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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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2016

1st New Book by Pope Francis "The Name of God is Mercy" #PopeFrancis on #Mercy

The new book is an interview between Pope Francis and Andrea Tornielli, an Italian journalist with the Vatican Insider news website. The book is being published in 86 countries and about 20 languages . 
Press Release:
In his first book published as Pope, and in conjunction with the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis here invites all humanity to an intimate and personal dialogue on the subject closest to his heart—mercy—which has long been the cornerstone of his faith and is now the central teaching of his papacy.

In this conversation with Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli, Francis explains—through memories from his youth and moving anecdotes from his experiences as a pastor—why “mercy is the first attribute of God.” God “does not want anyone to be lost. His mercy is infinitely greater than our sins,” he writes. As well, the Church cannot close the door on anyone, Francis asserts—on the contrary, its duty is to go out into the world to find its way into the consciousness of people so that they can assume responsibility for, and move away from, the bad things they have done.

The first Jesuit and the first South American to be elected Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis has traveled around the world spreading God’s message of mercy to the largest crowds in papal history. Clear and profound, The Name of God Is Mercy resonates with this desire to reach all those who are looking for meaning in life, a road to peace and reconciliation, and the healing of physical and spiritual wounds. It is being published in more than eighty countries around the world.

“The name of God is mercy. There are no situations we cannot get out of, we are not condemned to sink into quicksand.”—Pope Francis

Translated by Oonagh Stransky - Available at:
 http://www.amazon.com/The-Name-God-Is-Mercy/dp/0399588639
Excerpts from the Book released by the Publisher

“The Pope is a man who needs the mercy of God,” the Holy Father says in the book-length interview.
 “I said it sincerely to the prisoners of Palmasola, in Bolivia, to those men and women who welcomed me so warmly. I reminded them that even Saint Peter and Saint Paul had been prisoners. I have a special relationship with people in prisons, deprived of their freedom. I have always been very attached to them, precisely because of my awareness of being a sinner.” 
“Every time I go through the gates into a prison to celebrate Mass or for a visit, I always think: why them and not me? I should be here. I deserve to be here. Their fall could have been mine. I do not feel superior to the people who stand before me. And so I repeat and pray: why him and not me? It might seem shocking, but I derive consolation from Peter: he betrayed Jesus, and even so he was chosen.”
 Pope John Paul I: ‘engraved in dust’ 
The Holy Father also remembers being touched by the writings of his predecessor Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani. “There is the homily when Albino Luciani said he had been chosen because the Lord preferred that certain things not be engraved in bronze or marble but in the dust, so that if the writing had remained, it would have been clear that the merit was all and only God’s. He, the bishop and future Pope John Paul I, called himself ‘dust’.” “I have to say that when I speak of this, I always think of what Peter told Jesus on the Sunday of his resurrection, when he met him on his own, a meeting hinted at in the Gospel of Luke. What might Peter have said to the Messiah upon his resurrection from the tomb? Might he have said that he felt like a sinner? He must have thought of his betrayal, of what had happened a few days earlier when he pretended three times not to recognise Jesus in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. He must have thought of his bitter and public tears.” “If Peter did all of that, if the gospels describe his sin and denials to us, and if despite all this Jesus said [to him], ‘tend my sheep’ (John 21), I don’t think we should be surprised if his successors describe themselves as sinners. It is nothing new.”
Miserando atque eligendo
Telling the story of his episcopal motto, Pope Francis returns to an experience of God’s mercy, which took place in his teenage years.
“I don’t have any particular memories of mercy as a young child. But I do as a young man. I think of Father Carlos Duarte Ibarra, the confessor I met in my parish church on September 21, 1953, the day the Church celebrated Saint Matthew, the apostle and evangelist. I was seventeen years old. On confessing myself to him, I felt welcomed by the mercy of God.”
“Ibarra was originally from Corrientes but was in Buenos Aires to receive treatment for leukaemia. He died the following year. I still remember how when I got home, after his funeral and burial, I felt as though I had been abandoned. And I cried a lot that night, really a lot, and hid in my room.”
“Why? Because I had lost a person who helped me feel the mercy of God, that miserando atque eligendo, an expression I didn’t know at the time but I eventually would choose as my episcopal motto. I learned about it later, in the homilies of the English monk, the Venerable Bede [672-735]. When describing the calling of Matthew, he writes: “Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an apostle saying to him, ‘follow me’.” “This is the translation commonly given for the words of Saint Bede [originally written in Latin]. I like to translate “miserando” with another gerund that doesn’t exist: misericordando or mercying. So, “mercying him and choosing him” describes the vision of Jesus who gives the gift of mercy and chooses, and takes with him.”
Church condemns sin, shows mercy to sinner
“The Church condemns sin because it has to relay the truth: ‘this is a sin’. But at the same time, it embraces the sinner who recognises himself as such, it welcomes him, it speaks to him of the infinite mercy of God. Jesus forgave even those who crucified and scorned him.”
“To follow the way of the Lord, the Church is called on to dispense its mercy over all those who recognise themselves as sinners, who assume responsibility for the evil they have committed, and who feel in need of forgiveness. The Church does not exist to condemn people, but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.” “I often say that in order for this to happen, it is necessary to go out: to go out from the churches and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope. I like to use the image of a field hospital to describe this “Church that goes forth”. It exists where there is combat. It is not a solid structure with all the equipment where people go to receive treatment for both small and large infirmities. It is a mobile structure that offers first aid and immediate care, so that its soldiers do not die.” “It is a place for urgent care, not a place to see a specialist. I hope that the Jubilee [The Holy Year of Mercy] will serve to reveal the Church’s deeply maternal and merciful side, a Church that goes forth toward those who are “wounded,” who are in need of an attentive ear, understanding, forgiveness, and love.” Mercy yes, corruption no
Pope Francis goes on to point out the difference between sin and corruption, saying the corrupt man lacks the humility to recognise his sins. “Corruption is the sin which, rather than being recognised as such and rendering us humble, is elevated to a system; it becomes a mental habit, a way of living. We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviours.” “Jesus says to his disciples: even if your brother offends you seven times a day, and seven times a day he returns to you to ask for forgiveness, forgive him. The repentant sinner, who sins again and again because of his weakness, will find forgiveness if he acknowledges his need for mercy. The corrupt man is the one who sins but does not repent, who sins and pretends to be Christian, and it is this double life that is scandalous.” “The corrupt man does not know humility, he does not consider himself in need of help, he leads a double life. We must not accept the state of corruption as if it were just another sin. Even though corruption is often identified with sin, in fact they are two distinct realities, albeit interconnected.”
“Sin, especially if repeated, can lead to corruption, not quantitatively — in the sense that a certain number of sins makes a person corrupt — but rather qualitatively: habits are formed that limit one’s capacity for love and create a false sense of self-sufficiency.”
“The corrupt man tires of asking for forgiveness and ends up believing that he doesn’t need to ask for it any more. We don’t become corrupt people overnight. It is a long, slippery slope that cannot be identified simply as a series of sins. One may be a great sinner and never fall into corruption if hearts feel their own weakness. That small opening allows the strength of God to enter.” “When a sinner recognises himself as such, he admits in some way that what he was attached to, or clings to, is false. The corrupt man hides what he considers his true treasure, but which really makes him a slave and masks his vice with good manners, always managing to keep up appearances.”

