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Thursday, November 10, 2016

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2016

#PopeFrancis "...object of God’s infinite mercy revealed to us by Jesus Christ" #Unity FULL TEXT - Video


Cardinals,
Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am happy to meet with you on the occasion of your Plenary Session, which is addressing the theme “Christian Unity: What Model of Full Communion?” I thank Cardinal Koch for the words he addressed to me in the name of you all.
In the course of this year, I had the opportunity to live many significant ecumenical meetings, be it in Rome, be it during trips. Each one of these meetings was for me a source of consolation, because I was able to see that the desire for communion is alive and intense. In as much as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter, aware of the responsibility entrusted to me by the Lord, I wish to confirm that Christian unity is one of my main concerns, and I pray that it will be increasingly shared by every baptized person.
Christian unity is an essential exigency of our faith, an exigency that flows from the depth of our being believers in Jesus Christ. We invoke unity because we invoke Christ. We want to live unity, because we want to follow Christ, to live His love, to enjoy the mystery of His being one with the Father, which is, then, the essence of divine love. In the Holy Spirit, Jesus Himself associates us to His prayer: “as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us […] I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me […] that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them”(John17:21.23.26). According to Jesus’ priestly prayer, what we yearn for is unity in the love of the Father, who comes to us offered in Jesus Christ, a love that also informs thought and doctrines. It is not enough to be in agreement in the understanding of the Gospel, but all of us believers must be united to Christ and in Christ. It is our personal and communal conversion, a gradual conformation to Him (cf. Romans 8:28), our living ever more in Him (cf. Galatians 2:20), which enables us to grow in communion among ourselves. This is also the spirit that sustains the study sessions and every other sort of effort to come to closer points of view.
Having this well in mind, it is possible to unmask certain false models of communion that in reality do not lead to unity but contradict it in its essence.
First of all, unity is not the fruit of our human efforts or the product built by ecclesiastical diplomacy, but it is a gift that comes from on high. We men are not able to achieve unity by ourselves, nor can we discern the ways and times. What, then, is our role? What must we do to promote Christian unity? Our task is to receive this gift and make it visible to all. From this point of view, unity, before being a goal, is a path, with its roadmaps and its rhythms, its slowing down and its acceleration, and also its pauses. As a path, unity requires patient expectations, tenacity, effort and commitment; it does not annul conflicts and does not cancel contrasts, rather, at times it can expose to the risk of new misunderstandings. Unity can be accepted only by one who decides to set out on the path to a goal that today might seem rather distant. However, he who follows this way is comforted by the continual experience of a communion joyfully perceived, even if not yet fully attained, every time that presumption is set aside and we all recognize ourselves in need of God’s love. And what bond unites all of us Christians more than the experience of being sinners but at the same time object of God’s infinite mercy revealed to us by Jesus Christ? Likewise, unity of love is already a reality when those whom God has chosen and called to form His people proclaim together the wonders that He has done for them, above all by offering a testimony of life full of charity to all (cf. 1 Peter 2:4-10). Therefore, I love to repeat that unity is done walking, to remind that when we walk together, we collaborate together in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the service to the least we are already united. All the theological and ecclesiological differences that still divide Christians will only be surmounted along this way, without us knowing today how and when, but that it will happen according to what the Holy Spirit will suggest for the good of the Church.
In the second place, unity is not uniformity. The different theological, liturgical, spiritual and canonical differences, which have developed in the Christian world, when they are genuinely rooted in the Apostolic Tradition, are a richness and not a threat to the unity of the Church. To seek to do away with such diversity is to go against the Holy Spirit, who acts by enriching the community of believers with a variety of gifts. In the course of history, there have been attempts of this nature, with consequences that sometimes have caused suffering even today. If instead we allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become conflict, because He drives us to live the variety in the communion of the Church. It is an ecumenical task to respect legitimate differences and to lead to surmount the irreconcilable differences with the unity that God requests. The continuation of such differences must not paralyze us, but push us to seek together the way to address such obstacles successfully.
Finally, unity is not absorption. Christian unity does not imply an ecumenism “in reverse,” by which some might deny their own history of faith; nor does it tolerate proselytism, which is, rather, a poison for the ecumenical path. Before seeing what separates us, we should perceive also in an essential way, the richness of what unites us, such as Sacred Scripture and the great professions of faith of the first Ecumenical Councils. By doing so, we Christians can recognize ourselves as brothers and sisters who believe in the one Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, committed together to seek the way to obey today the Word of God that wills us united. Ecumenism is true when it is able to move our attention away from ourselves, from our argumentations and formulations, to the Word of God which exacts being listened to, received and witnessed in the world. Therefore, the various Christian communities are called not to “concur,” but to collaborate. My recent visit to Lund reminded me of how timely is the ecumenical principle formulated there by the Ecumenical Council of the Churches already in 1952, which recommends to Christians “to do all things together, except in those cases in which the profound difficulties of convictions imposed to act separately.”
I thank you for your commitment. I assure you of my remembrance in prayer and I trust in yours for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady protect you.
[Original Text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

#PopeFrancis "God spoke through Jesus Christ..." #Homily

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday warned Christians against the temptation of a show or entertainment religion that constantly seeks novelty and revelations, comparing it to fireworks that provide us with a fleeting brightness before dying. His comments came during his Mass celebrated on Thursday morning at the Santa Marta residence.


