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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Catholic News World : Saturday February 11, 2017 - SHARE

2017


#PopeFrancis "I pray that all may be ever joyous signs of the presence of God’s love..." World Day of #Sick - FULL TEXT + Video


25th World Day of the Sick is 11 February 2017, the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The Day of the Sick was instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in 1992.
Please find below the text of Pope Francis’ message:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On 11 February next, the Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick will be celebrated throughout the Church and in a special way at Lourdes.  The theme of this year’s celebration is “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me….’” (Lk 1:49).  Instituted by my predecessor Saint John Paul II in 1992, and first celebrated at Lourdes on 11 February 1993, this Day is an opportunity to reflect in particular on the needs of the sick and, more generally, of all those who suffer.  It is also an occasion for those who generously assist the sick, beginning with family members, health workers and volunteers, to give thanks for their God-given vocation of accompanying our infirm brothers and sisters.  This celebration likewise gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast and the marginalized (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Motu Proprio Dolentium Hominum, 11 February 1985, 1).  Surely, the moments of prayer, the Eucharistic liturgies and the celebrations of the Anointing of the Sick, the sharing with the sick and the bioethical and theological-pastoral workshops to be held in Lourdes in those days will make new and significant contributions to that service.
Even now, I am spiritually present at the grotto of Massabielle, before the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, in whom the Almighty has done great things for the redemption of mankind.  I express my closeness to all of you, our suffering brothers and sisters, and to your families, as well as my appreciation for all those in different roles of service and in healthcare institutions throughout the world who work with professionalism, responsibility and dedication for your care, treatment and daily well-being.   I encourage all of you, the sick, the suffering, physicians, nurses, family members and volunteers, to see in Mary, Health of the Infirm, the sure sign of God’s love for every human being and a model of surrender to his will.  May you always find in faith, nourished by the Word and by the Sacraments, the strength needed to love God, even in the experience of illness.
Like Saint Bernadette, we stand beneath the watchful gaze of Mary.  The humble maiden of Lourdes tells us that the Virgin, whom she called “the Lovely Lady”, looked at her as one person looks at another.  Those simple words describe the fullness of a relationship.  Bernadette, poor, illiterate and ill, felt that Mary was looking at her as a person.  The Lovely Lady spoke to her with great respect and without condescension.  This reminds us that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such.  The sick and the those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life.  They never become simply objects.  If at times they appear merely passive, in reality that is never the case.
After her visit to the Grotto, thanks to her prayer, Bernadette turned her frailty into support for others.  Thanks to her love, she was able to enrich her neighbours and, above all, to offer her life for the salvation of humanity.  The fact that the Lovely Lady asked her to pray for sinners reminds us that the infirm and the suffering desire not only to be healed, but also to live a truly Christian life, even to the point of offering it as authentic missionary disciples of Christ.  Mary gave Bernadette the vocation of serving the sick and called her to become a Sister of Charity, a mission that she carried out in so exemplary a way as to become a model for every healthcare worker.  Let us ask Mary Immaculate for the grace always to relate to the sick as persons who certainly need assistance, at times even for the simplest of things, but who have a gift of their own to share with others.
The gaze of Mary, Comfort of the Afflicted, brightens the face of the Church in her daily commitment to the suffering and those in need.  The precious fruits of this solicitude for the world of suffering and sickness are a reason for gratitude to the Lord Jesus, who out of obedience to the will of the Father became one of us, even enduring death on the cross for the redemption of humanity.  The solidarity shown by Christ, the Son of God born of Mary, is the expression of God’s merciful omnipotence, which is made manifest in our life – above all when that life is frail, pain-filled, humbled, marginalized and suffering – and fills it with the power of hope that can sustain us and enable us to get up again.
This great wealth of humanity and faith must not be dissipated.  Instead, it should inspire us to speak openly of our human weaknesses and to address the challenges of present-day healthcare and technology.  On this World Day of the Sick, may we find new incentive to work for the growth of a culture of respect for life, health and the environment.  May this Day also inspire renewed efforts to defend the integrity and dignity of persons, not least through a correct approach to bioethical issues, the protection of the vulnerable and the protection of the environment.
On this Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick, I once more offer my prayerful support and encouragement to physicians, nurses, volunteers and all those consecrated men and women committed to serving the sick and those in need.  I also embrace the ecclesial and civil institutions working to this end, and the families who take loving care of their sick.  I pray that all may be ever joyous signs of the presence of God’s love and imitate the luminous testimony of so many friends of God, including Saint John of God and Saint Camillus de’ Lellis, the patrons of hospitals and healthcare workers, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of God’s love.
Dear brothers and sisters – the sick, healthcare workers and volunteers – I ask you to join me in praying to Mary.  May her maternal intercession sustain and accompany our faith, and obtain for us from Christ her Son hope along our journey of healing and of health, a sense of fraternity and responsibility, a commitment to integral human development and the joy of feeling gratitude whenever God amazes us by his fidelity and his mercy.
Mary, our Mother,
in Christ you welcome each of us as a son or daughter.
Sustain the trusting expectation of our hearts,
succour us in our infirmities and sufferings,
and guide us to Christ, your Son and our brother.
Help us to entrust ourselves to the Father who accomplishes great things.
With the assurance of a constant remembrance in my prayers, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.
8 December 2016, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception



