Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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#Synod15 Reflections by Archbishop Paul-André Durocher "Courage will allow us to bring God's life to others,"

Day 1 - Synod 2015 by: Archbishop Paul-André Durocher

Many friends have asked if I would repeat what I did last year and publish a daily reflection about my experience at the Synod. I don't know if I'll have the time to do so on a regular basis, but I will try. I'll start today by sharing a thought that came to me during the singing of the Creed this morning at the opening Mass, presided by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica.
We sang this in Latin, alternating with the men of the choir. They would sing one unaccompanied verse (well sung, by the way) and we would respond with the choir boys, accompanied by the organ. I was sitting in the midst of the bishops who will be participating in the Synod, and I listened to them sing (as I sang along, naturally). One of the bishops would start the verse even before the organ had sounded the note; others sang more quickly than the rest; another, to the contrary, would always end after the rest; some were certain they had the correct rhythm and would sing louder, hoping to impose their rhythm to the others; a few didn't know Latin or Gregorian Chant very well and were happy to simply murmur... or listen. For a song that was supposed to manifest the Church's unity in the faith, I must admit it was a bit funny listening to this vocal struggle. Thankfully, we all sang the same words!
The Synod is a bit like that. Nearly 300 bishops gathered to discuss a fundamental issue: how to help Christian families live their mission in today's world. Among the bishops, some want to go quickly, while others hesitate and want to move with great prudence. Some are certain that they know the correct rhythm and want to impose upon the group, lifting their voices and speaking out loudly. Others feel a bit lost: they listen, read, observe...
Because of my training in choral music, I listened closely this morning to the organ accompaniment and the boys' voices during the singing of the Creed. It wasn't easy: they were sitting on the opposite side of the chancel, and all the voices around me made it difficult to focus on their song. However, I tried to discern their rhythm, and sang loud enough so that those around me might follow it more closely. On the other hand, I didn't want to sing so loud that I would break what was left of the group's harmony. Slowly, some bishops followed me in this search for unison, and we were able to adapt our rhythm to that of the organ and the boys. I think that, by the end of the Creed, we manifested the Church's unity a bit more than we had at the beginning.
During the Synod, only one can give us the correct rhythm: the Holy Spirit. Our work as bishops is to discern this rhythm, this vital pulse that the Spirit want to give us. It's not always easy. The world's noise, the excitement of the exercise, the human beings that we are, marked by our cultures, our experiences, our personalities: all of this makes it difficult to listen together to the Spirit. Learning to adjust ourselves to the Spirit's rhythm is not evident. Maybe that's why Pope Francis invited us, during a prayer vigil last evening, to talk less about the Holy Family and to spend more time contemplating it.
In the word 'adjust', we find the root 'just-' from which we get the noun 'justice'. The justice of the Kingdom of God consists precisely in this: adjusting ourselves to the Spirit's breath. Let us pray that the bishops will do a work of justice in the next three weeks.