The Pope’s reflections during his homily were inspired by the day’s reading about Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees’ question on when the Kingdom of God would come and he stressed how Christians must guard hope every day whilst waiting for the fullness of the Kingdom. Noting that Jesus told the Pharisees “the Kingdom of God is among you,” Pope Francis compared it to a small seed that is planted and grows on its own over time. He explained that God helps this seed to grow but without drawing attention to it. 
“The Kingdom of God is not a ‘show’ religion: one that is always seeking new things, revelations, messages … God spoke through Jesus Christ: this is the last Word of God. The other one is like fireworks that lit you up for a moment and then what is left behind?  Nothing. There is no growth, there is no light, there’s nothing: just an instant. And we have been tempted many times by this entertainment religion of seeking things that are extraneous to the revelation, to the meekness of the Kingdom of God that is among us and which grows. For this is not about hope, this is about the desire to have something in our hands. Our salvation comes from hope, the hope of a man who sows the seed or the woman who makes the bread, mixing yeast and flour: a hope that grows. Instead, this artificial brightness only lasts an instant and then it dies away, like fireworks: they are not needed for giving light to a house. It’s just a show.”
Asking what we should do whilst awaiting the fullness of the Kingdom of God, Pope Francis explained that we must guard and take care of our hope.
“Guard it with patience. Patience in our work, in our sufferings… Guarding it like the man who has planted a seed and who takes care of the plant, ensuring there are no weeds close to it, so it will grow. Guard our hope. And here is the question that I put to you: if the Kingdom of God is among us today, if all of us have this seed inside us, if we have the Holy Spirit there, how do I guard it? How do I discern this, how can I discern the good plant from the seed of the darnel? The Kingdom of God grows and what must we do? Guard it. Grow through hope and guard that hope. Because we have been saved through hope. And this is the thread: hope is the thread in the history of salvation. Our hope of meeting the Lord for sure.”
In conclusion, the Pope went on to describe how the Kingdom of God becomes strong through hope.
“Let us ask ourselves: Do I have hope? Or do I go ahead as best I can without knowing how to tell the good from the bad, the darnel seed, the light, the meek light of the Holy Spirit from the brightness of this artificial thing? Let us ask ourselves about our hope in this seed that is growing inside us and on how to guard our hope. The Kingdom of God is among us but we must, through rest, work, discernment, guard the hope of this Kingdom of God that grows until the time when the Lord will come and everything will be transformed. In a brief moment: everything! The world, us, everything. And as Paul said to the Christians of Thessalonica, ‘we shall be with the Lord for ever.’”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. November 10, 2016


Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 494


Reading 1PHLM 7-20

Beloved:
I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love,
because the hearts of the holy ones
have been refreshed by you, brother.
Therefore, although I have the full right in Christ
to order you to do what is proper,
I rather urge you out of love,
being as I am, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus.
I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment,
who was once useless to you but is now useful to both you and me.
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the Gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.
And if he has done you any injustice
or owes you anything, charge it to me.
I, Paul, write this in my own hand: I will pay.
May I not tell you that you owe me your very self.
Yes, brother, may I profit from you in the Lord.
Refresh my heart in Christ.

Responsorial PsalmPS 146:7, 8-9A, 9BC-10

R. (5a) Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 15:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord:
whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 17:20-25

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples,
“The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

Saint November 10 : St.Leo the Great : Rome


Feast: November 10
Information:
Feast Day:
November 10
Born:
400 at Tuscany, Italy
Died:
11 April 461 at Rome, Italy