Novena to Our Lady of #Lourdes and #Litany #Prayers - SHARE

NOVENA
Preliminary Prayer to be said each day
   Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest your shining with life, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child, St. Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception." A thousand times we congratulate you upon your Immaculate Conception. And now, O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, you know our wants, our troubles, our sufferings; deign to cast upon us a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors, and already many have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and physical. We come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain for us, O loving Mother, the granting of our request. (mention your request) Through gratitude for your favors, we will endeavor to imitate your virtues, that we may one day share your glory.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine son while upon earth. You have the same influence now in Heaven. Pray for us; obtain for us from your Divine Son our special requests if it be the Divine Will. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us. 
DAY ONE   O Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, virgin and mother, queen of heaven, chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Eternal Word and in virtue of this title preserved from original sin, we kneel before you as did little Bernadette at Lourdes and pray with childlike trust in you that as we contemplate your glorious appearance at Lourdes, you will look with mercy on our present petition and secure for us a favorable answer to the request for which we are making this novena. (mention your request)
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

DAY TWO   Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest yourself shining with light, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child Saint Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception!" O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with one ray of the burning love of your pure heart. Let them be consumed with love for Jesus and for you, in order that we may merit one day to enjoy your glorious eternity. O dispenser of His graces here below, take into your keeping and present to your Divine Son the petition for which we are making this novena. (mention your request)
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

DAY THREE   "You are all fair, O Mary, and there is in you no stain of original sin." O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. O brilliant star of sanctity, as on that lovely day, upon a rough rock in Lourdes you spoke to the child Bernadette and a fountain broke from thee plain earth and miracles happened and the great shrine of Lourdes began, so now I beseech you to hear our fervent prayer and do, we beseech you, grant us the petition we now so earnestly seek. (mention your request)
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

DAY FOUR
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
   O Immaculate Queen of Heaven, we your wayward, erring children, join our unworthy prayers of praise and thanksgiving to those of the angels and saints and your own the One, Holy, and Undivided Trinity may be glorified in heaven and on earth. Our Lady of Lourdes, as you looked down with love and mercy upon Bernadette as she prayed her rosary in the grotto, look down now, we beseech you, with love and mercy upon us. From the abundance of graces granted you by your Divine Son, sweet Mother of God, give to each of us all that your motherly heart sees we need and at this moment look with special favor on the grace we seek in this novena. (mention your request)
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

DAY FIVE   O Mary Immaculate, Mother of God and our mother, from the heights of your dignity look down mercifully upon us while we, full of confidence in your unbounded goodness and confident that your Divine Son will look favorably upon any request you make of Him in our behalf, we beseech you to come to our aid and secure for us the favor we seek in this novena. (mention your request)
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

DAY SIX   O glorious Mother of God, so powerful under your special title of Our Lady of Lourdes, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign Heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare and for the special favor we so earnestly seek in this novena. (mention your request)
   O Lady of Bernadette, with the stars of heaven in your hair and the roses of earth at your feet, look with compassion upon us today as you did so long ago on Bernadette in the Grotto of Lourdes.
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us. 

DAY SEVEN   O Almighty God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary did prepare a worthy dwelling place for your Son, we humbly beseech you that as we contemplate the apparition of Our Lady in the Grotto of Lourdes, we may be blessed with health of mind and body. And, O most gracious Mother Mary, beloved Mother of Our Lord and Redeemer, look with favor upon us as you did that day on Bernadette and intercede with Him for us that the favor we now so earnestly seek may be granted to us. (mention your request)
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

DAY EIGHT   O Immaculate Mother of God, from heaven itself you came to appear to the little Bernadette in the rough Grotto of Lourdes! And as Bernadette knelt at your feet and the magic spring burst forth and as multitudes have knelt ever since before your shrine, O Mother of God, we kneel before you today to ask that in your mercy you plead with your Divine Son to grant the special favor we seek in this novena. (mention your request)
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

DAY NINE
Feast Day: Our Lady of Lourdes
(First apparition to St. Bernadette)
   O glorious Mother of god, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly for the grace of a happy death. O Mother of our Divine Lord, as we conclude this novena for the special favor we seek at this time. (mention your request) We feel animated with confidence that your prayers in our behalf will be graciously heard. O Mother of My Lord, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His Name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.
   O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
   Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
   Saint Bernadette, pray for us.
LITANY OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.


Exalted model of all mothers,
Pray for us.*
Mother who didst suffer so much,*
Mother poor and without shelter,*
Mother who didst bear along forgotten roads the fruit of thy womb,*
Who didst find no other shelter for thy Son and thy God than a wild cave, and no other cradle than a manger,*
Who didst declare: "I am the Immaculate Conception,*
Who didst appear to an humble peasant girl in order to teach us humility,*
Who wast clad in a white robe to remind us of purity,*
Who didst wear a girdle of blue to remind us of Heaven,*
Who didst tread on a rose bush to remind us of the sufferings we must endure in order to merit Heaven,*
Who didst carry the Rosary to induce us to pray,*
Who hadst thy hands joined and thy eyes raised to Heaven to draw us to penance,*
Who art the Star of Hope,*
Who dost pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for us,*
Who dost give strength to the clergy,*
Who dost heal the sick,*
Who art the health of the weak,*
Refuge of sinners,*
Comforter of the afflicted,*


Our Lady of Lourdes, conceived without sin:
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.


Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare its, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.


Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us,


V. Pray for us, Our Lady of Lourdes, Holy Mother of God:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin didst prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son: we humbly beseech Thee, that we who celebrate the feast of the Apparition of the same holy Virgin, may obtain health both of soul and body. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday February 11, 2017 - #Eucharist


Saturday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 334


Reading 1GN 3:9-24

The LORD God called to Adam and asked him, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself."
Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"
The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with meB
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it."
The LORD God then asked the woman,
"Why did you do such a thing?"
The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:

"Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."

To the woman he said:

"I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing;
in pain shall you bring forth children.
Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
and he shall be your master."