Day 2 - Synod 2015

This morning was dedicated to protocol and formalities. The Synod Hall was full: nearly 270 'fathers' of the Synod (most of them bishops, a few major superiors of priestly congregations), on top of 14 fraternal delegates (representing other Churches and Christian communities), 24 experts and 51 auditors (of which there are 17 married couples).
After the opening prayer, the Pope spoke to us. In a brief but powerful talk, he reminded us that the Synod is a journey that encourages wisdom and openness, centred on the good of the Church, the family, and the salvation of souls. It's not a parliament, but rather the visible expression of the journeying Church reflecting on the possibilities of faithfulness to the deposit of the faith in today's context. According to the Pope, the Synod walks forward in the midst of God's People, whose pastors and servants we are. It is a protected space, where the Spirit can speak to us through the voices of those who are open to the God of surprises, the God who created the Law as a gift for the fulfillment of human beings. One condition is necessary for its success: that we be clothed in apostolic courage, humility and prayer. Courage will allow us to bring God's life to others, sharing our convictions and the reasons for our hope. Humility will allow us to listen to others without feeling ourselves superior to them. Prayer will open a space of silence where the voice of God can echo in our hearts. It's not about negociating our way to a consensus, but about listening to the voice of God so that GOD might enlighten us and be our guide.
Cardinal Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod, then gave a report about the work that was accomplished by the secretariate as it prepared our meeting.
Cardinal Erdo, relator general, presented a magisterial speech, quiet classic in style in content, in which he gave his analysis of the questions that face us. I very much liked his introduction, where he recalled the passage in the Gospel of Mark (chapter 6, verse 34) when Jesus comes across a crowd: he looks at these people, is moved with compassion for them, then teaches them at length. The three actions of Jesus structure our own three-part working document: first, we are invited to look at the world which surrounds us; then, we bring to mind the Good News of God's compassion for families; finally, we consider our own role in journeying with and renewing our families.
By the way, readers of this blog who want to follow my comments more closely would find an advantage in having a copy of our working document at hand. You can find it at :
After lunch, we started listening to the individual comments of bishops concerning the first part of the working document. These interventions each last three minutes and must concern a particular paragraph of the text, according to the will of the bishop. Il will be presenting my comment tomorrow. It will be focused on the role of women.
Our last hour, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., was given over to 'free' interventions. A few voices were heard, regretting the purely anecdotic or sociological style of the first section. It presents the challenges that couples and families face today, but in a rather dry and objective manner. I suggested to the group that we might work in our small groups to give this section a bit of 'breath', as we try to see these elements with the eyes of faith. We'll see where that suggestions goes..
This has been a long first day, starting with Mass at 7:00 a.m. here at the Casa Romana del Clero where I'll be living for the next three weeks. I'm starting to fall asleep as I write this, so I'm heading off to bed, thinking of all you and carrying you in my prayers. Good night!
Shared with permission from Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher
Paul-André Durocher was born in Windsor, Ontario, on May 28, 1954. He was ordained a priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Timmins, Ontario, on July 2, 1982.
Pope John Paul II appointed Durocher Auxiliary Bishop of Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, on January 20, 1997. On April 27, 2002, Durocher was appointed Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ontario. On October 12, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Durocher as Archbishop of Gatineau, Quebec. 

    #Latest News from #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee

    05-10-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 172 

    - First General Congregation: the Synod is the Church that walks together to see reality with the eyes of faith, says the Pope
    - “The man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved”
    - Society is not strong without the family
    - Prayer Vigil for the Synod – the Church can light up the darkness of humanity
    - The Pope receives volunteers from the Food Bank and again denounces food waste
    - Mass for the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps
    - Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office
    - Audiences
    - Other Pontifical Acts
    - It is not easy to be a prophet, says Cardinal Alencherry to the Synod
    First General Congregation: the Synod is the Church that walks together to see reality with the eyes of faith, says the Pope
    Vatican City, 5 October 2015 (VIS) – This morning at 9 a.m. the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops dedicated to “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world” commenced in the Vatican. In the presence of the Holy Father, the first to speak was the Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, who presented to the Synod Fathers a brief meditation summarising the intentions and spirit of the Assembly.
    Brothers, who come from the four corners of the world summoned by Peter, moved by the love of Jesus and the Mother Church”, he began. “St. Paul invites us, indeed, to joy. The joy of the gospel that Pope Francisco tirelessly proclaims worldwide. But as he himself has told us, the greatest risk in the world today, with its multiple and overwhelming consumption, is an individualistic sorrow that springs from the comfortable and covetous heart, the feeble search for superficial pleasures, the isolated consciousness. Sometimes it saddens us to hear how the world has focused on this Synod as if we came together as two opposing sides to defend entrenched positions. Therefore, with Jesus Christ joy is always born and reborn'”.
     “But let us take heart”, he continued. “We are not a Church in danger of extinction or indeed far less. Neither is the family, although it is threatened and opposed. Nor do we come to mourn or lament the difficulties. Psalm 26 tells us: 'Be brave, take heart. Hope in the Lord'. Let us all have one mind: let us all seek the unanimity that comes from dialogue, not ideas defended at all costs. St. Paul reminds us to have same sentiments as Christ. Live in peace: as Evangelii Gaudium tells us, dialogue contributes to peace, because the Church proclaims the 'Gospel of peace'. To proclaim Jesus Christ, Who is peace in person, the Mother Church encourages us to be instruments of peace and credible witnesses of a reconciled life. It is time to know how to plan a culture that favours dialogue and the pursuit of consensus and agreements as a form of encounter. We are not in need of a project of few and for the few, or an enlightened or minority that appropriates a collective sentiment”.
    “Therefore, we wish to begin the Synod in peace”, he concluded. “It is not the peace of the world, made of compromises and commitments that frequently are not fulfilled. It is the peace of Christ, peace with ourselves. And the conclusion is clear: 'The God of love and peace will be with you'. So we can say, 'Stay with us, Lord', not because the day is ending, but rather because it is beginning. A new day for the families of the world, believers or not, families tired of the uncertainties and doubts sown by various ideologies such as deconstruction, cultural and social contradictions, fragility and loneliness. Abide with us Lord, so that this Synod indicate a path of joy and hope for all families”.
    The Holy Father than introduced the work of the first day, explaining that “the Synod is not a convention or a locutory; it is not a parliament or a senate, where an accord is sought. The Synod, instead, is an ecclesial expression, that is, the Church who walks together to read reality with the eyes of faith, and which therefore does not represent a museum to be looked at or even to be protected, but is rather a living source from which the Church slakes her thirst so as to slake the thirst and enlighten the deposit of life”.