Place and date of birth unknown; died 10 November, 461. Leo's pontificate, next to that of St. Gregory I, is the most significant and important in Christian antiquity. At a time when the Church was experiencing the greatest obstacles to her progress in consequence of the hastening disintegration of the Western Empire, while the Orient was profoundly agitated over dogmatic controversies, this great pope, with far-seeing sagacity and powerful hand, guided the destiny of the Roman and Universal Church. According to the "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Mommsen, I, 101 sqq., ed. Duchesne, I, 238 sqq.), Leo was a native of Tuscany and his father's name was Quintianus. Our earliest certain historical information about Leo reveals him a deacon of the Roman Church under Pope Celestine I (422-32). Even during this period he was known outside of Rome, and had some relations with Gaul, since Cassianus in 430 or 431 wrote at Leo's suggestion his work "De Incarnatione Domini contra Nestorium" (Migne, P.L., L, 9 sqq.), prefacing it with a letter of dedication to Leo. About this time Cyril of Alexandria appealed to Rome against the pretensions of Bishop Juvenal of Jerusalem. From an assertion of Leo's in a letter of later date (ep. cxvi, ed. Ballerini, I, 1212; II, 1528), it is not very clear whether Cyril wrote to him in the capacity of Roman deacon, or to Pope Celestine. During the pontificate of Sixtus III (422-40), Leo was sent to Gaul by Emperor Valentinian III to settle a dispute and bring about a reconciliation between Aëtius, the chief military commander of the province, and the chief magistrate, Albinus. This commission is a proof of the great confidence placed in the clever and able deacon by the Imperial Court. Sixtus III died on 19 August, 440, while Leo was in Gaul, and the latter was chosen his successor. Returning to Rome, Leo was consecrated on 29 September of the same year, and governed the Roman Church for the next twenty-one years.
Leo's chief aim was to sustain the unity of the Church. Not long after his elevation to the Chair of Peter, he saw himself compelled to combat energetically the heresies which seriously threatened church unity even in the West. Leo had ascertained through Bishop Septimus of Altinum, that in Aquileia priests, deacons, and clerics, who had been adherents of Pelagius, were admitted to communion without an explicit abjuration of their heresy. The pope sharply censured this procedure, and directed that a provincial synod should be assembled in Aquileia, at which such persons were to be required to abjure Pelagianism publicly and to subscribe to an unequivocal confession of Faith (epp. i and ii). This zealous pastor waged war even more strenuously against Manichæism, inasmuch as its adherents, who had been driven from Africa by the Vandals, had settled in Rome, and had succeeded in establishing a secret Manichæan community there. The pope ordered the faithful to point out these heretics to the priests, and in 443, together with the senators and presbyters, conducted in person an investigation, in the course of which the leaders of the community were examined. In several sermons he emphatically warned the Christians of Rome to be on their guard against this reprehensible heresy, and repeatedly charged them to give information about its followers, their dwellings, acquaintances, and rendezvous (Sermo ix, 4, xvi, 4; xxiv, 4; xxxiv, 4 sq.; xlii, 4 sq.; lxxvi, 6). A number of Manichæans in Rome were converted and admitted to confession; others, who remained obdurate, were in obedience to imperial decrees banished from Rome by the civil magistrates. On 30 January, 444, the pope sent a letter to all the bishops of Italy, to which he appended the documents containing his proceedings against the Manichæans in Rome, and warned them to be on their guard and to take action against the followers of the sect (ep. vii). On 19 June, 445, Emperor Valentinian III issued, doubtless at the pope's instigation, a stern edict in which he established seven punishments for the Manichæans ("Epist. Leonis", ed. Ballerini, I, 626; ep. viii inter Leon. ep). Prosper of Aquitaine states in his "Chronicle" (ad an. 447; "Mon. Germ. hist. Auct. antiquissimi", IX, I, 341 sqq.) that, in consequence of Leo's energetic measures, the Manichæans were also driven out of the provinces, and even Oriental bishops emulated the pope's example in regard to this sect. In Spain the heresy of Priscillianism still survived, and for some time had been attracting fresh adherents. Bishop Turibius of Astorga became cognizant of this, and by extensive journeys collected minute information about the condition of the churches and the spread of Priscillianism. He compiled the errors of the heresy, wrote a refutation of the same, and sent these documents to several African bishops. He also sent a copy to the pope, whereupon the latter sent a lengthy letter to Turibius (ep. xv) in refutation of the errors of the Priscillianists. Leo at the same time ordered that a council of bishops belonging to the neighbouring provinces should be convened to institute a rigid enquiry, with the object of determining whether any of the bishops had become tainted with the poison of this heresy. Should any such be discovered, they were to be excommunicated without hesitation. The pope also addressed a similar letter to the bishops of the Spanish provinces, notifying them that a universal synod of all the chief pastors was to be summoned; if this should be found to be impossible, the bishops of Galicia at least should be assembled. These two synods were in fact held in Spain to deal with the points at issue (Hefele, "Konziliengesch." II, 2nd ed., pp. 306 sqq.).
