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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Catholic News World : Wednesday February 25, 2015 - SHARE

2015

Hassakè (Agenzia Fides) - There are between 120 and 140 Assyrian Christians held hostage by jiahdists of the Islamic State who in the night between Sunday 22 and Monday, February 23 launched a large-scale attack against the Christian villages scattered along the banks of the river Khabur, in the Syrian province in northeastern Jazeera. This was confirmed to Agenzia Fides by Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, ordinary of the Syrian Catholic Archieparchy in Hassaké-Nisibis. The hostages all belong to the villages of Tel Jazira, Tel Shamiram and Tel Gouram. "The jihadists - refers Archbishop - have taken full control of the villages on the western shore of Khabur, while yesterday afternoon, February 24, all the inhabitants of 22 villages scattered along the eastern shore were evacuated and more than a thousand Christian Assyrian and Chaldean families fled to the major centers of Hassaké, Qamishli, Dirbesiye and Ras al-Ayn". The offensive of the jihadists of the Islamic State has so far caused the death in combat of 4 Christians enrolled in the Assyrian militia - deployed with Kurdish battalions against the militia of Is - while at the moment, according to Assyrian sources, a young Christian Assyrian named Milad appears to be the only civilian victim of the Islamists. According to the Syrian Catholic Archbishop, the jihadists have launched an offensive in the region of the Khabur to find new spaces and escape routes. According to Mgr. Hindo even countermoves proposed by some foreign Countries before the recent military strategies of the Islamic State confirms the serious responsibilities of the West in triggering conflicts that are destroying the Middle East. "With their disastrous policies - the Archbishop explains to Fides - mainly the French and the US, with their regional allies, have favored in fact the Daesh escalation. Now they persevere in error, commit strategic, grotesque mistakes such as the announcement of the 'spring campaign' to liberate Mosul and insist on interfering with irrelevant interventions, instead of recognizing that their guaranteed support to jihadist groups has led us to this chaos and has destroyed Syria, making us regress 200 years". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 25/02/2015)
According to AsiaNews : Since the beginning of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al Assad in 2011, more than 3.2 million people have fled the country whilst another 7.6 million are internally displaced. At least 200,000 people have been killed in the fighting, many of them civilians.

What are the Stations of the Cross - Prayers to SHARE for Lent to Remember Jesus' Sufferings

Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; in Latin, Via Crucis; also called the Via Dolorosa) are artistic representations, showing Christ Carrying the Cross to His crucifixion. Many Roman Catholic churches have Stations of the Cross, placed at along the side walls of the Church. The tradition of moving around the Stations to commemorate the Passion of Christ began with St. Francis of Assisi. Some Lutherans and Anglicans also observe the practice. Lent, the 40 days before Easter, is when the "Stations" are typically prayed but it can be said any time through the year. In Jerusalem this is known as the "Via Sacra", or a specific way along which pilgrims walk meditating on the Lord's walk to His crucifixion. In the past the number of stations varied between seven and thirty; seven was common.  In 1731, Pope Clement XII extended to all churches the right to have the stations and adjusted them to fourteen.  Pope John Paul II referred to Acts of Reparation as the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified".
At each Station, the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be are prayed.
Also the faithful often bend the knee saying "We adore you o Christ and praise you because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world." The Church provides an Indulgence for the 14 Stations.
14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes:

  • 1. Christ condemned to death;
  • 2. the cross is laid upon him;
  • 3. His first fall;
  • 4. He meets His Blessed Mother;
  • 5. Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross;
  • 6. Christ's face is wiped by Veronica;
  • 7. His second fall;
  • 8. He meets the women of Jerusalem;
  • 9. His third fall;
  • 10. He is stripped of His garments;
  • 11. His crucifixion;
  • 12. His death on the cross;
  • 13. His body is taken down from the cross; 
  • 14. Jesus is laid in the tomb
  • Latest from #Vatican News and #PopeFrancis - Clarification on Mexicanisation and End of Life Assistance...