    Saint October 6 : Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher : Foundress of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

    Canada was one diocese from coast to coast during the first eight years of Marie-Rose Durocher’s life. Its half-million Catholics had received civil and religious liberty from the English only 44 years before. When Marie-Rose was 29, Bishop Ignace Bourget became bishop of Montreal. He would be a decisive influence in her life.
    He faced a shortage of priests and sisters and a rural population that had been largely deprived of education. Like his counterparts in the United States, he scoured Europe for help and himself founded four communities, one of which was the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Its first sister and reluctant co-foundress was Marie-Rose.
    She was born in a little village near Montreal in 1811, the 10th of 11 children. She had a good education, was something of a tomboy, rode a horse named Caesar and could have married well. At 16, she felt the desire to become a religious but was forced to abandon the idea because of her weak constitution. At 18, when her mother died, her priest brother invited her and her father to come to his parish in Beloeil, not far from Montreal. For 13 years she served as housekeeper, hostess and parish worker. She became well known for her graciousness, courtesy, leadership and tact; she was, in fact, called “the saint of Beloeil.” Perhaps she was too tactful during two years when her brother treated her coldly.
    As a young woman she had hoped there would someday be a community of teaching sisters in every parish, never thinking she would found one. But her spiritual director, Father Pierre Telmon, O.M.I., after thoroughly (and severely) leading her in the spiritual life, urged her to found a community herself. Bishop Bourget concurred, but Marie-Rose shrank from the prospect. She was in poor health and her father and her brother needed her.
    She finally agreed and, with two friends, Melodie Dufresne and Henriette Cere, entered a little home in Longueuil, across the Saint Lawrence River from Montreal. With them were 13 young girls already assembled for boarding school. Longueuil became successively her Bethlehem, Nazareth and Gethsemani. She was 32 and would live only six more years—years filled with poverty, trials, sickness and slander. The qualities she had nurtured in her “hidden” life came forward—a strong will, intelligence and common sense, great inner courage and yet a great deference to directors. Thus was born an international congregation of women religious dedicated to education in the faith.
    She was severe with herself and by today’s standards quite strict with her sisters. Beneath it all, of course, was an unshakable love of her crucified Savior.
    On her deathbed the prayers most frequently on her lips were “Jesus, Mary, Joseph! Sweet Jesus, I love you. Jesus, be to me Jesus!” Before she died, she smiled and said to the sister with her, “Your prayers are keeping me here—let me go.”
    She was beatified in 1982.


    To a novice leaving religious life, Marie-Rose said: “Do not imitate those persons who, after having spent a few months as postulant or novice in a community, dress differently, even ludicrously. You are returning to the secular state. My advice is, follow the styles of the day, but from afar, as it were.” Edited from American Catholic - Image Google Images

    Pope Francis -- What the Synod IS and IS NOT

    This morning in Rome, Pope Francis offered an address to formally open the first session of the Synod on the Family; a Synod that will carry forward the work of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of Bishops which caused quite a bit of controversy last October.

    Instead of back tracking to the controversy, let's take a look at what the Pope offered this morning in his address to the assembly (full text of the remarks here).

    Pope Francis sets the stage:
    The Synod, as we know, is a journey undertaken together in the spirit of collegiality and synodality, on which participants bravely adopt parrhesia, pastoral zeal and doctrinal wisdom, frankness, and always keep before our eyes the good of the Church, of families and the suprema lex, the Salus animarum.
    I think we may need to unpack this sentence a bit.

    spirit of collegiality and synodality --  in ecclesial definition, collegiality is the shared responsibility of the bishops for their flocks, and synodality (hadn't heard the word synod/synodal "verbed" before)  is the ecclesial mission/journey/work to be done along the way as they are gathered in collegiality. Basically, the Pope wanted them to remember that this is a joint assignment to better prepare the Church for her mission in the world.

    participants bravely adopt parrhesia, pastoral zeal...always keep before our eyes the good of the Church, of families... -- parrhesia means frankness or boldness in speech. Pope Francis seems to want to drive home this point because he mentions it twice in the sentence; but he doesn't mention it without its proper relation to doctrinal wisdom. In other words, don't go off half-cocked on ridiculous worldly notions to change the Church, but rather act with pastoral zeal to increase the holiness of yourselves and your flock.

    always keep before our eyes...the suprema lex, the Salus animarum --translation: the supreme law of the salvation of souls; this is a Canon Law term that relates to "OBSTINATE HERESY". Well, that seems pretty clear. We're not going to be changing any doctrine here.