#PopeFrancis “Prayer works miracles..." #Homily at #VaticanCity

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
12/01/2016 15:


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says prayer works miracles and prevents the hardening of the heart.
His words came on Tuesday morning during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. 
“It’s the prayer of the faithful – the Pope said – that brings change to the Church; it’s not us popes, bishops or priests who carry the Church forward, but the Saints”.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:   
Pope Francis took his cue from the Bible reading of the day which tells the story of Hannah, a woman whom, deeply distressed by her infertility, desperately prays to the Lord to give her a child, and of Eli, a priest, who looks on vaguely from afar and superficially judges the woman as a drunkard as he can see her babbling but cannot hear her words.
“Hannah was praying silently, her lips moved but her voice was not heard. Hers is the courage of a woman of faith who is weeping and grieving and asks the Lord for his grace. There are many good women in the Church,  many! They place all their trust in prayer...  Let us think of one of them, Saint Monica who was able, with her tears, to be granted the grace of conversion for her son, Saint Augustine. There are so many” the Pope said.
Eli, the priest, is “a poor man” towards whom, Francis says, he feels “a certain sympathy” because – he explains - “I find faults in myself that allow me to understand him well and feel close to him.”  “How easily - the Pope continues – do we judge people and lack the respect to say: 'I wonder what he has in his heart? I do not know, but I will say nothing...’ When the heart lacks compassion one always thinks evil" and does not understand those who pray “with pain and anguish” and “entrust that pain and anguish to the Lord”.
“Jesus knows this kind of prayer. When he was in Gethsemane and was so anguished and hurt he sweated blood, He did not accuse the Father: ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done’”.  Jesus responded in the same way of the woman: with meekness. Sometimes, we pray, we ask things of God, but often we do not know how to engage with the Lord, to ask for grace” he said. 
The Pope also recalled the story of a man in Buenos Aires whose 9-year-old-daughter was dying in hospital. He said he spent the night at the shrine of the Virgin of Luján clinging to the gate and praying for the grace of healing. The next morning, when he returned to the hospital, his daughter was healed:
“Prayer works miracles; it works miracles for Christians, whether they be faithful laypeople,  priests, bishops who have lost compassion. The prayers of the faithful change the Church:  it’s not us popes, bishops, priests or nuns who carry the Church forward, but Saints. Saints are those who dare to believe that God is the Lord and that He can do everything” Pope Francis concluded.

(Linda Bordoni)

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



12-01-2016 - Year XXVI - Num. 6 

Summary
- Presentation of the book-interview with Pope Francis, "The Name of God is Mercy", published in 86 countries
- Other Pontifical Acts
- To the Diplomatic Corps: the Holy See will never cease its efforts to take the voice of peace to the ends of the earth
- Baptisms in the Sistine Chapel: offer your children the legacy of faith
- Angelus: the importance of celebrating the day of our Baptism
- Holy Father's calendar for January and February
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Presentation of the book-interview with Pope Francis, "The Name of God is Mercy", published in 86 countries
Vatican City, 12 January 2016 (VIS) – "The Name of God is Mercy", the book in the form of an interview with Pope Francis by the Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, has been released today in 86 countries and was presented this morning in the Augustinianum Institute, Rome by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and the actor Roberto Benigni during a conference moderated by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. The event was also attended by Msgr. Giuseppe Costa, director of the Vatican Publishing House (LEV), and Zhang Agostino Jianquing, a detainee in the prison of Padua, Italy who has converted to Christianity and received Baptism, the Eucharist and Confirmation last year. An extract of one of the Oscar winner Roberto Benigni's readings dedicated to "The Ten Commandments" was used by the Pope in the homily he pronounced during the end of year Te Deum in 2014, in which he spoke of the weakness of the human being, who at times tends towards slavery and sin for fear of freedom.
 The book, whose cover bears the signature of the Pope in the Italian, Spanish, French, English and Portuguese editions, is divided into nine chapters. It begins with "The Time of Mercy" and concludes with "How to live the Jubilee well". Throughout the other seven chapters Francis dialogues with Andrea Tornielli – whom during a four-hour interview this summer, in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, asked him forty questions on issues linked by the common thread of mercy, described by the Pope as "God's identity card". Confession as "neither a whitewash, nor a form of torture", based on listening rather than interrogation, recognising oneself as a sinner and the Church's condemnation of sin and embracing of the sinner, the Pope's acknowledgement that he too is in need of divine mercy, the need to get up again after a fall, the assertion that God's logic is a logic of love that scandalises the doctors of the Law and that formal compliance with rules leads to a decline in our wonder at the salvation God offers are some of the issues that the Holy Father considers. In Chapter 7 he notes that corruption is a sin raised to a systemic level, and also reiterates that compassion overcomes the globalisation of indifference, while shortly before the end of the book he emphasises that practising works of mercy is the cornerstone of Christian life.
In the book, considered by many to be a summary of Francis' teaching and papacy, the Holy Father explains to the Vatican commentator of the Italian newspaper "La Stampa", incorporating anecdotes from his youth and his experiences as a priest, the reasons why he chose to convoke a Holy Year of Mercy, the key word of his teaching.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 12 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Fr. Euzebius Chinekezy Ogbonna Managwu as bishop of Port-Gentil (area 22,850, population 128,000, Catholics 71,770, priests 11, religious 11), Gabon. The bishop-elect was born in N'Djamena, Chad in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a licentiate from the Pontifical Theological Faculty "Teresianum", Rome and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish vicar, parish priest, spiritual director and rector of the Saint Jean minor seminary in Libreville. He is currently episcopal vicar of the diocese of Libreville and pastor of the parish of Notre Dame de l'Ogooue.
- given his assent to the appointment, by the Synod of Bishops of the major archiepiscopal Syro-Malabar church, gathered in Mount Saint Thomas, Kerala, India, of Fr. Jose Pulickal as auxiliary bishop of the eparchy of Kanjirapally of the Syro-Malabars (area 2,017, population 1,365,900, Catholics 225,950, priests 344, religious 2,087), India. The bishop-elect was born in Inchiyani, India in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He holds a doctorate in biblical theology from the Dharmaram Institute of Bangalore, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including vicar of the cathedral of Kanjirapally, director of catechesis, eparchial vicar and consultor. He is currently protosyncellus with responsibilty for the clergy.
11-01-2016 - Year XXVI - Num. 5 