To the man he said: "Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,

"Cursed be the ground because of you!
In toil shall you eat its yield
all the days of your life.
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you,
as you eat of the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
shall you get bread to eat,
Until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
For you are dirt,
and to dirt you shall return."
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

For the man and his wife the LORD God made leather garments,
with which he clothed them.
Then the LORD God said: "See! The man has become like one of us,
knowing what is good and what is evil!
Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand
to take fruit from the tree of life also,
and thus eat of it and live forever."
The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from which he had been taken.
When he expelled the man,
he settled him east of the garden of Eden;
and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword,
to guard the way to the tree of life.

Responsorial PsalmPS 90:2, 3-4ABC, 5-6, 12-13

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, "Return, O children of men."
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

AlleluiaMT 4:4B

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

GospelMK 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
"My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance."
His disciples answered him, "Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?"
Still he asked them, "How many loaves do you have?"
They replied, "Seven."
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

Saint February 11 : Our Lady of Lourdes - #Lourdes


The pilgrimage of Lourdes is founded on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to a poor, fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux. The first apparition occurred 11 February, 1858. There were eighteen in all; the last took place 16 July, of the same year. Bernadette often fell into an ecstasy. The mysterious vision she saw in the hollow of the rock Massabielle was that of a young and beautiful lady. "Lovelier than I have ever seen" said the child. But the girl was the only one who saw the vision, although sometimes many stood there with her. Now and then the apparition spoke to the seer who also was the only one who heard the voice. Thus, she one day told her to drink of a mysterious fountain, in the grotto itself, the existence of which was unknown, and of which there was no sign, but which immediately gushed forth. On another occasion the apparition bade Bernadette go and tell the priests she wished a chapel to be built on the spot and processions to be made to the grotto. At first the clergy were incredulous. It was only four years later, in 1862, that the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful "justified in believing the reality of the apparition". A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle by M. Peyramale, the parish priest. In 1873 the great "national" French pilgrimages were inaugurated. Three years later the basilica was consecrated and the statue solemnly crowned. In 1883 the foundation stone of another church was laid, as the first was no longer large enough. It was built at the foot of the basilica and was consecrated in 1901 and called the Church of the Rosary. Pope Leo XIII authorized a special office and a Mass, in commemoration of the apparition, and in 1907 Pius X extended the observance of this feast to the entire Church; it is now observed on 11 February.
Never has a sanctuary attracted such throngs. At the end of the year 1908, when the fiftieth anniversary of the apparition was celebrated, although the record really only began from 1867, 5297 pilgrimages had been registered and these had brought 4,919,000 pilgrims. Individual pilgrims are more numerous by far than those who come in groups. To their number must be added the visitors who do not come as pilgrims, but who are attracted by a religious feeling or sometimes merely by the desire to see this far-famed spot. The Company of the Chemins de Fer du Midi estimates that the Lourdes station receives over one million travellers per annum. Every nation in the world furnishes its contingent. Out of the total of pilgrimages given above, four hundred and sixty-four came from countries other than France. They are sent by the United States, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Italy, England, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, Bolivia, etc. The bishops lead the way. At the end of the year of the fiftieth anniversary, 2013 prelates, including 546 archbishops, 10 primates, 19 patriarchs, 69 cardinals, had made the pilgrimage to Lourdes. But more remarkable still than the crowd of pilgrims is the series of wonderful occurrences which take place under the protection of the celebrated sanctuary. Passing over spiritual cures, which more often than not escape human observance, we shall confine ourselves to bodily diseases. The writer of this article has recorded every recovery, whether partial or complete, and in the first half-century of the shrine's existence he has counted 3962. Notwithstanding very careful statistics which give the names and surnames of the patients who have recovered, the date of the cure, the name of the disease, and generally that of the physician who had charge of the case, there are inevitably doubtful or mistaken cases, attributable, as a rule, to the excited fancy of the afflicted one and which time soon dispels. But it is only right to note: first, that these unavoidable errors regard only secondary cases which have not like the others been the object of special study; it must also be noted that the number of cases is equalled and exceeded by actual cures which are not put on record. The afflicted who have recovered are not obliged to present themselves and half of them do not present themselves, at the Bureau des Constatations Médicales at Lourdes, and it is from this bureau's official reports that the list of cures is drawn up.
The estimate that about 4000 cures have been obtained at Lourdes within the first fifty years of the pilgrimage is undoubtedly considerably less than the actual number. The Bureau des Constatations stands near the shrine, and there are recorded and checked the certificates of maladies and also the certificates of cure; it is free to all physicians, whatever their nationality or religious belief. Consequently, on an average, from two to three hundred physicians annual visit this marvellous clinic. As to the nature of the diseases which are cured, nervous disorders so frequently mentioned, do not furnish even the fourteenth part of the whole; 278 have been counted, out of a total of 3962. The present writer has published the number of cases of each disease or infirmity, among them tuberculosis, tumours, sores, cancers, deafness, blindness, etc. The "Annales des Sciences Physiques", a sceptical review whose chief editor is Doctor Ch. Richet, Professor at the Medical Faculty of Paris, said in the course of a long article, apropos of this faithful study: "On reading it, unprejudiced minds cannot but be convinced that the facts stated are authentic."