    What IS the Synod then? Pope Francis defines the Synod this way:
    The Synod Ecclesial expression, i.e., the  Church that journeys together to read reality with the eyes of faith and with the heart of God; it is the Church that interrogates herself with regard to her fidelity to the deposit of faith, which does not represent for the Church a museum to view, nor even something merely to safeguard, but is a living source from which the Church shall drink, to satisfy the thirst of, and illuminate, the deposit of life.
    He then breaks it down into three distinct characteristics:

    1. The Synod moves necessarily within the bosom of the Church and of the holy people of God, to which we belong in the quality of shepherds – which is to say, as servants.

    It is a place to serve, to serve the flock which depends on the quality of the shepherd. He's asking the bishops to set aside personal human biases and look to what will get their flock to heaven, not make them more popular among their flock. It is the quality of the shepherd that leads the flock to eternity or to damnation. Pope Francis says self-examine, put aside personal political design, and serve the flock. 

    2. The Synod also is a protected space in which the Church experiences the action of the Holy Spirit. In the Synod, the Spirit speaks by means of every person’s tongue, who let themselves be guided by the God who always surprises, the God who reveals himself to little ones, who hides from the knowing and intelligent; the God who created the law and the Sabbath for man and not vice versa; by the God, who leaves the 99 sheep to look for the one lost sheep; the God who is always greater than our logic and our calculations.

    The Synod is where the Holy Spirit acts; but Pope Francis reminds that Spirit only speaks through those who "let themselves be guided by God who always surprises...who reveals himself to little ones...hides from the knowing and intelligent..." He is calling for the bishops to experience kenosis -- and emptying of self to allow the Spirit to fill them. Again, he encourages them to put aside the temptations of the world and allow the Spirit to illuminate the law and the prophets, to bring the teachings of Christ to life by reminding them of their duty to guide their flock by imitating "the God who created the law and the Sabbath for man and not vice versa; by the God, who leaves the 99 sheep to look for the one lost sheep; the God who is always greater than our logic and our calculations". He reminds them that pride and arrogance can cloud the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and to avoid the folly of the devil by falling prey to our own intelligent notions of what is best, what will make people happy. Rather Pope Francis calls them to be little, to listen and to engage in the ways of God through the Holy Spirit's influence on their hearts and minds.

    3. Let us remember, however, that the Synod will be a space for the action of the Holy Spirit only if we participants vest ourselves with apostolic courage, evangelical humility and trusting prayer: with that apostolic courage, which refuses to be intimidated in the face of the temptations of the world – temptations that tend to extinguish the light of truth in the hearts of men, replacing it with small and temporary lights; nor even before the petrification of some hearts, which, despite good intentions, drive people away from God; apostolic courage to bring life and not to make of our Christian life a museum of memories; evangelical humility that knows how to empty itself of conventions and prejudices in order to listen to brother bishops and be filled with God – humility that leads neither to finger-pointing nor to judging others, but to hands outstretched to help people up without ever feeling oneself superior to them.

    It wasn't enough for our pontiff to call the bishops to humble and sincere trust once. He knows his brothers; he knows they face the same if not greater pressures from the temptations of the world as a result of their office. In light of this, he calls them to evangelical humility, and to resist the "temptations of the world" that "tend to extinguish the light of truth in the hearts of men." He calls the to judge the situation, not the man, and to remember their place as servant.

    What is the Synod NOT?

    Pope Francis doesn't mince words:

    "...[T]he Synod is neither a convention, nor a parlor, nor a parliament or senate, where people make deals and reach compromises."

    What should we make of this statement to the bishops ready to enter into conversation and deliberation at this Synod?

    Basically, the pope is saying to leave your arrogance, your political interests, your gossip, your bureaucracy at the door. Enter in with an heart open to the will of God, and assess today's family, their societal situation, their challenges and their gifts, and hear how the Holy Spirit wishes you to assist them on their journey.

    It will be an interesting month watching how the Synod unfolds and whether his brother bishops will heed the wisdom of the pope's words to them. Ours is to do what St. Pio recommends: "pray, hope and don't worry". by : Kathy Vestermark, MA Th.

    Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. October 6, 2015

    Tuesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
    Lectionary: 462

    Reading 1JON 3:1-10

    The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
    “Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
    and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
    So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
    according to the LORD’s bidding.
    Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
    it took three days to go through it.
    Jonah began his journey through the city,
    and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
    “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
    when the people of Nineveh believed God;
    they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small,
    put on sackcloth.

    When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
    he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
    covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
    Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
    by decree of the king and his nobles:
    “Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
    shall taste anything;
    they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
    Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth
    and call loudly to God;
    every man shall turn from his evil way
    and from the violence he has in hand.
    Who knows, God may relent and forgive,
    and withhold his blazing wrath,
    so that we shall not perish.”
    When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
    he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
    he did not carry it out.

    Responsorial PsalmPS 130:1B-2, 3-4AB, 7-8

    R. (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
    Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD
    LORD, hear my voice!
    Let your ears be attentive
    to my voice in supplication.
    R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
    If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
    LORD, who can stand?
    But with you is forgiveness,
    that you may be revered.
    R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
    Let Israel wait for the LORD,
    For with the LORD is kindness
    and with him is plenteous redemption;
    And he will redeem Israel
    from all their iniquities.
    R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

    AlleluiaLK 11:28

    R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Blessed are those who hear the word of God
    and observe it.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

    GospelLK 10:38-42

    Jesus entered a village
    where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
    She had a sister named Mary
    who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
    Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
    “Lord, do you not care
    that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
    Tell her to help me.”
    The Lord said to her in reply,
    “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
    There is need of only one thing.
    Mary has chosen the better part
    and it will not be taken from her.”


    Saint October 6 : St. Bruno : Founder of the #Carthusians - Patron of Possessed People

    Feast Day:
    October 6
    1030 at Cologne, Germany
    1101 at Torre, Calabria, Italy
    Patron of:
    possessed people