    25-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 040 

    Summary
    - Clarification of the Pope's use of the expression “avoid Mexicanisation” in a private and informal email
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - End of life assistance to the elderly, theme of the 21st assembly of the Pontifical Council pro Vita
    - In Memoriam
    Clarification of the Pope's use of the expression “avoid Mexicanisation” in a private and informal email
    Vatican City, 25 February 2015 (VIS) – The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., announced yesterday afternoon that the Secretariat of State has sent a Note to the Mexican ambassador to the Holy See to clarify that in using the expression “avoid Mexicanisation”, the Pope did not in any way intend to offend the Mexican population, for whom he holds special affection, nor to underestimate the commitment of the Mexican government in its fight against narcotics trafficking.
    As is known, the expression “avoid Mexicanisation” was used by the Pope in an email of a strictly private and informal nature, in response to an Argentine friend who is deeply involved in the battle against drug abuse, who had used the phrase.
    The Note demonstrates that evidently the Pope intended only to emphasise the seriousness of the phenomenon of the drug trafficking that afflicts Mexico and other countries in Latin America. It is precisely this importance that has made the fight against drug trafficking a priority for the government; to combat violence and restore peace and serenity to Mexican families, acting on the causes at the root of this scourge.
    It is a phenomenon that, like others in Latin America, that the Pope has drawn attention to on various occasions, including in his encounters with the bishops, emphasising the need to adopt policies of cooperation and collaboration at all levels.
    Other Pontifical Acts
    Vatican City, 25 February 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
    - Fr. Joseo Aristeu Vieira as bishop of Luz (area 24,990, population 494,000, Catholics 397,000, priests 75, religious 47), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Rio Vermelho, Brazil in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1979. He served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest, spiritual director and professor of the “Sagrado Coracao de Jesus” provincial seminary in Diamantina; and coordinator of vocational pastoral ministry and works for priestly vocations. He is currently parish priest of the “ Imaculada Conceicao” parish in Buritizeiro, Brazil.
    - Fr. Luiz Goncalves Knupp as bishop of Tres Lagoas (area 57,876, population 252,000, Catholics 190,000, priests 17, permanent deacons 12, religious 54), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Mandaguari, Brazil in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1999. In the course of his pastoral ministry he has served as parish administrator, parish priest; spiritual director of the seminaries of theology, philosophy and preparation in Maringa. located in Londrina. He is currently parish priest of the “Nossa Senhora de Fatima” parish in Marialva, Brazil.
    - Fr. Janusz Danecki, O.F.M. Conv., as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Campo Grande (area 43,762, population 913,096, Catholics 543,292, priests 106, permanent deacons 3, religious 280), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Lowicz, Poland in 1951, gave his solemn vows in 1975 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He exercised his pastoral ministry in the Franciscan parishes of Niepokalanow and Lodz before transferring to Brazil as a missionary, where he has served as formator of postulants and Superior of the “Jardim da Imaculada” community in Luziania; national director of the Militia Immaculatae, parish priest; rector of the Franciscan seminary in Brasilia, guardian of the convent and secretary of the Custodian; provincial vicar and formator in Brasilia. He is currently parish priest of the “Nossa Senhora de Fatima” parish in Jurua, Brazil.
    24-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 039 