The greatly disorganized ecclesiastical condition of certain countries, resulting from national migrations, demanded closer bonds between their episcopate and Rome for the better promotion of ecclesiastical life. Leo, with this object in view, determined to make use of the papal vicariate of the bishops of Arles for the province of Gaul for the creation of a centre for the Gallican episcopate in immediate union with Rome. In the beginning his efforts were greatly hampered by his conflict with St. Hilary, then Bishop of Arles. Even earlier, conflicts had arisen relative to the vicariate of the bishops of Arles and its privileges. Hilary made excessive use of his authority over other ecclesiastical provinces, and claimed that all bishops should be consecrated by him, instead of by their own metropolitan. When, for example, the complaint was raised that Bishop Celidonius of Besançon had been consecrated in violation of the canons—the grounds alleged being that he had, as a layman, married a widow, and, as a public officer, had given his consent to a death sentence—Hilary deposed him, and consecrated Importunus as his successor. Celidonius thereupon appealed to the pope and set out in person for Rome. About the same time Hilary, as if the see concerned had been vacant, consecrated another bishop to take the place of a certain Bishop Projectus, who was ill. Projectus recovered, however, and he too laid a complaint at Rome about the action of the Bishop of Arles. Hilary then went himself to Rome to justify his proceedings. The pope assembled a Roman synod (about 445) and, when the complaints brought against Celidonius could not be verified, reinstated the latter in his see. Projectus also received his bishopric again. Hilary returned to Arles before the synod was over; the pope deprived him of jurisdiction over the other Gallic provinces and of metropolitan rights over the province of Vienne, only allowing him to retain his Diocese of Arles.
These decisions were disclosed by Leo in a letter to the bishops of the Province of Vienne (ep. x). At the same time he sent them an edict of Valentinian III of 8 July, 445, in which the pope's measures in regard to St. Hilary were supported, and the primacy of the Bishop of Rome over the whole Church solemnly recognized "Epist. Leonis," ed. Ballerini, I, 642). On his return to his bishopric Hilary sought a reconciliation with the pope. After this there arose no further difficulties between these two saintly men and, after his death in 449, Hilary was declared by Leo as "beatæ memoriæ". To Bishop Ravennius, St. Hilary's successor in the see of Arles, and the bishops of that province, Leo addressed most cordial letters in 449 on the election of the new metropolitan (epp. xl, xli). When Ravennius consecrated a little later a new bishop to take the place of the deceased Bishop of Vaison, the Archbishop of Vienne, who was then in Rome, took exception to this action. The bishops of the province of Arles then wrote a joint letter to the pope, in which they begged him to restore to Ravennius the rights of which his predecessor Hilary had been deprived (ep. lxv inter ep. Leonis). In his reply dated 5 May, 450 (ep. lxvi), Leo acceded to their request. The Archbishop of Vienne was to retain only the suffragan Bishoprics of Valence, Tarentaise, Geneva, and Grenoble; all the other sees in the Province of Vienne were made subject to the Archbishop of Arles, who also became again the mediator between the Holy See and the whole Gallic episcopate. Leo transmitted to Ravennius (ep. lxvii), for communication to the other Gallican bishops, his celebrated letter to Flavian of Constantinople on the Incarnation. Ravennius thereupon convened a synod, at which forty-four chief pastors assembled. In their synodal letter of 451, they affirm that they accept the pope's letter as a symbol of faith (ep. xxix inter ep. Leonis). In his answer Leo speaks further of the condemnation of Nestorius (ep. cii). The Vicariate of Arles for a long time retained the position Leo had accorded it. Another papal vicariate was that of the bishops of Thessalonica, whose jurisdiction extended over Illyria. The special duty of this vicariate was to protect the rights of the Holy See over the district of Eastern Illyria, which belonged to the Eastern Empire. Leo bestowed the vicariate upon Bishop Anastasius of Thessalonica, just as Pope Siricius had formerly entrusted it to Bishop Anysius. The vicar was to consecrate the metropolitans, to assemble in a synod all bishops of the Province of Eastern Illyria, to oversee their administration of their office; but the most important matters were to be submitted to Rome (epp. v, vi, xiii). But Anastasius of Thessalonica used his authority in an arbitrary and despotic manner, so much so that he was severely reproved by Leo, who sent him fuller directions for the exercise of his office (ep. xiv).
In Leo's conception of his duties as supreme pastor, the maintenance of strict ecclesiastical discipline occupied a prominent place. This was particularly important at a time when the continual ravages of the barbarians were introducing disorder into all conditions of life, and the rules of morality were being seriously violated. Leo used his utmost energy in maintining this discipline, insisted on the exact observance of the ecclesiastical precepts, and did not hesitate to rebuke when necessary. Letters (ep. xvii) relative to these and other matters were sent to the different bishops of the Western Empire—e.g., to the bishops of the Italian provinces (epp. iv, xix, clxvi, clxviii), and to those of Sicily, who had tolerated deviations from the Roman Liturgy in the administration of Baptism (ep. xvi), and concerning other matters (ep. xvii). A very important disciplinary decree was sent to bishop Rusticus of Narbonne (ep. clxvii). Owing to the dominion of the Vandals in Latin North Africa, the position of the Church there had become extremely gloomy. Leo sent the Roman priest Potentius thither to inform himself about the exact condition, and to forward a report to Rome. On receiving this Leo sent a letter of detailed instructions to the episcopate of the province about the adjustment of numerous ecclesiastical and disciplinary questions (ep. xii). Leo also sent a letter to Dioscurus of Alexandria on 21 July, 445, urging him to the strict observance of the canons and discipline of the Roman Church (ep. ix). The primacy of the Roman Church was thus manifested under this pope in the most various and distinct ways. But it was especially in his interposition in the confusion of the Christological quarrels, which then so profoundly agitated Eastern Christendom, that Leo most brilliantly revealed himself the wise, learned, and energetic shepherd of the Church (see MONOPHYSITISM). From his first letter on this subject, written to Eutyches on 1 June, 448 (ep. xx), to his last letter written to the new orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, Timotheus Salophaciolus, on 18 August, 460 (ep. clxxi), we cannot but admire the clear, positive, and systematic manner in which Leo, fortified by the primacy of the Holy See, took part in this difficult entanglement.