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Free Catholic Movie : "The Song of Bernadette" about #OurLady of #Lourdes Stars Jennifer Jones

The Song of Bernadette (1943) 156 min - Biography | Drama - April 1945 (USA)  The Apparitions occurred in 1858 France. Based on the novel by Franz Werfel, "The Song of Bernadette" is a sympathetic account of the life of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a sickly (asthmatic) French peasant girl who claimed to have seen 18 miraculous visions of a "beautiful lady" near her home village of Lourdes in 1858. Bernadette had become so happily excited by her initial vision, which she claimed included her having been instructed by this "beautiful lady" to return each day for 15 days*.
Director: Henry King Writers: George Seaton (screenplay), Franz Werfel (novel) Stars: Jennifer Jones, Charles Bickford, William Eythe |

Friday, February 10, 2017


#PopeFrancis “In temptation, you don’t dialogue, you pray: ‘Help me, Lord, I am weak" #Homily


(Vatican Radio) In the weakness of temptation, which we all experience, the grace of Jesus helps us to not hide ourselves from the Lord, but to seek forgiveness in order to get up and go forward. That was Pope Francis’ message during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father was reflecting on the devil’s temptation both of Adam and Eve, in the first Reading, and of Jesus in the Gospel. With Satan, the Pope said, there is no dialogue, because dialogue with the devil ends in sin and corruption.
The devil uses dialogue to deceive
Temptations lead us to hide ourselves from the Lord, so that we remain with our “fault,” our “sin,” our “corruption.” Beginning with the first Reading, from the Book of Genesis, Pope Francis focused on the temptation of Adam and Eve, and then considered that of Jesus in the desert. The devil appears in the form of a serpent: he is “attractive,” and with his cunning he seeks “to deceive.” In this he is a specialist, he is “the father of lies,” “a liar.” So he knows how to deceive and how to “cheat” people. This is what he did with Eve: he made her “feel good,” the Pope explained, and so he began to dialogue with her; and, step by step, Satan led her where he wanted. With Jesus it is different; it ended badly for the devil, the Pope said. “He tries to dialogue” with Christ, because when the devil deceives a person he does so with dialogue.” He attempts to deceive Him, but Jesus does not give in. Then the devil is revealed for who he is. Jesus answers him, not with His own words, but with the Word of God, because “you can’t dialogue with the devil”; you’ll end up, like Adam and Eve, “naked”:
“The devil is a bad paymaster, he doesn’t pay well. He is a cheat! He promises you everything and leaves you naked. Jesus, too, ended up naked, but on the Cross, through obedience to the Father: this is a different path. The serpent, the devil is cunning: you can’t dialogue with the devil. We all know what temptations are, we all know, because we all have them. So many temptations! Of vanity, pride, greed, avarice… so many!”
Corruption begins in small things
Today, the Pope said, there is a lot of talk of corruption; and for this, too, we should ask for the Lord’s help:
“There are so many corrupt people, corrupt ‘big fish’ in the world, whose lives we read about in the papers. Perhaps they began with a small thing, I don’t know, maybe not adjusting the scales well. What was a kilo… no, let’s make it 900 grams, but that will seem like a kilo. Corruption begins in small things like this, with dialogue: ‘No, it’s not true that this fruit will harm you. Eat it, it’s good! It’s a little thing, no one will notice. Do it! Do it!’ And little by little, little by little, you fall into sin, you fall into corruption.”
In temptation, you don’t dialogue: you pray
The Church teaches us in this way, the Pope said, so we will not be deceived – not to say foolish – so that when we are tempted we have our “eyes open” and know to ask the Lord for help, “because we can’t do it on our own.” Adam and Eve hid themselves from the Lord; on the contrary, it takes the grace of Jesus in order to “turn and seek forgiveness”:
“In temptation, you don’t dialogue, you pray: ‘Help me, Lord, I am weak. I don’t want to hide from you.’ This is courage, this is winning. When you start to dialogue, you end up overcome, defeated. May the Lord give us that grace, and accompany us in this courage. And if we are deceived because of our weakness in temptation, may He grant us the courage to get up and go forward. It’s for this that Jesus came, for this.”

Saint February 10 : St. Scholastica - Patron of #Nuns and Storms - Sister of St. Benedict



Feast Day:
February 10
Born:
480, Nursia, Italy
Died:
543
Patron of:
convulsive children; nuns; invoked against storms and rain

BENEDICTINE ABBESS AND FOUNDER, VIRGIN
“St. Gregory tells us that St. Benedict governed nuns as well as monks, and it seems clear that St. Scholastica must have been their abbess, under his direction. She used to visit her brother once a year and, since she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he used to go with some of his monks to meet her at a house a little way off. They spent these visits praising God and in conversing together on spiritual matters.
“St. Gregory gives a remarkable description of the last of these visits. After they had passed the day as usual they sat down in the evening to have supper. When it was finished, Scholastica, possibly foreseeing that it would be their last interview in this world, begged her brother to delay his return till the next day that they might spend the time discoursing of the joys of Heaven. Benedict, who was unwilling to transgress his rule, told her that he could not pass a night away from his monastery. When Scholastica found that she could not move him, she laid her head upon her hands which were clasped together on the table and besought God to interpose on her behalf.
“Her prayer was scarcely ended when there arose such a violent storm of rain with thunder and lightning that St. Benedict and his companions were unable to set foot outside the door. He exclaimed, ‘God forgive you, sister; what have you done?’ Whereupon she answered, ‘I asked a favour of you and you refused it. I asked it of God, and He has granted it.’
“Benedict was therefore forced to comply with her request, and they spent the night talking about holy things and about the felicity of the blessed to which they both ardently aspired and which she was soon to enjoy.
“The next morning they parted, and three days later St. Scholastica died. St. Benedict was at the time alone in his cell absorbed in prayer when, lifting up his eyes, he saw his sister’s soul ascending to Heaven as a dove. Filled with joy at her happiness, he thanked God and announced her death to his brethren. He then sent some of the monks to fetch her body which he placed in a tomb which he had prepared for himself.”
Edited from Butler's Lives of the Saints

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday February 10, 2017 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Scholastica, Virgin
Lectionary: 333


Reading 1GN 3:1-8

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
"Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?"
The woman answered the serpent:
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
'You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'"
But the serpent said to the woman:
"You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil."
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden
at the breezy time of the day,
the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God
among the trees of the garden.