    End of life assistance to the elderly, theme of the 21st assembly of the Pontifical Council pro Vita
    Vatican City, 24 February 2015 (VIS) – The Pontifical Academy pro Vita will dedicate its upcoming general assembly to end of life assistance to the elderly. The assembly, which will take place in the New Synod Hall from 5 to 7 March, is the 21st to be held by this institution, and the official theme is “Assisting the Elderly and Palliative Care”.
    During the assembly, on 6 March, there will be a workshop open to the public, especially scholars, healthcare and pastoral workers, and students who are interested in acquiring a deeper knowledge of the theme from a number of viewpoints: theological-philosophical, ethical and medical, cultural and social.
    In the first session of the Workshop, “Clinical care for the elderly at the end of life”, following a brief general introduction to the theme by Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy pro Vita, a number of specific issues will be considered, such as medical care for the elderly with chronic degenerative illlnesses, the use and abuse of analgesics in palliative care, nursing care for the terminally ill, and clinical decision-making processes for the elderly at the end of life.
    The second session will be dedicated to ethical and anthropological perspectives, and will focus on the central role of relationships with the elderly in family, social and hospital contexts, and guidelines for accompanying the elderly as they near death, with respect for their dignity and avoiding any form of abandonment or euthanasia.
    The day will conclude with the analysis of socio-cultural perspectives. The third session will be dedicated to the spirituality of the elderly in later year, legal aspects of the end of life, pastoral care and the role of the family, ending with the question, “What is social solidarity?”.
    In Memoriam
    Vatican City, 24 February 2015 (VIS) – The following prelates have died in recent weeks:
    - Archbishop Pierre-Andre Fournier of Rimouski, Canada, on 10 January at the age of 71.
    - Bishop James Naanman Daman, O.S.A, of Shendam, Nigeria, on 12 January at the age of 58.
    - Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza of Mzuzu, Malawi, on 15 January at the age of 59.
    - Bishop Jose Maria Hernandez Gonzalez, emeritus of Netzahualcoyotl, Mexico, on 19 January at the age of 88.
    - Archbishop Jose Martins da Silva, S.D.N. emeritus of Porto Velho, Brazil, on 29 January at the age of 78.
    - Bishop Adalberto Arturo Rosat, O.F.M., prelate emeritus of Aiquile, Bolivia, on 31 January at the age of 81.
    - Bishop Vincent Valentine Egwuchukwu Ezeonyia, C.S.Sp., of Aba, Nigeria, on 8 February at the age of 73.
    - Cardinal Karl Josef Becker, S.J. †Deacon of San Giuliano Martire, on 10 February at the age of 86.
    - Bishop Abel Costas Montano, emeritus of Tarija, Bolivia, on 11 February at the age of 94.
    - Bishop Thomas Bhalerao, S.J. emeritus of Nashik, India, on 13 February at the age of 82.
    - Bishop Magnus Mwalunyungu, emeritus of Tunduru-Masasi, Tanzania, on 13 February at the age of 84.
    - Bishop Joseph Devellerez Thaung Shwe , emeritus of Pyay, Myanmar, on 17 February at the age of 79.
    - Archbishop Antonio Lanfranchi, of Modena-Nonantola, Italy, on 17 February at the age of 68.
    - Bishop Bernardo Enrique Witte, O.M.I. emeritus of Concepcion, on 21 February at the age of 88.

    Today's Mass Readings : Wednesday February 25, 2015

    Lenten Weekday
     First Reading 
    Jonah 3:1-10 1Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,2"Arise, go to Nin'eveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you."3So Jonah arose and went to Nin'eveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nin'eveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth.4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he cried, "Yet forty days, and Nin'eveh shall be overthrown!"5And the people of Nin'eveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.6Then tidings reached the king of Nin'eveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.7And he made proclamation and published through Nin'eveh, "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water,8but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands.9Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?"10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.
    Responsorial Psalm 
    Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19 1Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me. 16For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased. 17The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
    Gospel 
    Luke 11:29-32 
    29When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nin'eveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. 31The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nin'eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

    China's Oldest Priest dies RIP Fr. Ye Yaomin Age 105 - "Never hate because hate is a sin."

    The Chinese Church mourns Fr. Ye Yaomin, who died aged 105. He spent 25 years doing hard labor
    He was the oldest priest in the country. On his deathbed he prayed that new vocations for the local church flourish and condemned hate, which "is always a sin." Catholic sources tell AsiaNews: "He was the last of the 'elder' priests, ordained before the advent of Mao. They had kept the faith and dignity intact."

    Guangzhou (AsiaNews) - China's oldest priest, Fr. Philip Ye Yaomin, died "peacefully, praying for the Church, for a flowering of vocations and rejecting hatred. He was the last of the 'elders', the priests ordained before the advent of Mao Zedong, who despite persecution had kept intact both faith and dignity".  This is how a Catholic source Guangzhou remembers Fr. Ye speaking toAsiaNews.  They priest had lived in the region for a long period before he died on 21 January at the age of 105.
    His life was described as "epic" and ranged from the fall of the Chinese Empire to the civil war, and  the regime of the Communist Party intolerant of his strong faith.  On meeting him in 2007 in the Cathedral of Guangzhou, capital of the rich southern province of Guangdong, Fr. Ye recalled with a smile the period of the Cultural Revolution: "I was buried alive for a day and a night. Thank God that my faithful managed to stick a bamboo to help me breathe in the ground!".
    For his final days Fr. Ye chose the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Foshan, his hometown. UCAN news agency spoke to the nun who cared for him in recent decades, Chen Jianyin, who says: "In recent times he had decided to refuse hospital treatment and food. He seemed aware of the imminence of his end. He told us that the Church was his home and he wanted to die at home. For this reason his parishioners have taken him to the Immaculate Conception, where he died".