To the Diplomatic Corps: the Holy See will never cease its efforts to take the voice of peace to the ends of the earth
Vatican City, 11 January 2016 (VIS) – Today in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father today received in audience in the the Diplomatic Corps accredited at the Holy See for the traditional new year exchange of greetings. The Pope was first greeted by the new dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Armindo Fernandes do Espirito Santo Vieira, ambassador of Angola, and began his discourse by mentioning the diplomats who died during this last month, the ambassadors of Cuba, Rodney Alejandro Lopez Clemente, and of Liberia, Rudolf P. von Ballmoos. He also welcomed those attending for the first time, noting that the number of ambassadors resident in Rome has increased during the last year. "It is an important sign of the interest with which the international community follows the diplomatic activity of the Holy See", he remarked.
 Further proof of this interest is offered by the international agreements signed or ratified during the course of the year. In particular, Francis mentioned the agreements of a fiscal nature with Italy and the United States of America, "reflecting the increased commitment of the Holy See to greater transparency in economic matters. No less important are the more general agreements aimed at regulating essential aspects of the Church’s life and activity in different countries, such as the agreement sealed in Dili with the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste". He also cited the exchange of instruments of ratification of the agreement with Chad on the legal status of the Catholic Church in that country and the agreement signed and ratified with Palestine, which together with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat of State and the Foreign Affairs Minister of Kuwait, demonstrate "how peaceful co-existence between the followers of different religions is possible when religious freedom is recognised and practical cooperation in the pursuit of the common good, in a spirit of respect for the cultural identity of all parties, is effectively guaranteed".
The Pope emphasised that the authentic practice of religion cannot fail to promote peace. "The mystery of the Incarnation shows us the real face of God, for whom power does not mean force or destruction but love, and for whom justice is not vengeance but mercy". It is in the light of this that we must see the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, exceptionally inaugurated in Bangui during his Apostolic Journey in Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic.
"In a country sorely tried by hunger, poverty and conflict, where fratricidal violence in recent years has left deep wounds, rending the nation and creating material and moral destitution, the opening of the Holy Door of Bangui Cathedral was meant as a sign of encouragement to look ahead, to set out anew and resume dialogue. There, where God’s name has been misused to perpetrate injustice, I wanted to reaffirm, together with the Muslim community of the Central African Republic, that 'those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace' and consequently of mercy, for one may never kill in the name of God. Only a distorted ideological form of religion can think that justice is done in the name of the Almighty by deliberately slaughtering defenceless persons, as in the brutal terrorist attacks which occurred in recent months in Africa, Europe and the Middle East".
The Pope went on to reflect on his Apostolic trips throughout the course of the year, linked by the common thread of mercy, starting with Sarajevo, "a city deeply scarred by the war in the Balkans and the capital of a country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is uniquely significant for Europe and the entire world. As a crossroads of cultures, nations and religions, it is working successfully to build new bridges, to encourage those things which unite, and to see differences as opportunities for growth in respect for all".
In Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay, he encountered "peoples who have not given up in the face of difficulties, and who are facing with courage, determination and solidarity their many challenges, beginning with widespread poverty and social inequality", he said. "During my journey to Cuba and the United States of America, I was able to embrace two countries which were long divided and which have decided to write a new page of history, embarking on the path of closer ties and reconciliation".
"In Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, during my Journey to Sri Lanka and to the Philippines, and more recently with the Synod of Bishops, I reaffirmed the centrality of the family, which is the first and most important school of mercy, in which we learn to see God’s loving face and to mature and develop as human beings. Sadly, we recognise the numerous challenges presently facing families, 'threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life'. Today there is a widespread fear of the definitive commitment demanded by the family; those who pay the price are the young, who are often vulnerable and uncertain, and the elderly, who end up being neglected and abandoned".
The Pope went on to ask the ambassadors to reflect on "the poor, the marginalised and the 'least' of society", and in particular on the "grave crisis of migration we are facing, in order to discern its causes, to consider possible solutions, and to overcome the inevitable fears associated with this massive and formidable phenomenon, which in 2015 has mainly concerned Europe, but also various regions of Asia and North and Central America".
"The Bible as a whole recounts the history of a humanity on the move, for mobility is part of our human nature", he added. "Human history is made up of countless migrations, sometimes out of an awareness of the right to choose freely, and often dictated by external circumstances. From the banishment from Eden to Abraham’s journey to the promised land, from the Exodus story to the deportation to Babylon, sacred Scripture describes the struggles and sufferings, the desires and hopes, which are shared by the hundreds of thousands of persons on the move today, possessed of the same determination which Moses had to reach a land flowing with 'milk and honey', a land of freedom and peace. Now as then, we hear Rachel weeping for her children who are no more. Hers is the plea of thousands of people who weep as they flee horrific wars, persecutions and human rights violations, or political or social instability, which often make it impossible for them to live in their native lands. It is the outcry of those forced to flee in order to escape unspeakable acts of cruelty towards vulnerable persons, such as children and the disabled, or martyrdom solely on account of their religion".
"Now as then, we hear Jacob saying to his sons: 'Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die'. His is the voice of all those who flee extreme poverty, inability to feed their families or to receive medical care and education, hopeless squalor or the effects of climate change and extreme weather conditions. Sadly, we know that hunger continues to be one of the gravest banes of our world, leading to the death of millions of children every year. It is painful to realise, however, that often these migrants are not included in international systems of protection based on international agreements".
"How can we not see in all this the effects of that 'culture of waste' which endangers the human person, sacrificing men and women before the idols of profit and consumption? It is a grievous fact that we grow so inured to such situations of poverty and need, to these tragedies affecting so many lives, that they appear 'normal'. … We have grown indifferent to all sorts of waste, starting with the waste of food, which is all the more deplorable when so many individuals and families suffer hunger and malnutrition".
"The Holy See trusts that, amid today’s sad context of conflicts and disasters, the First World Humanitarian Summit, convened by the United Nations for May 2016, will succeed in its goal of placing the person and human dignity at the heart of every humanitarian response. What is needed is a common commitment which can decisively turn around the culture of waste and lack of respect for human life, so that no one will feel neglected or forgotten, and that no further lives will be sacrificed due to the lack of resources and, above all, of political will".
We also hear today "the voice of Judah who counsels selling his own brother. His is the arrogance of the powerful who exploit the weak, reducing them to means for their own ends or for strategic and political schemes. Where regular migration is impossible, migrants are often forced to turn to human traffickers or smugglers, even though they are aware that in the course of their journey they may well lose their possessions, their dignity and even their lives. In this context I once more appeal for an end to trafficking in persons, which turns human beings, especially the weakest and most defenceless, into commodities. The image of all those children who died at sea, victims of human callousness and harsh weather, will remain forever imprinted on our minds and hearts. Those who survive and reach a country which accepts them bear the deep and indelible scars of these experiences, in addition to those left by the atrocities which always accompany wars and violence".