Eutyches appealed to the pope after he had been excommunicated by Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, on account of his Monophysite views. The pope, after investigating the disputed question, sent his sublime dogmatic letter to Flavian (ep. xxviii), concisely setting forth and confirming the doctrine of the Incarnation, and the union of the Divine and human natures in the one Person of Christ . In 449 the council, which was designated by Leo as the "Robber Synod", was held. Flavian and other powerful prelates of the East appealed to the pope. The latter sent urgent letters to Constantinople, particularly to Emperor Theodosius II and Empress Pulcheria, urging them to convene a general council in order to restore peace to the Church. To the same end he used his influence with the Western emperor, Valentinian III, and his mother Galla Placidia, especially during their visit to Rome in 450. This general council was held in Chalcedon in 451 under Marcian, the successor of Theodosius. It solemnly accepted Leo's dogmatical epistle to Flavian as an expression of the Catholic Faith concerning the Person of Christ. The pope confirmed the decrees of the Council after eliminating the canon, which elevated the Patriarchate of Constantinople, while diminishing the rights of the ancient Oriental patriarchs. On 21 March, 453, Leo issued a circular letter confirming his dogmatic definition (ep. cxiv). Through the mediation of Bishop Julian of Cos, who was at that time the papal ambassador in Constantinople, the pope tried to protect further ecclesiastical interest. in the Orient. He persuaded the new Emperor of Constantinople, Leo I, to remove the heretical and irregular patriarch, Timotheus Ailurus, from the See of Alexandria. A new and orthodox patriarch, Timotheus Salophaciolus, was chosen to fill his place, and received the congratulations of the pope in the last letter which Leo ever sent to the Orient.
In his far-reaching pastoral care of the Universal Church, in the West and in the East, the pope never neglected the domestic interests of the Church at Rome. When Northern Italy had been devastated by Attila, Leo by a personal encounter with the King of the Huns prevented him from marching upon Rome. At the emperor's wish, Leo, accompanied by the Consul Avienus and the Prefect Trigetius, went in 452 to Upper Italy, and met Attila at Mincio in the vicinity of Mantua, obtaining from him the promise that he would withdraw from Italy and negotiate peace with the emperor. The pope also succeeded in obtaining another great favour for the inhabitants of Rome. When in 455 the city was captured by the Vandals under Genseric, although for a fortnight the town had been plundered, Leo's intercession obtained a promise that the city should not be injured and that the lives of the inhabitants should be spared. These incidents show the highmoral authority enjoyed by the pope, manifested even in temporal affairs. Leo was always on terms of intimacy with the Western Imperial Court. In 450 Emperor Valentinian III visited Rome, accompanied by his wife Eudoxia and his mother Galla Placidia. On the feast of Cathedra Petri (22 February), the Imperial family with their brilliant retinue took part in the solemn services at St. Peter's, upon which occasion the pope delivered an impressive sermon. Leo was also active in building and restoring churches. He built a basilica over the grave of Pope Cornelius in the Via Appia. The roof of St. Paul's without the Walls having been destroyed by lightning, he had it replaced, and undertook other improvements in the basilica. He persuaded Empress Galla Placidia, as seen from the inscription, to have executed the great mosaic of the Arch of Triumph, which has survived to our day. Leo also restored St. Peter's on the Vatican. During his pontificate a pious Roman lady, named Demetria, erected on her property on the Via Appia a basilica in honour of St. Stephen, the ruins of which have been excavated.
Leo was no less active in the spiritual elevation of the Roman congregations, and his sermons, of which ninety-six genuine examples have been preserved, are remarkable for their profundity, clearness of diction, and elevated style. The first five of these, which were delivered on the anniversaries of his consecration, manifest his lofty conception of the dignity of his office, as well as his thorough conviction of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, shown forth in so outspoken and decisive a manner by his whole activity as supreme pastor. Of his letters, which are of great importance for church history, 143 have come down to us: we also possess thirty which were sent to him. The so-called "Sacramentarium Leonianum" is a collection of orations and prefaces of the Mass, prepared in the second half of the sixth century. Leo died on 10 November, 461, and was buried in the vestibule of St. Peter's on the Vatican. In 688 Pope Sergius had his remains transferred to the basilica itself, and a special altar erected over them. They rest today in St. Peter's, beneath the altar specially dedicated to St. Leo. In 1754 Benedict XIV exalted him to the dignity of Doctor of the Church (doctor ecclesiæ). In the Latin Church the feast day of the great pope is held on 11 April, and in the Eastern Church on 18 February.
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#BreakingNews Donald Trumps Wins Presidency of USA - #ProLife Favorite - Bishops and Vatican Congratulate