    Born in 1910 and baptized with the name of Philip, at age 27 Fr. Ye went to Hong Kong to study at the Major Seminary of Southern China. He remained there for seven years, until the end of World War II, then to returned to Guangzhou. He was ordained priest in 1948, and the year after faced the advent of the Communist Party who were determined to quell the Catholic Church.

    In 1955 he was reported for "illegal possession of foreign material", a newsletter sent by old seminary classmates still in Hong Kong (at the time still in the hands of Great Britain). He was sentenced to live and work on a pig farm in the province of Qinghai, where he remained until 1980. Recalling those days, Fr. Ye used to say: "Never hate because hate is a sin."

    Shared from AsiaNews IT

    Saint February 25 : St. Tarasius : Pariarch of Constantinople



    Information:
    Feast Day:February 25
    Born:
    750 at Constantinople 
    Died:25 February 806
    Tarasius was born about the middle of the eighth century. His parents were both of patrician families. His father, George, was a judge, in great esteem for his well-known justice, and his mother, Eucratia, no less celebrated for her piety. She brought him up in the practice of the most eminent virtues. Above all things, she recommended to him to keep no company but that of  the most virtuous. The young man, by his talents and virtue, gained the esteem of all, and was raised to the greatest honours of the empire, being made consul, and afterwards secretary of state to Emperor Constantine and the Empress Irene, his mother. In the midst of the court, and in its highest honours, surrounded by all that could flatter pride or gratify sensuality, he led a life like that of a religious man.
    Leo, the Isaurian, his son, Constantine Copronymus, and his grandson, Leo, surnamed Chazarus, three successive emperors, had established, with all their power, the heresy of the Iconoclasts, or image-breakers, in the East. The Empress Irene, wife to the last, was always privately a Catholic, though an artful, ambitious woman. Her husband dying miserably, in 780, after a five years' reign, and having left his son Constantine, but ten years old, under her guardianship, she so managed the nobility in her favour as to get the regency and whole government of the state into her hands, and put a stop to the persecution of the Catholics. Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, the third of that name, had been raised to that dignity by the late emperor. Though, contrary to the dictates of his own conscience, he had conformed in some respects to the then reigning heresy; he had, however, several good qualities, and was not only singularly beloved by the people for his charity to the poor, but highly esteemed by the empress and the whole court for his great prudence. Finding himself indisposed, and being touched with remorse for his condescension to the Iconoclasts in the former reign, without communicating his design to any one, he quitted the patriarchal see and put on a religious habit in the Monastery of Florus, in Constantinople. The empress was no sooner informed of it, but taking with her the young emperor, went to the monastery to dissuade a person so useful to her from persisting in such a resolution, but all in vain, for the patriarch assured them, with tears and bitter lamentations, that, in order to repair the scandal he had given, he had taken an unalterable resolution to end his days in that monastery, so desired them to provide the church of Constantinople with a worthy pastor in his room. Being asked whom he thought equal to the charge, he immediately named Tarasius, and dying soon after this declaration, Tarasius was accordingly chosen patriarch by the unanimous consent of the court, clergy, and people. Tarasius finding it in vain to oppose his election] declared, however, that he thought he could not in conscience accept of the government of a see which had been cut off from the catholic communion but upon condition that a general council should be called to compose the disputes which divided the church at that time in relation to holy images. This being agreed to, he was solemnly declared patriarch, and consecrated soon after, on Christmas-day. He was no sooner installed but he sent his synodal letters to Pope Adrian, to whom  the empress also wrote in her own and her son's name on the subject of a general council, begging that he would either come in person, or at least send some venerable and learned men as his legates to Constantinople. Tarasius wrote likewise a letter to the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, wherein he desires them to send their respective legates to the intended council. His letter to the pope was to the same effect. The pope sent his legates, as desired, and wrote by them to the emperor, the empress, and the patriarch; applauded their zeal, showing at large the impiety of the Iconoclast heresy, insisting that the false council of the Iconoclasts, held under Copronymus for the establishment of Iconoclasm, should be first condemned in presence of his legates, and conjuring them before God to re-establish holy images at Constantinople, and in all Greece, on the footing they were before. He recommends to the emperor and empress his two legates to the council, who were Peter, archpriest of the Roman church, and Peter, priest and abbot of St. Sabas, in Rome. The eastern patriarchs being under the Saracen yoke, could not come for fear of giving offence to their jealous masters, who prohibited, under the strictest penalties, all commerce with the empire. However, with much difficulty and through many dangers, they sent their deputies.