"Now as then, we hear the angel say: 'Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you'. His is the voice heard by many migrants who would never have left their homeland had they not been forced to. Among these are many Christians who in great numbers have abandoned their native lands these past years, despite the fact that they have dwelt there from the earliest days of Christianity. Finally, we also hear today the voice of the Psalmist: 'By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion'. His is the cry of those who would readily return to their own country, if only there they could find adequate conditions of security and sustenance. Here too my thoughts turn to the Christians of the Middle East, who desire to contribute fully as citizens to the spiritual and material well-being of their respective nations".
"Many of the causes of migration could have been addressed some time ago", the Holy Father commented. "So many disasters could have been prevented, or at least their harshest effects mitigated. Today too, before it is too late, much could be done to end these tragedies and to build peace. But that would mean rethinking entrenched habits and practices, beginning with issues involving the arms trade, the provision of raw materials and energy, investment, policies of financing and sustainable development, and even the grave scourge of corruption. We all know, too, that with regard to migration there is a need for mid-term and long-term planning which is not limited to emergency responses. Such planning should include effective assistance for integrating migrants in their receiving countries, while also promoting the development of their countries of origin through policies inspired by solidarity, yet not linking assistance to ideological strategies and practices alien or contrary to the cultures of the peoples being assisted".
"Without overlooking other dramatic situations – in this regard, I think particularly of the border between Mexico and the United States of America, which I will be near when I visit Ciudad Juarez next month – my thoughts turn in a special way to Europe. Over the past year Europe has witnessed a great wave of refugees – many of whom died in the attempt – a wave unprecedented in recent history, not even after the end of the Second World War. Many migrants from Asia and Africa see in Europe a beacon for principles such as equality before the law and for values inherent in human nature, including the inviolable dignity and equality of every person, love of neighbour regardless of origin or affiliation, freedom of conscience and solidarity towards our fellow men and women".
"All the same, the massive number of arrivals on the shores of Europe appear to be overburdening the system of reception painstakingly built on the ashes of the Second World War, a system that is still an acknowledged beacon of humanity. Given the immense influx and the inevitable problems it creates, a number of questions have be raised about the real possibilities for accepting and accommodating people, about changes in the cultural and social structures of the receiving countries, and about the reshaping of certain regional geopolitical balances. Equally significant are fears about security, further exacerbated by the growing threat of international terrorism. The present wave of migration seems to be undermining the foundations of that 'humanistic spirit' which Europe has always loved and defended. Yet there should be no loss of the values and principles of humanity, respect for the dignity of every person, mutual subsidiarity and solidarity, however much they may prove, in some moments of history, a burden difficult to bear. I wish, then, to reaffirm my conviction that Europe, aided by its great cultural and religious heritage, has the means to defend the centrality of the human person and to find the right balance between its twofold moral responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens and to ensure assistance and acceptance to migrants".
Francis expressed his gratitude for the initiatives that have been adopted in order to provide a dignified reception to these persons, such as the Migrant and Refugee Fund of the Council of Europe Development Bank, and the generous solidarity shown by a number of countries. "I also have in mind the nations neighbouring Syria, which have responded immediately with help and acceptance, especially Lebanon, where refugees make up a fourth of the total population, and Jordan, which has not closed its borders despite the fact that it already harbours hundreds of thousands of refugees. Nor should we overlook the efforts made by other countries in the front lines, especially Turkey and Greece. I wish to express particular gratitude to Italy, whose decisive commitment has saved many lives in the Mediterranean, and which continues to accept responsibility on its territory for a massive number of refugees. It is my hope that the traditional sense of hospitality and solidarity which distinguishes the Italian people will not be weakened by the inevitable difficulties of the moment, but that, in light of its age-old tradition, the nation may prove capable of accepting and integrating the social, economic and cultural contribution which migrants can offer".
"It is important that nations in the forefront of meeting the present emergency not be left alone, and it is also essential to initiate a frank and respectful dialogue among all the countries involved in the problem – countries of origin, transit, or reception - so that, with greater boldness and creativity, new and sustainable solutions can be sought. As things presently stand, there is no place for autonomous solutions pursued by individual states, since the consequences of the decisions made by each inevitably have repercussions on the entire international community. Indeed, migrations, more then ever before, will play a pivotal role in the future of our world, and our response can only be the fruit of a common effort respectful of human dignity and the rights of persons. The Development Agenda adopted last September by the United Nations for the next fifteen years, which deals with many of the problems causing migration, and other documents of the international community on handling the issue of migration, will be able to find application consistent with expectations if they are able to put the person at the centre of political decisions at every level, seeing humanity as one family, and all people as brothers and sisters, with respect for mutual differences and convictions of conscience".
"In facing the issue of migrations, one cannot overlook its cultural implications, beginning with those linked to religious affiliation. Extremism and fundamentalism find fertile soil not only in the exploitation of religion for purposes of power, but also in the vacuum of ideals and the loss of identity – including religious identity – which dramatically marks the so-called West. This vacuum gives rise to the fear which leads to seeing the other as a threat and an enemy, to closed-mindedness and intransigence in defending preconceived notions. The phenomenon of migration raises a serious cultural issue which necessarily demands a response. The acceptance of migrants can thus prove a good opportunity for new understanding and broader horizons, both on the part of those accepted, who have the responsibility to respect the values, traditions and laws of the community which takes them in, and on the part of the latter, who are called to acknowledge the beneficial contribution which each immigrant can make to the whole community. In this context, the Holy See reaffirms its commitment in the ecumenical and interreligious sectors to inaugurating a sincere and respectful dialogue which, by valuing the distinctness and identity of each individual, can foster a harmonious coexistence among all the members of society".
The Pope remarked that the conclusion of important international agreements during 2015 may give solid hope for the future. Firstly, there was the so-called Iran nuclear deal and the long-awaited agreement on climate at the Paris Conference, which "represents for the entire international community an important achievement; it reflects a powerful collective realisation of the grave responsibility incumbent on individuals and nations to protect creation, to promote a 'culture of care which permeates all of society'. It is now essential that those commitments prove more than simply a good intention, but rather a genuine duty incumbent on all states to do whatever is needed to safeguard our beloved earth for the sake of all mankind, especially generations yet to come".