Responsorial PsalmPS 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R. (1a) Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, "I confess my faults to the LORD,"
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven. 
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

AlleluiaACTS 16:14B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man's ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
"Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!")
And immediately the man's ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
"He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

2017

Saint February 9 : St. Apollina : #Martyr : Patron of #Dentists


A holy virgin who suffered martyrdom in Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians previous to the persecution of Decius (end of 248, or beginning of 249). During the festivities commemorative of the first millenary of the Roman Empire, the agitation of the heathen populace rose to a great height, and when one of their poets prophesied a calamity, they committed bloody outrages on the Christians whom the authorities made no effort to protect. The great Dionysius, then Bishop of Alexandria (247-265), relates the sufferings of his people in a letter addressed to Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, long extracts from which Eusebius has preserved for us (Church History I.6.41). After describing how a Christian man and woman, named respectively Metras and Quinta, were seized by the seditious mob and put to death with the most cruel tortures, and how the houses of several other Christians were completely pillaged, Dionysius continues: "At that time Apollonia the parthénos presbûtis (virgo presbytera, by which he very probably means not a virgin advanced in years, but a deaconess) was held in high esteem. These men seized her also and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words (either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of the heathen gods). Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death." Apollonia belongs, therefore, to that class of early Christian martyrs who did not await the death they were threatened with, but either to preserve their chastity, or because confronted with the alternative of renouncing their faith or suffering death, voluntarily embraced the latter in the form prepared for them. In the honour paid to her martyrs the Church made no distinction between these women and others. St. Augustine touches on this question in the first book of the "City of God", apropos of suicide (City of God I.26); "But, they say, during the time of persecution certain holy women plunged into the water with the intention of being swept away by the waves and drowned, and thus preserve their threatened chastity. Although they quitted life in this wise, nevertheless they receive high honour as martyrs in the Catholic Church and their feasts are observed with great ceremony. This is a matter on which I dare not pass judgment lightly. For I know not but that the Church was divinely authorized through trustworthy revelations to honour thus the memory of these Christians. It may be that such is the case. May it not be, too, that these acted in such a manner, not through human caprice but on the command of God, not erroneously but through obedience, as we must believe in the case of Samson? When, however, God gives a command and makes it clearly known, who would account obedience thereto a crime or condemn such pious devotion and ready service?" The narrative of Dionysius does not suggest the slightest reproach as to this act of St. Apollonia; in his eyes she was as much a martyr as the others, and as such she was revered in the Alexandrian Church. In time, her feast was also popular in the West. A later legend assigned a similar martyrdom to Apollonia, a Christian virgin of Rome in the reign of Julian the Apostate. There was, however, but one martyr of this name, i.e. the Saint of Alexandria. The Roman Church celebrates her memory on 9 February, and she is popularly invoked against the toothache because of the torments she had to endure. She is represented in art with pincers in which a tooth is held. There was a church dedicated to her at Rome but it no longer exists. The little square, however, in which it stood is still called "Piazza Sant' Apollonia".
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#PopeFrancis "..Christian hope, when it assumes strong guidelines and at the same time the tenderness of love." #Audience - FULL TEXT + Video



The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster .
* * *
The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! Last Wednesday, we saw that, in the First Letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul exhorts to remain rooted in the hope of the resurrection (cf. 5:4-11), with those beautiful words “we shall always be with the Lord” (4:17). In the same context, the Apostle shows that Christian hope does not only have personal, individual breadth, but communitarian, ecclesial. We all hope; we all have hope, also communally.
Paul’s gaze is immediately widened to all the realities that make up the Christian community, asking them to pray for one another and to support each other — to help one another. But not only to help one another in needs, in the many needs of daily life, but to help one another in hope, to support each other in hope. And it is no accident that he begins in fact making reference to those to whom responsibility and pastoral guidance is entrusted. They are the first to be called to nourish hope, and this, not because they are better than the others, but by virtue of a divine ministry that goes well beyond their strength. Therefore, they are all the more in need of respect, of understanding and of the benevolent support of all.