    The legates of the pope and the oriental patriarchs being arrived, as also the bishops under their jurisdiction, the council was opened on the 1st of August in the Church of the Apostles, at Constantinople, in 786. But the assembly being disturbed by the violences of the Iconoclasts, and desired by the empress to break up and withdraw for the present, the council met again the  year following in the Church of St. Sophia, at Nice. The two legates from the pope are named first in the Acts, St. Tarasius next, and after him the legates of the oriental patriarchs-namely, John, priest and monk, for the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem, and Thomas, priest and monk, for the Patriarch of Alexandria. The council consisted of three hundred and fifty bishops, besides many abbots and other holy priests and confessors, who having declared the sense of the present church in relation to the matter in debate, which was found to be the allowing to holy pictures and images a relative honour, the council was closed with the usual acclamations and prayers for the prosperity of the emperor and empress; after which synodal letters were sent to all the churches, and in particular to the pope, who approved the council.
    The good patriarch, pursuant to the decrees of the synod, restored holy images throughout the extent of his jurisdiction. He also laboured zealously to abolish simony, and wrote a letter upon that subject to Pope Adrian, in which, by saying it was the glory of the Roman church to preserve the purity of the priesthood, he intimated that that church was free from this reproach. The life of this holy patriarch was a model of perfection to his clergy and people. His table had nothing of superfluity. He allowed himself very little time for sleep, being always up the first and last in his family. Reading and prayer filled all his leisure hours. It was his pleasure, in imitation of our blessed Redeemer, to serve others instead of being served by them; on which account he would scarce permit his own servants to do any thing for him. Loving humility in himself, he sought sweetly to induce all others to the love of that virtue. He banished the use of gold and scarlet from among the clergy, and labored to extirpate all the irregularities among the people. His charity and love for the poor seemed to surpass his other virtues. He often took the dishes of meat from his table to distribute among them with his own hands: and he assigned them a large fixed revenue. And that none might be overlooked, he visited all the houses and hospitals in Constantinople. In Lent, especially, his bounty to them was incredible. His discourses were powerful exhortations to the universal mortification of the senses, and he was particularly severe against all theatrical entertainments. Some time after, the emperor became enamored of Theodota, a maid of honor to his wife, the empress Mary, whom he had always hated; and forgetting what he owed to God, he was resolved to divorce her in 795, after seven years' cohabitation. He used all his efforts to gain the patriarch, and sent a principal officer to him for that purpose, accusing his wife of a plot to poison him. St. Tarasius answered the messenger, saying, "I know not how the emperor can bear the infamy of so scandalous an action in the sight of the universe, nor how he will be able to hinder or punish adulteries and debaucheries if he himself set such an example. Tell him that I will rather suffer death and all manner of torments than consent to his design." The emperor, hoping to prevail with him by flattery, sent for him to the palace, and said to him, I can conceal nothing from you, whom I regard as my father. No one can deny but I may divorce one who has attempted my life. She deserves death or perpetual penance." He then produced a vessel, as he pretended, full of the poison prepared for him. The patriarch, with good reason, judging the whole to be only an artful contrivance to impose upon him, answered that he was too well convinced that his passion for Theodota was at the bottom of all his complaints against the empress. He added that though she were guilty of the crime he laid to her charge, his second marriage during her life with any other would still be contrary to the law of God, and that he would draw upon himself the censures of the church by attempting it. The monk John, who had been legate of the eastern patriarchs in the seventh council, being present, spoke also very resolutely to the emperor on the subject, so that the pretors and patricians threatened to stab him on the spot: and the emperor, boiling with rage, drove them both from his presence. As soon as they were gone, he turned the Empress Mary out of his palace, and obliged her to put on a religious veil. Tarasius persisting in his refusal to marry him to Theodota, the ceremony was performed by Joseph, treasurer of the church of Constantinople. This scandalous example was the occasion of several governors