Donald Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States. He was the favorite of many Catholic and Evangelical Pro-Lifers. 
 Edison Research  showed Catholics voted for Trump by a 52-45% margin, and Protestant or other Christian religions voted 58-39 for Trump.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference,  post-election statement congratulated Trump:“The bishops’ conference looks forward to working with President-elect Trump to protect human life from its most vulnerable beginning to its natural end. We will advocate for policies that offer opportunity to all people, of all faiths, in all walks of life,” Archbishop Kurtz said.
“We are firm in our resolve that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security. We will call attention to the violent persecution threatening our fellow Christians and people of other faiths around the world, especially in the Middle East. And we will look for the new administration’s commitment to domestic religious liberty, ensuring people of faith remain free to proclaim and shape our lives around the truth about man and woman, and the unique bond of marriage that they can form.”
Archbishop Kurtz added, “Now is the moment to move toward the responsibility of governing for the common good of all citizens. I believe God will give us the strength to heal and unite,” he said,
VATICAN Message to Trump:
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Wednesday said he hoped the newly elected American president, Donald Trump, would be guided by God to serve his country but also to promote peace and wellbeing in the world.
Talking to journalists on the sidelines of a conference at Rome’s Lateran University, the cardinal said he respected the will of the American people as expressed in this exercise of democracy. “We send our congratulations to the new president”, he continued, in the hope that “his government may bear real fruit”.
Cardinal Parolin said it would be premature to comment on specific issues such as immigration, noting that the views of presidential candidates often differ from their policies once they become president and adding that Trump had already spoken “in leadership style”.
He said Trump can be “assured of our prayers that the Lord may enlighten and support him” in the service of his country, but also in the service of peace and wellbeing in the world. Cardinal Parolin concluded by saying he believes there is a need for everyone to work to change the situation in the world today, which is one of “grave wounds, of serious conflicts”.