Attention is then drawn to brothers that in the main risk losing hope, of falling into despair. We always have news of people that fall into despair and do awful things …Despair leads them to so many awful things. The reference is to one who is discouraged, who is weak, and who feels beaten by the weight of life and of his faults and is unable to be relieved. In these cases, the closeness and warmth of the whole Church must be more intense and loving, and must assume the exquisite form of compassion, which is not to have pity: compassion is to suffer with the other, to suffer with the other, to get close to one who suffers: a word, a caress, but it must come from the heart; this is compassion, for one who is in need of comfort and consolation. This is all that much more important: Christian hope can do no less than genuine and concrete charity. In the Letter to the Romans, the Apostle of the Gentiles himself affirms, with his heart in his hand: “We who are strong, ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (15:1) — to bear, to bear the weaknesses of others. This testimony, then, does not remain closed in the confines of the Christian community: it resounds also in all its vigor outside, in the social and civil context, as an appeal to not create walls but bridges, to not return evil for evil, to overcome evil with goodness, an offense with forgiveness, — a Christian can never, never say: he’ll pay for this! This isn’t a Christian gesture; an offense is overcome with forgiveness –, to live in peace with all. This is the Church! And this is what brings about Christian hope, when it assumes strong guidelines and at the same time the tenderness of love. Love is strong and tender; it is beautiful.
Then we understand that one does not learn to hope on one’s own. No one learns to hope on his own. It is not possible. To be nourished, hope necessarily has need of a “body,” in which the various members support and revive one another. This means then that, if we hope, it is because many of our brothers and sisters have taught us to hope and have kept our hope alive. And distinguished among these are the little ones, the poor, the simple and the marginalized. Yes, because he knows not hope who is closed in his well-being: he hopes only in his well-being and this is not hope: it is relative security; he knows not hope who closes himself in his contentment, who always feels right …
Instead, those hope who every day experience trials, precariousness and their own limitation. It is these brothers who give us the most beautiful, the strongest testimony, because they remain firm in their entrustment to the Lord, knowing that, beyond the sadness, the oppression and of the ineluctability of death, the last word will be His, and it will be a word of mercy, of life and of peace. One who hopes, hopes to hear one day these words: “Come, come to me, brother; come, come to me, sister, for all eternity.”
Dear friends, if – as we have said – the natural dwelling of hope is a supportive “body,” in the case of Christian hope this body is the Church, while the vital breath, the soul of this hope is the Holy Spirit. See then why the Apostle Paul invites us at the end to invoke Him continually. If it is not easy to believe, much less so is it to hope. It is more difficult to hope than to believe; it is more difficult. However, when the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts, it is He who makes us understand that we must not fear, that the Lord is close and takes care of us; and it is He who molds our communities, in a perennial Pentecost, as living signs of hope for the human family. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] 
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the Committee of the World Day of Prayer against the Trafficking of Persons. I want to see you, stand up! There. Thank you for what you do; thank you! I greet the young people participating in the meeting organized by the Youth Movement of the European Popular Party and the Scholastic Band of Negrar, which I thank for the enjoyable performance.
I greet the parish groups, the “Via Condotti” Association of Rome and the “Eduardo De Filippo” Didactic Circle of Santa Maria La Carita. I hope that for all of you the meeting with the Successor of Peter gives new impetus to faith, reinforces hope and renders charity industrious.
Finally, I greet young people, the sick and newlyweds. May today’s memorial of Sister Josephine Bakhita , who as a child was a victim of trafficking, increase in you, dear young people, attention to your more disadvantaged contemporaries and in difficulty; may it help you, dear sick to offer your sufferings for the Christian education of the new generations; and may it encourage you, dear newlyweds, to trust in the help of Providence and not only in your capacities. Marriage without God’s help does not go forward, we must ask for it every day. And you, dear sick, next Saturday is the day of prayer for you to Our Lady of Lourdes: we shall do so all together. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] 
The Holy Father’s Appeals 
Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Osaka in Japan was Justin Takayama Ukon, Japanese lay faithful, who died a martyr at Manila in 1615. Rather than descend into compromises, he gave up honors and affluence, accepting humiliation and exile. He remained faithful to Christ and to the Gospel. Therefore, he represents an admirable example of fortitude in the faith and of dedication in charity.
Observed today is the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against the Trafficking of Persons, dedicated this year in particular to children and adolescents. I encourage all those that, in various ways, help enslaved and abused minors to be liberated from such oppression. I hope that all those who have the responsibility of government will combat this plague with determination, giving voice to our littlest brothers, humiliated in their dignity. Every effort must be made to vanquish this shameful and intolerable crime.
Next Saturday, memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, the 25th World Day of the Sick will be observed. The main celebration will take place at Lourdes and will be presided over by the Cardinal Secretary of State. I invite you to pray, through the intercession of our Holy Mother, for all the sick, especially for the most grave and most alone, and also for all those who look after them.
I turn to today’s celebration, the Day of Prayer and Reflection against the Trafficking of Persons, which is being observed today because today is the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita [he shows a brochure that talks about her]. This girl, enslaved in Africa, exploited, humiliated, did not lose hope and carried forward the faith, and ended by arriving as a migrant in Europe. And there she heard the Lord’s call and became a Sister. Let us pray to Saint Josephine Bakhita for all migrants, refugees, the exploited who suffer so much, so much.
And speaking of migrants driven out, exploited, I would like to pray with you, today, in a special way for our Rohingya brothers and sisters: driven out from Myanmar, they go from one place to another because they are not wanted there … They are good people, peaceful people. They are not Christians; they are good, they are our brothers and sisters! They have been suffering for years. They have been tortured, killed, simply because they carry forward their traditions, their Muslim faith. Let us pray for them. I invite you to pray, all together, to our Father who is in Heaven for them, for our Rohingya brothers and sisters. “Our Father …”
Saint Josephine Bakhita, pray for us. And applaud Saint Josephine Bakhita!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday February 8, 2017 - #Eucharist



Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 331


Reading 1GN 2:4B-9, 15-17

At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens—
while as yet there was no field shrub on earth
and no grass of the field had sprouted,
for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth
and there was no man to till the soil,
but a stream was welling up out of the earth
and was watering all the surface of the ground—
the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and he placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The LORD God then took the man
and settled him in the garden of Eden,
to cultivate and care for it.
The LORD God gave man this order:
"You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
From that tree you shall not eat;
the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."

Responsorial PsalmPS 104:1-2A, 27-28, 29BC-30

R. (1a) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
All creatures look to you
to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

AlleluiaSEE JN 17:17B, 17A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth:
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 7:14-23

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile."

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
"Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?"
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
"But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."

Saint February 8 : St. Jerome Emiliani : Patron of #Orphans - Founder of the Order of #Somascha



FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF SOMASCHA
Feast Day:
February 8
1481, Venice Died:
8 February 1537, Somasca
Canonized:
1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:
orphans
Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 July; son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance. Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somascha, a secluded hamlet between Milan and Bergamo. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor, and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty. Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somascha. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1747, and canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Office and Mass in his honour were approved eight years later. His biography was first written by Scipio Albani (1600); another by Andreas Stella (1605). The best was written by Aug. Tortora (Milan, 1620; in "Acta SS.", Feb., II, 217 sq.).
After the death of Jerome his community was about to disband, but was kept together by Gambarana, who had been chosen superior. He obtained the approval (1540) of Paul III. In 1547 the members vainly sought affiliation with the Society of Jesus; then in 1547-1555 they were united with the Theatines. Pius IV (1563) approved the institution, and St. Pius V raised it to the dignity of a religious order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, with solemn vows, the privileges of the mendicants, and exemption. In 1569 the first six members made their profession, and Gambarana was made first superior general. Great favour was shown to the order by St. Charles Borromeo, and he gave it the church of St. Mayeul at Pavia, from which church the order takes its official name "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae". Later the education of youth was put into the programme of the order, and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland, and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in the four provinces of Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. At present the order has ten houses in Italy two of which are in Rome. The general resides in Rome at S. Girolamo della Carita.

