are meek because with this meekness you will inherit the Earth”. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness”. It is so easy – the Pope observed – to become part of the corrupt and referred to “that daily approach of ‘do ut des’. Everything is business”. How much injustice does that approach cause – he noted – and how many people suffer because of injustice. And Jesus says: “Blessed are they who fight against injustice. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy”. The merciful – the Pope said – “those who forgive and understand the mistakes of others”. Jesus – he pointed out – does not say “blessed are they who seek revenge”.
“Blessed are they who forgive, who are merciful. Because we are all part of an army of people who have been forgiven! We have all been forgiven. That is why blessed is he who undertakes this path of forgiveness. Blessed are the pure of heart, they who have a simple, pure heart without dirt, a heart that knows how to love with purity. Blessed are peace-makers. But it is so common amongst us to be war-makers or perpetrators of misunderstandings! When I hear something from one person, and I go and say it to someone else in a second, enlarged, edition… the world of gossip. People who gossip, who do not make peace, are enemies of peace. They are not blessed”.
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness”. How many people – Pope Francis said – have been persecuted, “and continue to be persecuted simply for having fought for justice”. And recalling the Beatitudes, the Pope pointed out that they represent “a programme for life offered to us by Jesus”: “So simple and yet so difficult”. And he said: “if we are searching for more, Jesus gives us other indications” as written in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 25: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was ill and you cared for me,  I was in prison and you visited me”. With these two things – the Beatitudes and Matthew 25 – “one can live a holy, Christian life”.
“Few words, simple words, but practical for all. Because Christianity is a practical religion: it is not just to be imagined, it is to be practiced. If you have some time at home today, take the Gospel, Matthew’s Gospel, chapter five. At the beginning there are the Beatitudes; in chapter 25 the rest. And it will do you good to read them once, twice, three times. Read this programme for holiness. May the Lord give us the grace to understand his message”.
Shared from Radio Vaticana

Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 359

 Reading 11 KGS 17:1-6

Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab:
“As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve,
during these years there shall be no dew or rain except at my word.”
The LORD then said to Elijah:
“Leave here, go east
and hide in the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan.
You shall drink of the stream,
and I have commanded ravens to feed you there.”
So he left and did as the LORD had commanded.
He went and remained by the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan.
Ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning,
and bread and meat in the evening,
and he drank from the stream.

Responsorial Psalm PS 121:1BC-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (see 2) Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
May he not suffer your foot to slip;
may he slumber not who guards you:
Indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,
the guardian of Israel.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade;
he is beside you at your right hand.
The sun shall not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and your going,
both now and forever.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Gospel MT 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Saint June 9 : St. Ephrem of Syria : Doctor : Patron of Spiritual Directors


St. Ephrem of Syria
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: June 9


Information:
Feast Day:June 9
Born:306 at Nisibis, Mesopotamia (in modern Syria)
Died:9 June 373 at Edessa (in modern Iraq)
Patron of:Spiritual directors and spiritual leaders
Born at Nisibis, then under Roman rule, early in the fourth century; died June, 373. The name of his father is unknown, but he was a pagan and a priest of the goddess Abnil or Abizal. His mother was a native of Amid. Ephraem was instructed in the Christian mysteries by St. James, the famous Bishop of Nisibis, and was baptized at the age of eighteen (or twenty-eight). Thenceforth he became more intimate with the holy bishop, who availed himself of the services of Ephraem to renew the moral life of the citizens of Nisibis, especially during the sieges of 338, 346, and 350. One of his biographers relates that on a certain occasion he cursed from the city walls the Persian hosts, whereupon a cloud of flies and mosquitoes settled on the army of Sapor II  and compelled it to withdraw. The adventurous campaign of Julian the Apostate, which for a time menaced Persia, ended, as is well known, in disaster, and his successor, Jovianus, was only too happy to rescue from annihilation some remnant of the great army which his predecessor had led across the Euphrates. To accomplish even so much the emperor had to sign a disadvantageous treaty, by the terms of which Rome lost the Eastern provinces conquered at the end of the third century; among the cities retroceded to Persia was Nisibis (363). To escape the cruel persecution that was then raging in Persia, most of the Christian population abandoned Nisibis en masse. Ephraem went with his people, and settled first at Beit-Garbaya, then at Amid, finally at Edessa, the capital of Osrhoene, where he spent the remaining ten years of his life, a hermit remarkable for his  severe asceticism. Nevertheless he took an interest in all matters that closely concerned the population of Edessa. Several ancient writers say that he was a deacon; as such he could well have been authorized to preach in public. At this time some ten heretical sects were active in Edessa; Ephraem contended vigorously with all of them, notably with the disciples of the illustrious philosopher Bardesanes. To this period belongs nearly all his literary work; apart from some poems composed at Nisibis, the rest of his writings-sermons, hymns, exegetical treatises-date from his sojourn at Edessa. It is not improbable that he is one of the chief founders of the theological "School of the Persians", so called because its first students and original masters were Persian Christian refugees of 363. At his death St. Ephraem was borne without pomp to the cemetery "of the foreigners". The Armenian monks of the monastery of St. Sergius at Edessa claim to possess his body.