    Confessor, ecclesiastical writer, and founder of the Carthusian Order. He was born at Cologne about the year 1030; died 6 October, 1101. He is usually represented with a death's head in his hands, a book and a cross, or crowned with seven stars; or with a roll bearing the device O Bonitas. His feast is kept on the 6th of October.
    According to tradition, St. Bruno belonged to the family of Hartenfaust, or Hardebüst, one of the principal families of the city, and it is in remembrance of this origin that different members of the family of Hartenfaust have received from the Carthusians either some special prayers for the dead, as in the case of Peter Bruno Hartenfaust in 1714, and Louis Alexander Hartenfaust, Baron of Laach, in 1740; or a personal affiliation with the order, as with Louis Bruno of Hardevüst, Baron of Laach and Burgomaster of the town of Bergues-S. Winnoc, in the Diocese of Cambrai, with whom the Hardevüst family in the male line became extinct on 22 March, 1784.
    We have little information about the childhood and youth of St. Bruno. Born at Cologne, he would have studied at the city college, or collegial of St. Cunibert. While still quite young (a pueris) he went to complete his education at Reims, attracted by the reputation of the episcopal school and of its director, Heriman. There he finished his classical studies and perfected himself in the sacred sciences which at that time consisted principally of the study of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers. He became there, according to the testimony of his contemporaries, learned both in human and in Divine science.
    His education completed, St. Bruno returned to Cologne, where he was provided with a canonry at St. Cunibert's, and, according to the most probable opinion, was elevated to the priestly dignity. This was about the year 1055. In 1056 Bishop Gervais recalled him to Reims, to aid his former master Heriman in the direction of the school. The latter was already turning his attention towards a more perfect form of life, and when he at last left the world to enter the religious life, in 1057, St. Bruno found himself head of the episcopal school, or écolâtre, a post difficult as it was elevated, for it then included the direction of the public schools and the oversight of all the educational establishments of the diocese. For about twenty years, from 1057 to 1075, he maintained the prestige which the school of Reims has attained under its former masters, Remi of Auxerre, Hucbald of St. Amand, Gerbert, and lastly Heriman. Of the excellence of his teaching we have a proof in the funereal titles composed in his honour, which celebrate his eloquence, his poetic, philosophical, and above all his exegetical and theological, talents; and also in the merits of his pupils, amongst whom were Eudes of Châtillon, afterwards Urban II, Rangier, Cardinal and Bishop of Reggio, Robert, Bishop of Langres, and a large number of prelates and abbots.
    In 1075 St. Bruno was appointed chancellor of the church of Reims, and had then to give himself especially to the administration of the diocese. Meanwhile the pious Bishop Gervais, friend of St. Bruno, had been succeeded by Manasses de Gournai, who quickly became odious for his impiety and violence. The chancellor and two other canons were commissioned to bear to the papal legate, Hugh of Die, the complaints of the indignant clergy, and at the Council of Autun, 1077, they obtained the suspension of the unworthy prelate. The latter's reply was to raze the houses of his accusers, confiscate their goods, sell their benefices, and appeal to the pope. Bruno then absented himself from Reims for a while, and went probably to Rome to defend the justice of his cause. It was only in 1080 that a definite sentence, confirmed by a rising of the people, compelled Manasses to withdraw and take refuge with the Emperor Henry IV. Free then to choose another bishop, the clergy were on the point of uniting their vote upon the chancellor. He, however, had far different designs in view. According to a tradition preserved in the Carthusian Order, Bruno was persuaded to abandon the world by the sight of a celebrated prodigy, popularized by the brush of Lesueur--the triple resurrection of the Parisian doctor, Raymond Diocres. To this tradition may be opposed the silence of contemporaries, and of the first biographers of the saint; the silence of Bruno himself in his letter to Raoul le Vert, Provost of Reims; and the impossibility of proving that he ever visited Paris. He had no need of such an extraordinary argument to cause him to leave the world. Some time before, when in conversation with two of his friends, Raoul and Fulcius, canons of Reims like himself, they had been so enkindled with the love of God and the desire of eternal goods that they had made a vow to abandon the world and to embrace the religious life. This vow, uttered in 1077, could not be put into execution until 1080, owing to various circumstances.
    The first idea of St. Bruno on leaving Reims seems to have been to place himself and his companions under the direction of an eminent solitary, St. Robert, who had recently (1075) settled at Molesme in the Diocese of Langres, together with a band of other solitaries who were later on (1098) to form the Cistercian Order. But he soon found that this was not his vocation, and after a short sojourn at Sèche-Fontaine near Molesme, he left two of his companions, Peter and Lambert, and betook himself with six others to Hugh of Châteauneuf, Bishop of Grenoble, and, according to some authors, one of his pupils. The bishop, to whom God had shown these men in a dream, under the image of seven stars, conducted and installed them himself (1084) in a wild spot on the Alps of Dauphiné named Chartreuse, about four leagues from Grenoble, in the midst of precipitous rocks and mountains almost always covered with snow. With St. Bruno were Landuin, the two Stephens of Bourg and Die, canons of Sts. Rufus, and Hugh the Chaplain, "all, the most learned men of their time", and two laymen, Andrew and Guérin, who afterwards became the first lay brothers. They built a little monastery where they lived in deep retreat and poverty, entirely occupied in prayer and study, and frequently honoured by the visits of St. Hugh who became like one of themselves. Their manner of life has been recorded by a contemporary, Guibert of Nogent, who visited them in their solitude. (De Vitâ suâ, I, ii.)
    Meanwhile, another pupil of St. Bruno, Eudes of Châtillon, had become pope under the name of Urban II (1088). Resolved to continue the work of reform commenced by Gregory VII, and being obliged to struggle against the antipope, Guibert of Ravenna, and the Emperor Henry IV, he sought to surround himself with devoted allies and called his ancient master ad Sedis Apostolicae servitium. Thus the solitary found himself obliged to leave the spot where he had spent more than six years in retreat, followed by a part of his community, who could not make up their minds to live separated from him (1090). It is difficult to assign the place which he then occupied at the pontifical court, or his influence in contemporary events, which was entirely hidden and confidential. Lodged in the palace of the pope himself and admitted to his councils, and charged, moreover, with other collaborators, in preparing matters for the numerous councils of this period, we must give him some credit for their results. But he took care always to keep himself in the background, and although he seems to have assisted at theCouncil of Benevento (March, 1091), we find no evidence of his having been present at the Councils of Troja (March, 1093), of Piacenza (March, 1095), or of Clermont (November, 1095). His part in history is effaced. All that we can say with certainty is that he seconded with all his power the sovereign pontiff in his efforts for the reform of the clergy, efforts inaugurated at the Council of Melfi (1089) and continued at that of Benevento. A short time after the arrival of St. Bruno, the pope had been obliged to abandon Rome before the victorious forces of the emperor and the antipope. He withdrew with all his court to the south of Italy.