The year which has just begun promises, he said, to be "full of challenges and more than a few tensions have already appeared on the horizon. I think above all of the serious disagreements which have arisen in the Persian Gulf region, as well as the disturbing military test conducted on the Korean peninsula. It is my hope that these conflicts will be open to the voice of peace and a readiness to seek agreements. Here I note with satisfaction of certain significant and particularly encouraging gestures. I think especially of the climate of peaceful coexistence in which the recent elections in the Central African Republic were held; these are a positive sign of the will to persevere on the path to full national reconciliation. I also think of the new initiatives under way in Cyprus to heal a long-standing division, and to the efforts being made by the Colombian people to leave behind past conflicts and to attain the long-awaited peace. We all look with hope to the important steps made by the international community to achieve a political and diplomatic solution of the crisis in Syria, one which can put a long overdue end to the sufferings of the population. The signals coming from Libya are likewise encouraging and offer the hope of a renewed commitment to ending violence and re-establishing the country’s unity. On the other hand, it appears increasingly evident that only a common and agreed political action will prove able to stem the spread of extremism and fundamentalism, which spawn terrorist acts which reap countless victims, not only in Syria and Libya, but in other countries like Iraq and Yemen".
"May this Holy Year of Mercy also be the occasion of dialogue and reconciliation aimed at consolidating the common good in Burundi, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in South Sudan. Above all, may it be a favourable time for definitively ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Of fundamental importance is the support which the international community, individual states and humanitarian organisations can offer the country from a number of standpoints, in order to surmount the present crisis. Yet the greatest challenge we face is that of overcoming indifference and working together for peace, which remains a good which must constantly be sought. Sadly, among the many parts of our beloved world which long fervently for peace, there is the land for which God showed a particular love and chose to show to all the face of his mercy. I pray that this new year can heal the deep wounds dividing Israelis and Palestinians, and enable the peaceful coexistence of two peoples who – of this I am sure – in the depths of their heart ask only for peace".
The Pope concluded his address by reiterating that on the diplomatic level, the Holy See "will never cease its efforts to enable the message of peace to be heard to the ends of the earth. I thus reiterate the complete readiness of the Secretariat of State to cooperate with you in favouring constant dialogue between the Apostolic See and the countries which you represent, for the benefit of the entire international community. I am certain that this Jubilee year will be a favourable occasion for the cold indifference of so many hearts to be won over by the warmth of mercy, that precious gift of God which turns fear into love and makes us artisans of peace. With these sentiments I renew to each of you, to your families and your countries, my heartfelt good wishes for a blessed New Year".
Baptisms in the Sistine Chapel: offer your children the legacy of faith
Vatican City, 10 January 2016 (VIS) – "Give your children the legacy of faith", said the Pope this morning in the Sistine Chapel to the parents and godparents of 26 children (13 boys and 13 girls) he baptised during the Holy Mass celebrated on the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord.
In his brief homily the Holy Father explained to those present that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple forty days after His birth to present Him to God, just as today parents take their children to receive Baptism and to receive the faith as they show in their reply to the question at the beginning of the rite. "In this way, faith is transmitted from one generation to another, like a chain through time. These boys, these girls, over the years, will take your place with their children, your grandchildren, and they too will ask for faith. The faith that is given in Baptism, the faith that the Holy Spirit brings today to the heart, the soul and the life of these children of yours".
"You have ask for faith. The Church, when she gives you the lighted candle, will tell you to safeguard the faith in these children. And, in the end, do not forget that the greatest legacy you can give your children is faith. Take care that it is not lost, to make it grow and to leave it as a legacy. This I wish to you today, on this day that is joyful for you: I hope that you will be able to raise these children in faith and that the greatest legacy they will receive from you will be faith".
The Pope concluded by commenting that when a baby cries it may be because he or she is hungry, and so he invited mothers to feel free to feed their babies in the Sistine Chapel if necessary.
Angelus: the importance of celebrating the day of our Baptism
Vatican City, 10 January 2016 (VIS) – Today at midday, following Mass in the Sistine Chapel, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pontiff asked all those present to pray for the 25 babies he had just baptised, and remarked that the Gospel of the day "presents Jesus to us, in the waters of the river Jordan, at the centre of a wonderful divine revelation". In the words of the apostle Luke, "after all the people had been baptised, and Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased".
"In this event - attested to by all four Gospels - the transition from the baptism of John the Baptist, based on the symbol of water, to the baptism of Jesus happens 'in the Holy Spirit and fire'", the Pope continued. "The Holy Spirit, in fact, in the Christian Baptism is the principal architect: it is He who burns and destroys Original Sin, restoring to the baptised the beauty of divine grace; It is He who delivers us from the dominion of darkness, that is, of sin, and transfers us into the realm of light, that is, of love, truth and peace. This is the realm of light".
Francis explained that "the Holy Spirit, received for the first time on the day of our Baptism, opens our hearts to the truth, the whole truth. The Spirit guides our life along a demanding path, but one joyous in charity and solidarity toward our brothers. The Spirit gives us the tenderness of God's forgiveness and pervades us with the invincible strength of the Father's mercy. Let us not forget that the Holy Spirit is a living and life-giving presence in those who welcome Him, that prays with us and fills us with spiritual joy".
He invited all present to give thanks for this gift and to seek out the date of their own Baptism. "It is very important to know, because it is a date to celebrate: it is the date of our rebirth as children of God. So, this week's homework is to find out the date of your baptism. Celebrating that day means reaffirming our our attachment to Jesus, with the commitment to live as Christians, members of the Church and new humanity, in which we are all brothers". Following the Marian prayer, the Pope gave a special blessing to "all those children who have been baptised recently, as well as young people and adults who have recently received the Sacraments of Christian initiation or who are preparing. May Christ's grace accompany them always!".
Holy Father's calendar for January and February
Vatican City, 11 January 2016 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside in the months of January 2016 and February 2016:
JANUARY
Monday 25: Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul. At 5.30 p.m., in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, celebration of Vespers.
FEBRUARY
Tuesday 2: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 20th World Day of Consecrated Life. At5.30 p.m., Holy Mass, Jubilee of Consecrated Life and closure of the Year of Consecrated Life.
Wednesday 10: Ash Wednesday. At 5 p.m., in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass, blessing and imposition of the Ashes, sending of Missionaries of Mercy.
Friday 12 – Thursday 18: Apostolic trip in Mexico.
Monday 22: Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter. At 10.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Jubilee of the Roman Curia.
Audiences
Vatican City, 9 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops;
- Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile, president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, with Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic of Rancagua, deputy president, and Bishop Cristian Contreras Villarroel of Melipilla, general secretary;
- Fr. Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, prepositor general of the Society of Jesus, with Fr. Mauro Johri, minister general of the Franciscan Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, president of the Union of Superiors General (U.S.G.).;
- Nicola Zingarelli, president of the Latium region, Italy.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 9 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Antonio Augusto de Oliveira Azevedo as auxiliary of the diocese of Porto (area 3,010, population 2,106,000, Catholics 1,906,000, priests 423, permanent deacons 82, religious 892), Portugal. The bishop-elect was born in Sao Pedro de Avioso, Portugal in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish vicar, military chaplain, parish priest, parish administrator and diocesan assistant in the pastoral ministry of workers. He is currently rector of the major seminary of Nossa Senhora da Conceidao, diocesan assistant at the Centre for Preparation for Marriage, professor in the faculty of theology of the Catholic University of Porto, judge at the ecclesiastical tribunal and secretary of the presbyteral council.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. January 12, 2016