#PopeFrancis "... let us become instruments of God’s mercy and this will do us more good..." FULL TEXT at Audience + Video


Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Jesus’ life, especially in the three years of His public ministry, was an incessant encounter with individuals. Among these, the sick had a special place. How many pages of the Gospel talk about these encounters! The paralytic, the blind, the leper, the possessed, the epileptic, and innumerable sick of all sorts … Jesus made Himself close to each one of them, and He healed them with His presence and the power of His healing strength. Therefore, among the works of mercy, to visit and assist the sick cannot be lacking.
Together with this, we can insert also that of being close to individuals that are in prison. In fact, the sick and the imprisoned live a condition that limits their freedom. It is in fact when the latter is lacking that we realize how precious it is! Jesus has given us the possibility to be free despite the limitations of sickness and of restrictions. He offers us the freedom that comes from our encounter with Him and from the new sense that this encounter leads to our personal condition.
With these works of mercy, the Lord invites us to a gesture of great humanity: sharing. We remember this word: sharing. One who is sick often feels alone. We cannot hide that, especially in our days, precisely in sickness, one has a more profound experience of the solitude that runs through a great part of life. A visit can make the sick person feel less alone and a little company is an optimum medicine! A smile, a caress, a handshake are simple gestures, but so important for one who feels abandoned to himself. How many persons dedicate themselves to visiting the sick in hospitals and in their homes! It is a priceless work of volunteers. When it is done in the Lord’s name, then it also becomes an eloquent and effective expression of mercy. Let us not leave the sick alone! Let us not impede them from finding relief, and us from being enriched by our closeness to those who suffer. Hospitals are real “cathedrals of pain,” where, however, the strength of charity, which sustains and feels compassion, is rendered evident.
In the same line, I think of all those locked in prisons. Jesus did not forget them either. By putting a visit to the imprisoned among the works of mercy, He wished to invite us, first of all, not to be judges of anyone. Of course, if one is in prison it is because he has erred, has not respected the law and civil coexistence. Therefore, he is being punished accordingly, by being in prison. But, whatever an imprisoned person might have done, he remains, nevertheless, always loved by God. Who can enter the depth of his conscience to understand what he feels? Who can understand the pain and the remorse? It is very easy to wash one’s hands affirming that he erred. Instead, a Christian is called to take charge of him, so that the one who erred understands the evil he did and returns to himself. The lack of freedom is without a doubt one of the greatest privations for the human being. If to this is added the degradation given the conditions often deprived of humanity, in which these individuals find themselves living, then it is truly the case in which a Christian feels stirred to do his utmost to restore to them their dignity.
To visit persons in prison is a work of mercy that, especially today, assumes a particular value because of the different forms of [justicialism] to which we are subjected. Therefore, no one must point the finger at another. Instead, we must all render ourselves instruments of mercy, with attitudes of sharing and of respect. I wonder what led them to commit a crime and how were they able to yield to the different forms of evil. Yet, together with these thoughts I feel they are all in need of closeness and tenderness, so that God’s mercy will work wonders. How many tears I have seen fall down the cheeks of prisoners, who perhaps had never cried in their life; and this only because they felt received and loved.
And let us not forget that Jesus and the Apostles also experienced imprisonment. In the accounts of the Passion we learn about the sufferings the Lord was subjected to: seized, dragged as an evildoer, derided, scourged, crowned with thorns … He, the only Innocent One! And Saint Peter and Saint Paul were also in prison (cf. Acts 12:5; Philippians 1:12-17). Last Sunday, which was the Jubilee of the Imprisoned – in the afternoon, a group of prisoners of Padua came to see me. I asked them what they would do the day after, before returning to Padua. They said to me: “We will go to the Mamertine Prison to share Saint Paul’s experience.” It was lovely to hear this; it did me good. These prisoners wanted to meet Paul, the prisoner. It was a lovely thing, and it did me good. And there also, in the prison, they prayed and evangelized. Moving is the page in the Acts of the Apostles that recounts Paul’s imprisonment: he felt alone and wanted one of his friends to visit him (cf. 2 Timothy 4:9-15). He felt alone because the great majority left him alone … the great Paul.
These works of mercy, as you see, are ancient and yet always timely. Jesus left what He was doing to go to visit Peter’s mother-in-law; an ancient work of mercy. Jesus did it. Let us not fall into indifference, but let us become instruments of God’s mercy and this will do us more good than the others because mercy passes through a gesture, a word, a visit and this mercy is an act to restore joy and dignity to one who has lost it.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]
In Italian
Dear Italian-speaking pilgrims: welcome! I greet the Fathers of the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata, who are celebrating the bicentenary of their foundation, and the Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena. I greet the Caritas Group from Livorno; the youngsters affected by the Rett Syndrome; the students, in particular those of the Severi-Guerrisi Institute, accompanied by the Bishop of Oppido Mamertina-Palmi, Monsignor Francesco Milito, and the military men of the “Reoas” Third Regiment of Viterbo. May the crossing of the Holy Door remind each one that only through Christ is it possible to enter in the love and mercy of the Father, who receives and forgives all.
A particular greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Cathedral of Rome. Pray for the Successor of the Apostle Peter, dear young people, so that he always confirms brothers in the faith; feel the Pope’s closeness in prayer, dear sick, to face the trial of sickness; teach the faith to your children with simplicity, dear newlyweds, nourishing it with love for the Church and for Her pastors.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. November 9, 2016


Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Lectionary: 671


Reading 1EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!

Reading 21 COR 3:9C-11, 16-17

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Alleluia2 CHR 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord,
that my name may be there forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 2:13-22

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

Saint November 9 : Saint John Lateran : Dedication of the Basilica


Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Feast: November 9
Information:
Feast Day:
November 9

This is the oldest, and ranks first among the four great "patriarchal" basilicas of Rome. The site was, in ancient times, occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani. A member of this family, P. Sextius Lateranus, was the first plebian to attain the rank of consul. In the time of Nero, another member of the family, Plautius Lateranus, at the time consul designatus was accused of conspiracy against the emperor, and his goods were confiscated. Juvenal mentions the palace, and speaks of it as being of some magnificence, "regiæ ædes Lateranorum". Some few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large hall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the eighteenth century within the basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was then discovered of real value or importance. The palace came eventually into the hands of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, through his wife Fausta, and it is from her that it derived the name by which it was then sometimes called, "Domus Faustæ". Constantine must have given it to the Church in the time of Miltiades, not later than about 311, for we find a council against the Donatists meeting within its walls as early as 313. From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome. The latter distinction it still holds, though it has long lost the former. Hence the proud title which may be read upon its walls, that it is "Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput".
It seems probable, in spite of the tradition that Constantine helped in the work of building with his own hands, that there was not a new basilica erected at the Lateran, but that the work carried out at this period was limited to the adaptation, which perhaps involved the enlargement, of the already existing basilica or great hall of the palace. The words of St. Jerome "basilica quondam Laterani" (Ep. lxxiii, P.L., XXII, col. 692) seem to point in this direction, and it is also probable on other grounds. This original church was probably not of very large dimensions, but we have no reliable information on the subject. It was dedicated to the Saviour, "Basilica Salvatoris", the dedication to St. John being of later date, and due to a Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist which adjoined the basilica and where members were charged at one period with the duty of maintaining the services in the church. This later dedication to St. John has now in popular usage altogether superseded the original one. A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the basilica are recorded in the "Liber Pontificalis", and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or Golden Church. This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. St. Leo the Great restored it about 460, and it was again restored by Hadrian I, but in 896 it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake ("ab altari usque ad portas cecidit"). The damage was so extensive that it was difficult to trace in every case the lines of the old building, but these were in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This secondchurch lasted for four hundred years and was then burnt down. It was rebuilt by Clement V and John XXII, only to be burnt down once more in 1360, but again rebuilt by Urban V.
Through these various vicissitudes the basilica retained its ancient form, being divided by rows of columns into aisles, and having in front an atrium surrounded by colonnades with a fountain in the middle. The façade had three windows, and was embellished with a mosaic representing Christ as the Saviour of the world. The porticoes of the atrium were decorated with frescoes, probably not dating further back than the twelfth century, which commemorated the Roman fleet under Vespasian, the taking of Jerusalem, the Baptism of the Emperor Constantine and his "Donation" to the Church. Inside the basilica the columns no doubt ran, as in all other basilicas of the same date, the whole length of the church from east to west, but at one of the rebuildings, probably that which was carried out by Clement V, the feature of a transverse nave was introduced, imitated no doubt from the one which had been, long before this, added at S. Paolo fuori le Mura. It was probably at this time also that the church was enlarged. When the popes returned to Rome from their long absence at Avignon they found the city deserted and the churches almost in ruins. Great works were begun at the Lateran by Martin V and his successors. The palace, however, was never again used by them as a residence, the Vatican, which stands in a much drier and healthier position, being chosen in its place. It was not until the latter part of the seventeenth century that thechurch took its present appearance, in the tasteless restoration carried out by Innocent X, with Borromini for his architect. The ancient columns were now enclosed in huge pilasters, with gigantic statues in front. In consequence of this the church has entirely lost the appearance of an ancient basilica, and is completely altered in character.
Some portions of the older buildings still survive. Among these we may notice the pavement of medieval Cosmatesque work, and the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, now in the cloisters. The graceful baldacchino over the high altar, which looks so utterly out of place in its present surroundings, dates from 1369. The stercoraria, or throne of red marble on which the popes sat, is now in the Vatican Museum. It owes its unsavoury name to the anthem sung at the ceremony of the papal enthronization, "De stercore erigeus pauperem". From the fifth century there were seven oratories surrounding the basilica. These before long were thrown into the actual church. The devotion of visiting these oratories, which held its ground all through the medieval period, gave rise to the similar devotion of the seven altars, still common in many churches of Rome and elsewhere. Between the basilica and the city wall there was in former times the great monastery, in which dwelt the community of monks whose duty it was to provide the services in the basilica. The only part of it which still survives is the cloister, surrounded by graceful columns of inlaid marble. They are of a style intermediate between the Romanesque proper and the Gothic, and are the work of Vassellectus and the Cosmati. The date of these beautiful cloisters is the early part of the thirteenth century.
The ancient apse, with mosaics of the fourth century, survived all the many changes and dangers of the Middle Ages, and was still to be seen very much in its original condition as late as 1878, when it was destroyed in order to provide a larger space for the ordinations and other pontifical functions which take place in this cathedral church of Rome. The original mosaics were, however, preserved with the greatest possible care and very great success, and were re-erected at the end of the new and deeper apse which had been provided. In these mosaics, as they now appear, the centre of the upper portion is occupied by the figure of Christ surrounded by nine angels. This figure is extremely ancient, and dates from the fifth, or it may be even the fourth century. It is possible even that it is the identical one which, as is told in ancienttradition, was manifested to the eyes of the worshippers on the occasion of the dedication of the church: "Imago Salvatoris infixa parietibus primum visibilis omni populo Romano apparuit" (Joan. Diac., "Lib. de Ecclesia Lat.", P.L. CXCIV, 1543-1560). If it is so, however, it has certainly been retouched. Below is seen the crux gammata, surmounted by a dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and standing on a hill whence flow the four rivers of the Gospels, from whose waters stags and sheep come to drink. On either side are saints, looking towards the Cross. These last are thought to belong originally to the sixth century, though they were repaired and altered in the thirteenth by Nicholas IV, whose effigy may be seen prostrate at the feet of the Blessed Virgin. The river which runs below is more ancient still, and may be regarded as going back to Constantine and the first days of the basilica. The remaining mosaics of the apse are of the thirteenth century, and the signatures of the artists, Torriti and Camerino, may still be read upon them. Camerino was a Franciscan friar; perhaps Torriti was one also.
The pavement of the basilica dates from Martin V and the return of the popes to Rome from Avignon. Martin V was of the Colonna family, and the columns are their badge. The high altar, which formerly occupied the position customary in all ancient basilicas, in the centre of the chord of the apse, has now beyond it, owing to the successive enlargements of the church, the whole of the transverse nave and of the new choir. It has no saint buried beneath it, since it was not, as were almost all the other great churches of Rome, erected over the tomb of a martyr. It stands alone among all the altars of the Catholic world in being of wood and not of stone, and enclosing no relics of any kind. The reason for this peculiarity is that it is itself a relic of a most interesting kind, being the actual wooden altar upon which St. Peter is believed to have celebrated Mass during his residence in Rome. It was carefully preserved through all the years of persecution, and was brought by Constantine and Sylvester from St. Pudentiana's, where it had been kept till then, to become the principal altar of the cathedral church of Rome. It is now, of course, enclosed in a larger altar of stone and cased with marble, but the original wood can still be seen. A small portion was left at St. Pudentiana's in memory of its long connection with that church, and is still preserved there. Above the High Altar is the canopy or baldacchino already mentioned, a Gothic structure resting on four marble columns, and decorated with paintings by Barna of Siena. In the upper part of the baldacchino are preserved the heads of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the great treasure of the basilica, which until this shrine was prepared to receive them had always been kept in the "Sancta Sanctorum", the private chapel of the Lateran Palace adjoining. Behind the apse there formerly extended the "Leonine" portico; it is not known which pontiff gave it this name. At the entrance there was an inscription commemorating the dream of Innocent III, when he saw the church of the Lateran upheld by St. Francis of Assisi. On the opposite wall was hung the tabula magna, or catalogue of all the relics of the basilica, and also of the different chapels and the indulgences attached to them respectively. It is now in the archives of the basilica.
SOURCE Catholic Encyclopedia 
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