    During the voyage, the former professor of Reims attracted the attention of the clergy of Reggio in further Calabria, which had just lost its archbishop Arnulph (1090), and their votes were given to him. The pope and the Norman prince, Roger, Duke of Apulia, strongly approved of the election and pressed St. Bruno to accept it. In a similar juncture at Reims he had escaped by flight; this time he again escaped by causing Rangier, one of his former pupils, to be elected, who was fortunately near by at the Benedictine Abbey of La Cava near Salerno. But he feared that such attempts would be renewed; moreover he was weary of the agitated life imposed upon him, and solitude ever invited him. He begged, therefore, and after much trouble obtained, the pope's permission to return again to his solitary life. His intention was to rejoin his brethren in Dauphiné, as a letter addressed to them makes clear. But the will of Urban II kept him in Italy, near the papal court, to which he could be called at need. The place chosen for his new retreat by St. Bruno and some followers who had joined him was in the Diocese of Squillace, on the eastern slope of the great chain which crosses Calabria from north to south, and in a high valley three miles long and two in width, covered with forest. The new solitaries constructed a little chapel of planks for their pious reunions and, in the depths of the woods, cabins covered with mud for their habitations. A legend says that St. Bruno whilst at prayer was discovered by the hounds of Roger, Great Count of Sicily and Calabria and uncle of the Duke of Apulia, who was then hunting in the neighbourhood, and who thus learnt to know and venerate him; but the count had no need to wait for that occasion to know him, for it was probably upon his invitation that the new solitaries settled upon his domains. That same year (1091) he visited them, made them a grant of the lands they occupied, and a close friendship was formed between them. More than once St. Bruno went to Mileto to take part in the joys and sorrows of the noble family, to visit the count when sick (1098 and 1101), and to baptize his son Roger (1097), the future Kind of Sicily. But more often it was Roger who went into the desert to visit his friends, and when, through his generosity, the monastery of St. Stephen was built, in 1095, near the hermitage of St. Mary, there was erected adjoining it a little country house at which he loved to pass the time left free from governing his State.
    Meanwhile the friends of St. Bruno died one after the other: Urban II in 1099; Landuin, the prior of the Grand Chartreuse, his first companion, in 1100; Count Roger in 1101. His own time was near at hand. Before his death he gathered for the last time his brethren round him and made in their presence a profession of the Catholic Faith, the words of which have been preserved. He affirms with special emphasis his faith in the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and in the real presence of Our Saviour in the Holy Eucharist--a protestation against the two heresies which had troubled that century, the tritheism of Roscelin, and the impanation of Berengarius. After his death, the Carthusians of Calabria, following a frequent custom of the Middle Ages by which the Christian world was associated with the death of its saints, dispatched a rolliger, a servant of the convent laden with a long roll of parchment, hung round his neck, who passed through Italy, France, Germany, and England. He stopped at the principal churches and communities to announce the death, and in return, the churches, communities, or chapters inscribed upon his roll, in prose or verse, the expression of their regrets, with promises of prayers. Many of these rolls have been preserved, but few are so extensive or so full of praise as that about St. Bruno. A hundred and seventy-eight witnesses, of whom many had known the deceased, celebrated the extent of his knowledge and the fruitfulness of his instruction. Strangers to him were above all struck by his great knowledge and talents. But his disciples praised his three chief virtues--his great spirit of prayer, an extreme mortification, and a filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Both the churches built by him in the desert were dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: Our Lady of Casalibus in Dauphiné, Our Lady Della Torre in Calabria; and, faithful to his inspirations, the Carthusian Statutes proclaim the Mother of God the first and chief patron of all the houses of the order, whoever may be their particular patron.
    St. Bruno was buried in the little cemetery of the hermitage of St. Mary, and many miracles were worked at his tomb. He had never been formally canonized. His cult, authorized for the Carthusian Order by Leo X in 1514, was extended to the whole church by Gregory XV, 17 February, 1623, as a semi-double feast, and elevated to the class of doubles by Clement X, 14 March, 1674. St. Bruno is the popular saint of Calabria; every year a great multitude resort to the Charterhouse of St. Stephen, on the Monday and Tuesday of Pentecost, when his relics are borne in procession to the hermitage of St. Mary, where he lived, and the people visit the spots sanctified by his presence. An immense number of medals are struck in his honour and distributed to the crowd, and the little Carthusian habits, which so many children of the neighbourhood wear, are blessed. He is especially invoked, and successfully, for the deliverance of those possessed.
    As a writer and founder of an order, St. Bruno occupies an important place in the history of the eleventh century. He composed commentaries on the Psalms and on the Epistles of St. Paul, the former written probably during his professorship at Reims, the latter during his stay at the Grande Chartreuse if we may believe an old manuscript seen by Mabillon--"Explicit glosarius Brunonis heremitae super Epistolas B. Pauli." Two letters of his still remain, also his profession of faith, and a short elegy on contempt for the world which shows that he cultivated poetry. The "Commentaries" disclose to us a man of learning; he knows a little Hebrew and Greek and uses it to explain, or if need be, rectify the Vulgate; he is familiar with the Fathers, especially St. Augustine and St. Ambrose, his favourites. "His style", says Dom Rivet, "is concise, clear, nervous and simple, and his Latin as good as could be expected of that century: it would be difficult to find a composition of this kind at once more solid and more luminous, more concise and more clear". His writings have been published several times: at Paris, 1509-24; Cologne, 1611-40; Migne, Latin Patrology, CLII, CLIII, Montreuil-sur-Mer, 1891. The Paris edition of 1524 and those of Cologne include also some sermons and homilies which may be more justly attributed to St. Bruno, Bishop of Segni. The Preface of the Blessed Virgin has also been wrongly ascribed to him; it is long anterior, though he may have contributed to introduce it into the liturgy.
    St. Bruno's distinction as the founder of an order was that he introduced into the religious life the mixed form, or union of the eremitical and cenobite modes of monasticism, a medium between the Camaldolese Rule and that of St. Benedict. He wrote no rule, but he left behind him two institutions which had little connection with each other--that of Dauphiné and that of Calabria. The foundation of Calabria, somewhat like the Camaldolese, comprised two classes of religious: hermits, who had the direction of the order, and cenobites who did not feel called to the solitary life; it only lasted a century, did not rise to more than five houses, and finally, in 1191, united with the Cistercian Order. The foundation of Grenoble, more like the rule of St. Benedict, comprised only one kind of religious, subject to a uniform discipline, and the greater part of whose life was spent in solitude, without, however, the complete exclusion of the conventual life. This life spread throughout Europe, numbered 250 monasteries, and in spite of many trials continues to this day.
    The great figure of St. Bruno has been often sketched by artists and has inspired more than one masterpiece: in sculpture, for example, the famous statue by Houdon, at St. Mary of the Angels in Rome, "which would speak if his rule did not compel him to silence"; in painting, the fine picture by Zurbaran, in the Seville museum, representing Urban II and St. Bruno in conference; the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin to St. Bruno, by Guercino at Bologna; and above all the twenty-two pictures forming the gallery of St. Bruno in the museum of the Louvre, "a masterpiece of Le Sueur and of the French school".