Tuesday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 306


Reading 11 SM 1:9-20

Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh,
and presented herself before the LORD;
at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair
near the doorpost of the LORD’s temple.
In her bitterness she prayed to the LORD, weeping copiously,
and she made a vow, promising: “O LORD of hosts,
if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid,
if you remember me and do not forget me,
if you give your handmaid a male child,
I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives;
neither wine nor liquor shall he drink,
and no razor shall ever touch his head.”
As she remained long at prayer before the LORD,
Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently;
though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard.
Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her,
“How long will you make a drunken show of yourself?
Sober up from your wine!”
“It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered.
“I am an unhappy woman.
I have had neither wine nor liquor;
I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD.
Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well;
my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.”
Eli said, “Go in peace,
and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She replied, “Think kindly of your maidservant,” and left.
She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband,
and no longer appeared downcast.
Early the next morning they worshiped before the LORD,
and then returned to their home in Ramah.

When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah,
the LORD remembered her.
She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son
whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him.

Responsorial Psalm1 SAMUEL 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD

R. (see 1) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he humbles, he also exalts.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

AlleluiaSEE 1 THES 2:13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:21-28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Saint January 12 : St. Marguerite Bourgeoys : #Foundress : Patron of #poverty, orphans, people rejected by religious orders



FOUNDRESS, SISTERS OF THE CONGREGATION OF NOTRE-DAME
Feast: January 12 (Canada)
Information:
Feast Day:January 12
Born:17 April 1620, Troyes, France
Died:12 January 1700, Montreal,

 Canada
Canonized:31 October 1982, by Pope
John Paul II
Major Shrine:Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours
Chapel, Montreal
Patron:Against poverty, loss of parents, people rejected by religious orders
MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS was born in Troyes, in the province of Champagne (France), on Good Friday, April 17, 1620. She was baptized on the same day in the church of Saint-Jean, a church that was located near her home. Marguerite was the sixth child in a family of twelve. Her parents were Abraham Bourgeoys and Guillemette Gamier, and she was privileged to grow up in a milieu that was middle class and thoroughly Christian.

Marguerite was nineteen years of age when she lost her mother. In the following year, 1640, in the course of a procession held on October 7 in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, she had an unforgettable experience. Her eyes rested on a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and at that moment she felt inspired to withdraw from the world and to consecrate herself to the service of God. She registered, at once, as a member of the extern Congregation of Troyes, an association of young girls devoted to the charitable work of teaching children in the poor districts of the town. While engaged in this apostolate she learned about the foundation of Ville Marie (Montreal) in Canada. The year was 1642, and at that time she sensed a first call to missionary life. This call was rendered concrete in 1652 when she met Monsieur de Maisonneuve, founder and governor of the settlement begun in New France, who was in search of someone who would volunteer her services for the gratuitous instruction of the French and Indian children. Our Lady confirmed the call addressed to her: "Go, I will not forsake you", she said. Thus assured, Marguerite left Troyes in February, 1653, in a spirit of complete detachment. She arrived in Montreal on the following 16th of November, and without delay she set to work to promote the best interests of the colony. She is rightly considered co-foundress of Montreal, with the nurse, Jeanne Mance, and the master designer, Monsieur de Maisonneuve.

In order to encourage the colonists in their faith, she arranged for the restoration of the Cross on Mount Royal after it has been destroyed by hostile Indians, and she undertook the construction of a chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame de Bon Secours. Convinced of the importance of the family in the building of this new country, and perceiving the significance of the role to be exercised by women, she devoted herself to the task of preparing those whose vocation it would be to preside in a home. In 1658, in a stable which had been given to her by the governor for her use, she opened the first school in Montreal. She also organized an extern Congregation, patterned after the one which she had known in Troyes but adapted to the actual needs. In this way, she could respond to the needs of the women and young girls on whom much depended as far as the instruction of children was concerned. In 1659, she began receiving girls who were recommended by "les cures" in France, or endowed by       the King, to come to establish homes in Montreal, and she became a real mother to them. Thus were initiated a school system and a network of social services which gradually extended through the whole country, and which led people to refer to Marguerite as "Mother of the Colony".

On three occasions, Marguerite Bourgeoys made a trip to France to obtain help. As of
1658, the group of teachers who associated themselves       with her in her life of prayer, of heroic poverty, and of untiring devotedness to the service of others, presented the image of a religious institute. The Congregation de Notre-Dame received its civil charter from Louis XIV in 1671, and canonical approbation by decree of the Bishop of Quebec in 1676. The Constitutions of the Community were approved in 1698. The foundation having been assured, Sister Bourgeoys could leave the work to others. She died in Montreal on January 12, 1700, acknowledged for her holiness of life. Her last generous act was to offer herself as a sacrifice of prayer for the return to health of a young Sister. Forty members of the Congregation de Notre-Dame were there to continue her work.