The aforesaid facts represent all that is historically certain concerning the career of Ephraem. All details added later by Syrian biographers are at best of doubtful value. To this class belong not only the legendary and occasionally puerile traits so dear to Oriental writers, but also others seemingly reliable, e.g. an alleged journey to Egypt with a sojourn of eight years, during which he is said to have confuted publicly certain spokesmen of the Arian heretics. The relations of St. Ephraem and St. Basil are narrated by very reliable authors, e.g. St. Gregory of Nyssa (the Pseudo?) and Sozomen, according to whom the hermit of Edessa, attracted by the great reputation of St. Basil, resolved to visit him at Caesarea. He was warmly received and was ordained deacon by St. Basil; four years later he refused both the priesthood and the episcopate that St. Basil offered him through delegates sent for that purpose to Edessa. Though Ephraem seems to have been quite ignorant of Greek, this meeting with St. Basil is not improbable; some good critics, however, hold the evidence insufficient, and therefore reject it, or at least withhold their adhesion. The life of St. Ephraem, therefore, offers not a few obscure problems; only the general outline of his career is known to us. It is certain, however, that while he lived he was very influential among the Syrian Christians of Edessa, and that his memory was revered by all, Orthodox, Monophysites, and Nestorians. They call him the "sun of the Syrians," the "column of the Church", the "harp of the Holy Spirit". More extraordinary still is the homage paid by the Greeks who rarely mention Syrian writers. Among the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLVI, 819) is a sermon (though not acknowledged by some) which is a real panegyric of St. Ephraem. Twenty years after the latter's death St. Jerome mentions him as follows in his catalogue of illustrious Christians: "Ephraem, deacon of the Church of Edessa, wrote many works [opuscula] in Syriac, and became so famous that his writings are publicly read in some churches after the Sacred Scriptures. I have read in Greek a volume of his on the Holy Spirit; though it was only a translation, I recognized therein the sublime genius of the man" (De viris illustr., c. cxv). Theodoret of Cyrus also praised his poetic genius and theological knowledge (Hist. Eccl., IV, xxvi). Sozomen pretends that Ephraem wrote 3,000,000 verses, and gives the names of some of his disciples, some of whom remained orthodox, while others fell into heresy (Hist. Eccl., III, xvi). From the Syrian and Byzantine Churches the fame of Ephraem spread among all Christians. The Roman Martyrology mentions him on 1 February. In their menologies and synaxaria Greeks and Russians, Jacobites, Chaldeans, Copts, and Armenians honour the holy deacon of Edessa.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/E/stephremofsyria.asp#ixzz1xG6i8Rjg

Saint June 9 : St. Columbkille of Ireland : 1st Missionary to Scotland


ST. COLUMBKILLE is one of three great saints of Ireland and was the first missionary to Scotland. Born in 521 in Donegal, Ireland to a family connected to kings and princes, Columb was a man gifted with incredible talents. He wrote poetry and music, established churches and monasteries, preached the gospel and painted manuscripts. St. Adamnan, his biographer wrote of him: "He had the face of an angel; he was of an excellent nature, polished in speech, holy in deed, great in counsel . . . loving unto all." He is personally described as "A man well-formed, with powerful frame; his skin was white, his face broad and fair and radiant, lit up with large, gray, luminous eyes.”
DoveFrom an early age Columb seemed destined for the priesthood, his family sent him off to study under the future St. Finnian and at Clonard Abbey he surrendered his princely claims, became a monk and was ordained. He spent the next 15 years preaching and teaching in Ireland. As was the custom in those days, he combined study and prayer with manual labor. By his own natural gifts as well as by the good fortune of his birth, he soon gained ascendancy as a monk of unusual distinction. By the time he was 25, he had founded no less than 27 Irish monasteries, including those at Derry, Durrow, and Kells, as well as some 40 churches. His work for the Church gained him the addition of “kille” to his name. Columb means “dove” in Gaelic and kille is “church”, so he came to be known as the “church’s dove”. Columb lived, with every ounce of his energy, the commission of Jesus to “go and make disciples.”
QuillThere is a famous tale about Columbkille that stands as one of the first copyright cases on record: Columbkille was so anxious to have a copy of Finnian’s Psalter that he shut himself up at night in the church that contained it and secretly transcribed it by hand. He was discovered by a monk who watched him through the keyhole and reported it to his superior. Bibles and prayer books were so scarce in those days that Abbot Finnian claimed the copy, refusing to allow it to leave the monastery. Columbkille refused to surrender it until he was obliged to do so, under protest, on Finnian's appeal to King Diarmaid, who said, "To every cow its calf," meaning to every book its copy.

BoatWhile historically a bit unclear, an unfortunate period followed, during which, owing to Columbkille's protection of a refugee and his impassioned denunciation of an injustice by King Diarmaid, war broke out between the clans of Ireland, and Columbkille became an exile of his own accord. Filled with remorse on account of those who had been slain in battle and condemned by many of his own friends, he experienced a change of heart and an irresistible call to preach to those who had not heard the gospel. In 563, at the age of 42, he left Ireland with 12 companions and landed on an island now known as Iona. Here on this desolate rock, only three miles long and two miles wide, in the northern sea off the southwest corner of Mull, Scotland, he began his work; and, Iona became a center of Christian learning. It became the heart of Celtic Christianity and a potent factor in the conversion of the Picts, Scots, and Northern English. Monks from the monasteries established by Columbkille would later travel to mainland Europe and Christianize the Frank and Germanic tribes.
There are many miracles and incredible events recorded by St. Adamnan in his biography of St. Columbkille and they make for interesting reading. If you wish to believe it, he is one of the first people to encounter the Loch Ness monster. His memory remains a potent force in Celtic lands and his poetry and songs are still sung:
“Alone with none but Thee, my God,
I journey on my way;
what need I fear when Thou art near,
O King of night and day?"

Sunday, June 8, 2014

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