    #PopeFrancis "Where the Lord is - there is mercy” #Homily #CasaSantaMarta in Vatican

    Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
    Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
    06/10/2015 13:09

    (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has warned against having a hard heart that is closed to God’s mercy.
    Speaking on Tuesday morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta before joining the Synod Fathers gathered in the Vatican Synod Hall, the Pope urged the faithful not to put one’s own convictions or a list of commandments before the Lord's mercy.
    Drawing inspiration from the first reading of the Book of Jonah, the Pope pointed out that Jonah is initially resistant to God's will, but eventually learns that he must obey the Lord. 
    Remarking on the fact that the city of Nineveh converts thanks to Jonah’s preaching, Pope Francis said “it really was a miracle, because in this case he abandons his stubbornness, his rigidity,  to obey the will of God, and he did what the Lord commanded him."
    And afterwards, the Pope said, after the conversion of Nineveh, Jonah “who was not a man who was docile to the Spirit of God, was angry". The Pope said he even rebuked the Lord.
    So, Pope Francis observed, the story of Jonah and Nineveh unfolds in three chapters:  the first "is Jonah’s resistance to the mission the Lord entrusts him with"; the second "is his obedience” and the ensuing miracle; in the third chapter, "there is resistance to God’s mercy".
    The Pope went on to say that Jesus too was misunderstood because of his mercy.

    He recalled that Jesus lived with the Doctors of the Law who did not understand why he did not let the adulteress be stoned, they did not understand why he dined with publicans and sinners, “they did not understand. They did not understand mercy”.
    Pope Francis said that the Psalm that we prayed today tells us to "wait for the Lord because with the Lord there is mercy, and redemption."
    "Where the Lord is - Francis concluded - there is mercy”. And, he added, as Ambrose said: “Where his ministers are there is rigidity. The rigidity that defies mission, which challenges mercy ":
    "As we approach the Year of Mercy, let us pray the Lord to help us understand his heart, to understand what 'mercy' means, what it means when He says: 'I want mercy, not sacrifice!'” he said.

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