(Taken frrom Catholic Encyclopedia) 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Saint February 8 : St. Josephine Bakhita - #Slave to Saint + Litany Prayer - SHARE!


Happy Childhood (1869-1876)

Bakhita was born in 1869 in Olgossa, in Darfur, a territory to the South-East of Sudan, inhabited by the Dajus, one the major ethnic groups who had settled in that region centuries before. Bakhita's family was prosperous, possessing lands with plantations and cattle. She herself said, "My life was completely happy. I did not know the meaning of sorrow". Bakhita had three brothers and three sisters. In 1874 the elder sister was kidnapped.
Harsh Slavery (1876-1882)
In 1876 two men kidnapped Bakhtia, who was then about seven years of age. After a month's imprisonment she was sold to a slave-trader (the second master). With great courage the girl attempted to escape, but was recaptured by a shepherd (her third master) and sold again to a fierce-looking man (her fourth master) who sold her to a slave-trader (fifth master). One day she was beaten and left unconscious and bleeding on the ground. 
She was then sold to a Turkish general (6th master), whose wife subjected Bakhita to the torture of tattooing. Her torturer spared only her face, because it was very beautiful, while he inflicted 114 cuts with a razor on her stomach and arms.

 The poor little victim felt she was dying, especially when salt was rubbed into her wounds to keep them open. Immersed in a pool of blood, she was carried away on a pallet and left for a month without even a rag to dry the serum that oozed from her wounds.

To Freedom (1882-1885)

In 1882 the Turkish general sold Bakhita in Khartoum to the consular official Callisto Legnani (seventh master), who was very kind to her. Right away he showed his benevolence, dressing her for the first time in a tunic which restored her dignity as a woman. He would have brought her back to her own village if Bakhita had been able to remember its name, but she was too small at the time of her kidnapping to register exact details. When, in 1885, Legnani was preparing to leave Africa for Italy, Bakhita asked for and received permission to go with him. They embarked, together with a friend of the consul, Augusto Michieli. It was to the latter that Legnani gave the young African upon their arrival in Genoa.In Italy

Mr. Michieli, a rich businessman from Venice, took Bakhita with him to his villa at Zianigo, near Mirano Venetto. Here, for three years, Bakhita was nursemaid to the little daughter, Alice, nicknamed Mimmina. The Michieli were good, honest people, but not church-goers. Mrs. Turina Michieli, who was Orthodox, had forbidden Bakhita to enter a church. However, Providence had placed on Bakhita's path the Michieli's manager, Illuminato Checchini, who played a fundamental part in her journey of faith. "A man with a heart of gold and an enlightened conscience" was how Bakhita described him; he always had a "fatherly love" for her. It was he, in fact, who concerned himself the religious education of the young African. When the Michieli returned in 1886 to Africa, where they had acquired a large hotel at Suakim and took Bakhita with them, the good Illuminato felt remorse, because he had not yet been able to speak to her about God. He was, thus, very happy, the following year, when he saw her return with his wife and the little girl, and inwardly promised to do everything he could for the benefit of that soul. "The missionaries", he said, "go to Africa to convert its inhabitants, shall we do nothing to enlighten this poor girl?" He began by presenting her with a little crucifix, saying to himself: "Jesus, I entrust her to you. Now, you look after her". He was also instrumental in placing Mimmina and Bakhita in the care of the Canossian sisters in Venice when the Michieli had to leave again for Suakim. At this Institute Bakhita was admitted to the catechumen ate. When, after nine months, Mrs Michieli returned for her daughter and the girl whom she regarded as in some way, her slave, in order to take them back again to Africa, she encountered a very firm attitude on the part of the latter. It was on that occasion that Bakhita, who was still a catechumen, displayed singular strength of spirit and great faith. In fact, when confronted with the affection and economic security offered her by the Michieli family, and the hope of rediscovering her family if she returned to Africa, she preferred God's love and abandonment to divine Providence for her future, which in human terms, was very uncertain. Thus she said, with determination: "No, I cannot return to Africa, because I would not be able to profess my faith in the Lord. I love the lady and her little girl very much, but I cannot lose my God. So I am remaining". It was 29 November 1889, as bakhita later recorded in her memoirs. This moment of courageous decision is most significant; it was to set the tone for her entire life.

In this difficult struggle Bakhita had the support of the Patriarch of Venice and the King's Procurator, who, according to Italian law, which forbade slavery, declared her to be a free person.
"If I did not die", Bakhita was to say later, "it was by a miracle of God, who had destined me for better things".
Josephine Bakhita
As preparations were made for the great day - January 9, 1890 - when she was to receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion at the hands of the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Agostini, Bakhita experienced very mixed feelings. On the one hand, she was profoundly aware of her own unworthiness, while on the other, she felt indescribable joy at the thought that she would become a child of God. Realizing God's ineffable love, she was at times intensely moved. She then had moments when she was unable to grasp how she, a poor black girl, a slave, an ignorant person, could be called by the Lord His daughter, she who had nothing to offer Him. She would then run to Mother Fabretti, her catechists, who calmed her, assuring her that in the eyes of God, wealth and wisdom were worth nothing: all that counted was love. "And you love the Lord, don't you?" Bakhita would agree, smiling contentedly, her eyes wet with tears. "Go in peace, then", concluded Mother Fabretti, "and call Him with confidence: "Our Father who art in Heaven...