and other powerful men divorcing their wives or taking more than one at the same time, and gave great encouragement to public lewdness. SS. Plato and Theodorus separated themselves from the emperor's communion, to show their abhorrence of his crime. But Tarasius did not think it prudent to proceed to excommunication, as he had threatened, apprehensive that the violence of his temper, when further provoked, might carry him still greater lengths, and prompt him to re-establish the heresy which he had taken such effectual measures to suppress. Thus the patriarch, by his moderation, prevented the ruin of religion, but drew upon himself the emperor's resentment, who persecuted him many ways during the remainder of his reign. Not content to set spies and guards over him under the name of Syncelli, who watched all his actions and suffered no one to speak to him without their leave, he banished many of his domestics and relations. This confinement gave the saint the more leisure for contemplation, and he never ceased in it to recommend his flock to God. The ambitious Irene, finding that all her contrivances to render her son odious to his subjects had proved ineffectual to her design, which was to engross the whole power to herself, having gained over to her party the principal officers of the court and army, she made him prisoner, and caused his eyes to be plucked out: this was executed with so much violence that the unhappy prince died of it, in 797. After this she reigned alone five years, during which she recalled all the banished, but at length met with the deserved reward of her ambition and cruelty from Nicephorus, a patrician, and the treasurer-general, who, in 802, usurped the empire, and having deposed her, banished her into the Isle of Lesbos, where she soon after died with grief.
    St. Tarasius, on the death of the late emperor, having interdicted and deposed the treasurer Joseph, who had married and crowned Theodota, St. Plato and others who had censured his lenity became thoroughly reconciled to him. The saint, under his successor, Nicephorus, a patrician, persevered peaceably in his practices of penance, and in the functions of his pastoral charge. In his last sickness he still continued to offer daily the holy sacrifice so long as he was able to move. A little before his death he fell into a kind of trance, as the author of his life, who was an eyewitness, relates, wherein he was heard to dispute and argue with a number of accusers, very busy in sifting his whole life, and objecting all they could to it. He seemed in a great fright and agitation on this account, and, defending himself, answered everything laid to his charge. This filled all present with fear, seeing the endeavors of the enemy of man to find something to condemn even in the life of so holy and so irreprehensible a bishop. But a great serenity succeeded, and the holy man gave up his soul to God in peace, on the 25th of February, in 806, having sat twenty-one years and two months. God honoured his memory with miracles, some of which are related by the author of his life. His festival began to be celebrated under his successor. The Latin and Greek churches both honour his memory on this day. Fourteen years after his decease, Leo the Armenian, the Iconoclast emperor, dreamt a little before his own death that he saw St. Tarasius highly incensed against him, and heard him command one Michael to stab him. Leo, judging this Michael to be a monk in the saint's monastery, ordered him the next morning to be sought for, and even tortured some of the  religious to oblige them to a discovery of the person; but it happened there was none of that name among them, and Leo was killed six days after by Michael Balbus.
    The virtue of St. Tarasius was truly great, because constant and crowned with perseverance, though exposed to continual dangers of illusion or seduction amidst the artifices of hypocrites and a wicked court. St. Chrysostom observes1 that the path of virtue is narrow, and lies between precipices, in which it is easier for the traveller to be seized with giddiness even near the end of his course, and fall. Hence this father most grievously laments the misfortune of king Ozias, who, after long practising the most heroic virtures, fell, and perished through pride; and he strenuously exhorts all who walk in the service of God, constantly to live in fear, watchfulness, humility, and compunction. "A soul," says he, "often wants not so much spurring in the beginning of her conversion; her own fervor and cheerfulness make her run vigorously. But this fervor, unless it be continually nourished, cools by degrees: then the devil assails her with all his might. Pirates wait for and principally attack ships when they are upon the return home laden with riches rather than empty vessels going out of the port. Just so the devil, when he sees that a soul has gathered great spiritual riches, by fasts, prayer, alms, chastity, and all other virtues, when he sees our vessel fraught with rich commodities, then he falls upon her, and seeks on all sides to break in. What exceedingly aggravates the evil is the extreme difficulty of ever rising again after such a fall. To err in the beginning may be in part a want of experience, but to fall after a long course is mere negligence, and can deserve no excuse or pardon."