On November 12, 1950 Pope Pius XII beatified Marguerite Bourgeoys. Canonizing her on October 31, 1982, Pope John Paul II gave the Canadian Church its first woman saint.


(Abridged from Vatican News Services)

Saint January 12 : St. Bernard of Corleone : #Religious



Information:
Feast Day:January 12
Born:
1605, Sicily
Died:12 January 1667, Palermo
Canonized:10 June 2001, by Pope John Paul II
Saint Bernard was born on the island of Sicily in the year 1605. His father was a shoemaker and taught his son the ways of the trade. But it was difficult for the lively youth to interest himself in this work. Upon the death of his father, he immediately left the shop and, led by the love of adventure, he took up fencing. It was not long before he became quite adept at wielding the sword. His unusual vigor qualified him to challenge any comer to a contest.
As a youth and young adult he spent the greater part of his time in training and eagerly seized every opportunity to match swords with his countrymen.
Although this manner of life led him far away from God, nevertheless many noble characteristics were perceptible in St. Bernard. In taking up any quarrel he liked to defend old people and other helpless and defenseless persons against violence. He frequently made devout visits to a crucifix that was highly honored by the people, and provided that a lamp be kept burning before it. Moreover, he cherished great devotion towards Saint Francis of Assisi.
At one point, St. Bernard had been challenged to a duel, in the course of which he wounded his opponent mortally. In order to escape from his avengers, he sought refuge amongst the Capuchin Franciscans.
In order to atone for his sins, he begged for admission among the Capuchins as a lay brother, and on December 13, 1632 he entered the Franciscan novitiate. If in the past St. Bernard had yielded his bodily members to wayward purposes, he now used them as an atoning sacrifice unto salvation. It is reported that seven times a day he scourged himself to the blood. His sleep was limited to three hours on a narrow board, with a block of wood under his head. He fasted for the most part on bread and water. If anything delicious was placed before him, he would carry the food to his mouth so as to whet his appetite, and then lay it down without having tasted it. In spite of his austere life, he still undertook the most unpleasant and annoying tasks as being his due.
St. Bernard had an especially ardent devotion at prayer. St. Bernard cherished a special love for the Blessed Mary, and encouraged others to do the same. The Blessed Mother appeared to him and placed the Divine Child in his arms. Moreover, she gave him knowledge of the day of his death four months in advance. He died at Palermo on January 12, 1667.
His biographers stated that, attracted by the fame of his sanctity, there gathered for his burial so many people who raised their voices in praise of the deceased, that it was less a funeral cortège than a triumphal procession. Numerous miracles occurring at his grave promoted the cause of his beatification by pope Clement XIII in 1767 and subsequent canonization by pope John Paul II in 2001.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

2016

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. January 11, 2016


Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 305


Reading 11 SM 1:1-8

There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Elkanah by name,
a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim.
He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu,
son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
He had two wives, one named Hannah, the other Peninnah;
Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.
This man regularly went on pilgrimage from his city
to worship the LORD of hosts and to sacrifice to him at Shiloh,
where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas,
were ministering as priests of the LORD.
When the day came for Elkanah to offer sacrifice,
he used to give a portion each to his wife Peninnah
and to all her sons and daughters,
but a double portion to Hannah because he loved her,
though the LORD had made her barren.
Her rival, to upset her, turned it into a constant reproach to her
that the LORD had left her barren.
This went on year after year;
each time they made their pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the LORD,
Peninnah would approach her,
and Hannah would weep and refuse to eat.
Her husband Elkanah used to ask her:
“Hannah, why do you weep, and why do you refuse to eat?
Why do you grieve?
Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:12-13, 14-17, 18-19

R. (17a) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaMK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

Saint January 11 : St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch : #Abbot and #Founder