    source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/sttarasius.asp#ixzz1nObsuBKO

    Today's Mass Readings : Tuesday February 24, 2015

    Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

    Lectionary: 225

    Reading 1IS 55:10-11
    Thus says the LORD:
    Just as from the heavens
    the rain and snow come down
    And do not return there
    till they have watered the earth,
    making it fertile and fruitful,
    Giving seed to the one who sows
    and bread to the one who eats,
    So shall my word be
    that goes forth from my mouth;
    It shall not return to me void,
    but shall do my will,
    achieving the end for which I sent it.

    Responsorial PsalmPS 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

    R. (18b) From all their distress God rescues the just.
    Glorify the LORD with me,
    let us together extol his name.
    I sought the LORD, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
    R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
    Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
    and your faces may not blush with shame.
    When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
    and from all his distress he saved him.
    R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
    The LORD has eyes for the just,
    and ears for their cry.
    The LORD confronts the evildoers,
    to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
    R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
    When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
    and from all their distress he rescues them.
    The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
    and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
    R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

    Verse Before The GospelMT 4:4B

    One does not live on bread alone,
    but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

    GospelMT 6:7-15

    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
    who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
    Do not be like them.
    Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    “This is how you are to pray:

    Our Father who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy name,
    thy Kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread;
    and forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us;
    and lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

    “If you forgive men their transgressions,
    your heavenly Father will forgive you.
    But if you do not forgive men,
    neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” 

    Saint February 24 : St. Ethelbert : King of Kent

    KING OF KENT
    Feast: February 24

         Information:

    Feast Day:
    February 24
    Born:
    552
    Died:
    24 February 616
    King of Kent; b. 552; d. 24 February, 616; son of Eormenric, through whom he was descended from Hengest. He succeeded his father, in 560, as King of Kent and made an unsuccessful attempt to win from Ceawlin of Wessex the overlordship of Britain. His political importance was doubtless advanced by his marriage with Bertha, daughter of Charibert, King of the Franks (see BERTHA I). A noble disposition to fair dealing is argued by his giving her the old Roman church of St. Martin in his capital of Cantwaraburh (Canterbury) and affording her every opportunity for the exercise of her religion, although he himself had been reared, and remained, a worshipper of Odin. The same natural virtue, combined with a quaint spiritual caution and, on the other hand, a large instinct of hospitality, appears in his message to St. Augustine when, in 597, the Apostle of England landed on the Kentish coast
    In the interval between Ethelbert's defeat by Ceawlin and the arrival of the Roman missionaries, the death of the Wessex king had left Ethelbert, at least virtually, supreme in southern Britain, and his baptism, which took place on Whitsunday next following the landing of Augustine (2 June, 597) had such an effect in deciding the minds of his wavering countrymen that as many as 10,000 are said to have followed his example within a few months. Thenceforward Ethelbert became the watchful father of the infant Anglo-Saxon Church. He founded the church which in after-ages was to be the primatial cathedral of all England, besides other churches at Rochester and Canterbury. But, although he permitted, and even helped, Augustine to convert a heathen temple into the church of St. Pancras (Canterbury), he never compelled his heathen subjects to accept baptism. Moreover, as the lawgiver who issued their first written laws to the English people (the ninety "Dooms of Ethelbert", A.D. 604) he holds in English history a place thoroughly consistent with his character as the temporal founder of that see which did more than any other for the upbuilding of free and orderly political institutions in Christendom. When St. Mellitus had converted Sæbert, King of the East Saxons, whose capital was London, and it was proposed to make that see the metropolitan, Ethelbert, supported by Augustine, successfully resisted the attempt, and thus fixed for more than nine centuries the individual character of the English church. He left three children, of whom the only son, Eadbald, lived and died a pagan.
    (Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)


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