Information:
Feast Day:January 11
Born:
423 at Garissus, Cappadocia (modern Turkey)
Died:529 at Cathismus
St Theodosius was born at Mogariassus, called in latter ages Marissa, in Cappadocia, in 423. He imbibed the first tincture of virtue from the fervent example and pious instructions of his virtuous parents. He was ordained reader, but some time after being moved by Abraham's example to quit his country and friends, he resolved to put this motion in execution. He accordingly set out for Jerusalem, but went purposely out of his road to visit the famous St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar, who foretold him several circumstances of his life, and gave him proper instructions for his behaviour in each. Having satisfied his  devotion in visiting the holy places in Jerusalem, he began to consider in what manner he should dedicate himself to God in a religious state. The dangers of living without a guide made him prefer a monastery to a hermitage; and he therefore put himself under the directions of a holy man named Longinus, to whom his virtue soon endeared him in a very particular manner. A pious lady having built a church under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, on the high road to Bethlehem, Longinus could not well refuse her request that his pupil should undertake the charge of it; but Theodosius, who loved only to obey, could not be induced by any entreaties to consent to this proposal: absolute commands were necessary to force him to a compliance. Nor did he govern long; for dreading the poison of vanity from the esteem of men, he retired into a cave at the top of a neighbouring desert mountain, and employed his time in fasting, watching, prayers, and tears, which almost continually flowed from his eyes. His food was coarse pulse and wild herbs: for thirty years he never tasted so much as a morsel of bread. Many desired to serve God under his direction: he at first determined only to admit six or seven, but was soon obliged to receive a greater number, and at length came to a resolution, which charity extorted from him, never to reject any that presented themselves with dispositions that seemed sincere. The first lesson which he taught his monks was that the continual remembrance of death is the foundation of religious perfection; to imprint this more deeply in their minds, he caused a great grave or pit to be dug, which might serve for the common burial-place of the whole community, that by the presence of this memorial of death, and by continually meditating on that object, they might more perfectly learn to die daily. The burial-place being made, the abbot one day, when he had led his monks to it, said, The grave is made, who will first perform the dedication?" Basil, a priest, who was one of the number, falling on his knees, said to St. Theodosius, "I am the person, be pleased to give me your blessing." The abbot ordered the prayers of the church for the dead to be offered up for him, and on the fortieth day Basil wonderfully departed to our Lord in peace without any apparent sickness. When the holy company of disciples were twelve in number it happened that at the great feast at Easter they had nothing to eat; they had not even bread for the sacrifice: some murmured; the saint bid them trust in God and he would provide; which was soon remarkably verified by the arrival of certain mules loaded with provisions. The lustre of the sanctity and miracles of St. Theodosius drawing great numbers to him who desired to serve God under his direction, his cave was too little for their reception, therefore, having consulted heaven by prayer, he, by its particular direction, built a spacious monastery at a place called Cathismus, not far from Bethlehem, at a small distance from his cave, and it was soon filled with holy monks. To this monastery were annexed three infirmaries: one for the sick, the gift of a pious lady in that neighbourhood; the two others St. Theodosius built himself, one for the aged and feeble, the other for such as had been punished with the loss of their senses, or by falling under the power of the devil, for rashly engaging in a religious state through pride, and without a due dependence on the grace of God to carry them through it. All succours, spiritual and temporal, were afforded in these infirmaries, with admirable order, care, and affection. He erected also several buildings for the reception of strangers, in which he exercised an unbounded hospitality, entertaining all that came, for whose use there were one day above a hundred tables served with provisions: these, when insufficient for the number of guests, were more than once miraculously multiplied by his prayers. The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert, and in it reigned regularity, silence, charity, and peace. There were four churches belonging to it, one for each of the three several nations of which his community was chiefly composed, each speaking a different language; the fourth was for the use of such as were in a state of penance, which those that recovered from their lunatic or possessed condition before-mentioned, were put into, and detained till they had expiated their fault. The nations into which his community was divided were the Greeks, which was by far the most numerous, and consisted of all those that came from any provinces of the empire; the Armenians, with whom were joined the Arabians and Persians; and, thirdly, the Bessi, who comprehended all the northern nations below Thrace, or all who used the Runic or Sclavonian tongue. Each nation sung the first part of the mass to the end of the gospel in their own church, but after the gospel all met in the church of the Greeks, where they celebrated the essential part of the sacrifice in Greek, and communicated all together.
The monks passed a considerable part of the day and night at their devotions in the church, and at the times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest every one was obliged to apply himself to some trade or manual labour, not incompatible with recollection that the house might be supplied with conveniences. Sallust, Bishop of Jerusalem, appointed St. Sabas superior general of the hermits and our saint of the Cenobites, or religious men living in community throughout all Palestine, whence he was styled the Cenobiarch. These two great servants of God lived in strict friendship, and had frequent spiritual conferences together; they were also united in their zeal and sufferings for the church.
The Emperor Anastasius patronised the Eutychian heresy, and used all possible means to engage our saint in his party. In 513 he deposed Elias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, as he had banished Flavian II, Patriarch of Antioch, and intruded Severus, an impious heretic, into that see, commending the Syrians to obey and hold communion with him. SS. Theodosius and Sabas maintained boldly the right of Elias, and of John his successor; whereupon the imperial officers thought it most advisable to connive at their proceedings, considering the great authority they had acquired by their sanctity. Soon after, the emperor sent Theodosius a considerable sum of money, for charitable uses in appearance, but in reality to engage him in his interest. The saint accepted of it, and distributed it all among the poor. Anastasius, now persuading himself that he was as good as gained over to his cause, sent him a heretical profession of faith, in which the divine and human natures in Christ were confounded into one, and desired him to sign it. The saint wrote him an answer full of apostolic spirit; in which, besides solidly confuting the Eutychian error, he added that he was ready to lay down his life for the faith of the church. The emperor admired his courage and the strength of his reasoning, and, returning him a respectful answer, highly commended his generous zeal, made some apology for his own inconsiderateness, and protested that he only desired the peace of the church. But it was not long ere he relapsed into his former impiety, and renewed his bloody edicts against the orthodox, dispatching troops everywhere to have them put in execution. On the first intelligence of this, Theodosius went over  all the deserts and country of Palestine, exhorting every one to be firm in the faith of the four general councils. At Jerusalem, having assembled the people together, he from the pulpit cried out with a loud voice: "If any one receives not the four general councils as the four gospels, let him be anathema." So bold an action in a man of his years inspired with courage those whom the edicts had terrified. His discourses had a wonderful effect on the people, and God gave a sanction to his zeal by miracles: one of these was, that on his going out of the church at Jerusalem, a woman was healed of a cancer on the spot by only touching his garments. The emperor sent an order for his banishment, which was executed; but, dying soon after, Theodosius was recalled by his catholic successor, Justin, who, from a common soldier, had gradually ascended the imperial throne.
Our saint survived his return eleven years, never admitting the least relaxation in his former austerities. Such was his humility that, seeing two monks at variance with each other, he threw himself at their feet, and would not rise till they were perfectly reconciled; and once having excommunicated one of his subjects for a crime, who contumaciously pretended to excommunicate him in his turn, the saint behaved as if he had been really excommunicated, to gain the sinner's soul by this unprecedented example of submission, which had the desired effect. During the last year of his life he was afflicted with a painful distemper, in which he gave proof of a heroic patience, and an entire submission to the will of God. Perceiving the hour of his dissolution at hand, he gave his last exhortations to his disciples, and foretold many things, which accordingly came to pass after his death; this happened in the one hundred and fifth year of his age, and of our Lord 529. Peter, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the whole country, assisted with the deepest sentiments of respect at the solemnity of his interment, which was honoured by miracles. He was buried in his first cell called the Cave of the Magi, because the wise men who came to adore Christ soon after his birth were said to have lodged in it. A certain count being on his march against the Persians, begged  the hair shirt which the saint used to wear next his skin, and believed that he owed the victory which he obtained over them to the saint's protection through the pledge of that relic. Both the Romans and Greek calendars mention his festival on the 11th of January.
It is the opinion of St. Gregory the Great that the world is to some persons so full of ambushes and snares, or dangerous occasions of sin, that they cannot be saved but by choosing a safe retreat. Yet there are some who find the greatest dangers in solitude itself; so that it is necessary for every one to sound his own heart, take a survey of his own forces and abilities, and consult God, that he may best be able to learn the designs of his providence with regard to his soul; in doing which, a great purity of intention is the first requisite. Ease and enjoyment must not be the end of Christian retirement, but penance, labour, and assiduous contemplation; without great fervour and constancy in which, close solitude is the road to perdition. If greater safety, or an unfitness for a public station, or a life of much business (in which several are only public nuisances), may be just motives to some for embracing a life of retirement, the means of more easily attaining to perfect virtue may be such to many. Nor do true contemplatives bury their talents, or cease either to be members of the republic of mankind, or to throw in their mite towards its welfare.
From the prayers and thanksgivings which they daily offer to God for the peace of the world, the preservation of the church, the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of all men, doubtless more valuable benefits often accrue to mankind than from the alms of the rich or the labours of the learned. Nor is it to be imagined how far and how powerfully their spirit, and the example of their innocence and perfect virtue, often spread their influence; and how serviceable persons who lead a holy and sequestered life may be to the good of the world; nor how great glory redounds to God by the perfect purity of heart and charity to which many souls are thus raised.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)
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