After she had been baptized, receiving the names of Josephine, Margherita and Fortunata, Bakhita remained at the Institute of the Catechumens, where she soon became aware of the call to a life of special consecration. She did not dare expressed this desire, feeling herself to be unworthy. She feared that she might disfigure the Congregation on account of her black skin. Her confessor reassured her. God does not look at the colour of one's skin, but rather at the innermost depths of one's heart.

Bakhita was accepted, and after three years of Novitiate she made her Vows on Decembe 8, 1896. Cardinal Sarto, the then Patriarch of Venice, examined her and told her: "Pronounce your holy vows without fear. This is what Jesus wants. Jesus loves you. Love Him and serve Him always in this way". He also reassured her about the eternal salvation of her dear ones: "God has infinite ways of making Himself known and when He chooses a person to be His bride, He also thinks of her family".
After she had been baptized, receiving the names of Josephine, Margherita and Fortunata, Bakhita remained at the Institute of the Catechumens, where she soon became aware of the call to a life of special consecration. She did not dare expressed this desire, feeling herself to be unworthy. She feared that she might disfigure the Congregation on account of her black skin. Her confessor reassured her. God does not look at the colour of one's skin, but rather at the innermost depths of one's heart.

Bakhita was accepted, and after three years of Novitiate she made her Vows on Decembe 8, 1896. Cardinal Sarto, the then Patriarch of Venice, examined her and told her: "Pronounce your holy vows without fear. This is what Jesus wants. Jesus loves you. Love Him and serve Him always in this way". He also reassured her about the eternal salvation of her dear ones: "God has infinite ways of making Himself known and when He chooses a person to be His bride, He also thinks of her family".

After her religious profession, which took place in Verona, Mother Bakhita returned to Venice, and later was sent to the house in Schio. Here she spent the best part of 45 years, immediately gaining the sympathy and esteem of all the town's inhabitants, who began to call her affectionately 'Madre Moretta' (Black Mother). Bakhita achieved the ideals set by the Foundress, St. Magdalene of Canossa, who wished her daughters to be "anchorites and apostles". Whether in church or sacristy, at the door or in the kitchen, she was engrossed in her Lord, and daily bore witness to the Lord's love for all His creatures. During the First World War, with great love, she set about easing the physical suffering and moral anguish of all those around her, in particular, the soldiers looked after in the Institute, which had been turned into a military hospital. During the Second World War people attributed to her presence the fact that Schio was preserved from the bombing. In fact, when the alarm sounded, Bakhita would say, "Don't worry, because the 'Master' knows what He has to do nothing will happen here."

From the moment of her profession, she showed how close she felt to her African brothers and sisters. On that day she uttered the following heartfelt prayer: "O Lord, if I could but fly to my people and preach aloud Your goodness to everyone! Oh, how many souls would I win for you. Among the first would be my mother, my father, my brothers, my sister, still a slave... all, all the poor black people of Africa. Grant, Jesus, that they too may know and love you!" Between 1936 and 1938 Mother Bakhita was at Vimercate, the seat of the Canossian Missionary Novitiate. This was her base for journeys to various Italian cities to promote the missions. She was accompanied by another Sister, who had returned from her mission in China. Everyone wanted to hear first-hand her "wonderful story". Referring to this experience, Mother Bakhita was to say later: "Many will think I enjoyed travelling around, but for me it was real martyrdom". Wherever she went, she left goodness in her wake, even though she herself was not aware of it.

At the height of World War II, on December 8, 1943, Mother Bakhita celebrated the 50th anniversary of her religious life. Not only her own community, but the whole of Schio, celebrated, despite the adverse circumstances of the time. But now, for Bakhita, aches and pains were beginning to make themselves felt, crippling arthritis, asthmatic bronchitis with cough, convulsed her body. This was not to be wondered at, considering the suffering she had undergone in her younger years and the rigours of the northern climate to which she was not accustomed. During her long illness never a complaint passed her lips. When she was asked: "Don't you feel anything, Mother Bakhita?" She replied: "Of course I feel something - I'm alive; it's only the dead who can't feel anything". "And how is it that you never complain?" "Oh, when nature wants something, I say: now be good, we'll see about it. Then I think about Jesus on the cross, and about the Sorrowful Virgin. That way, nature is calmed, and I no longer need anything". What heroic patience! Very soon she had to abandon her walking-stick in favour of a wheelchair, until broncho pneumonia brought her inexorably to the end. Fully conscious, and to the great edification of all, she received the last sacraments. The Virgin Mary came to comfort her at the moment of her death on Saturday, February 8, 1947. "How happy I am... the Madonna, the Madonna! These were her last words as she passed from this earthly life to the full freedom of God's children.
Her Motto

From her childhood, Bakhita learnt to wonder at the beauty of creation. Even as a slave, she found comfort in admiring the sun, the moon, and the stars. She told how, when she had, finally, lost hope of ever seeing her family again, she began to appreciate more the beauties of nature. She wondered who could have been their Maker and ardently desired to know Him so as to be able to thank Him and do Him homage.

She was utterly surprised when she began to grasp the meaning of this truth: through Baptism you will become a child of God. "A child of God - I, a poor black girl!", she would repeat, filled with amazement. Her baptism gave her such great joy that she felt its beneficial effects ever after. "Here, I became a child of God!" she exclaimed with emotion, kneeling at the baptismal font when she had the good fortune to visit the church where she had been baptized. Baptism shaped her human and Christian future completely, and her whole life was overwhelmed with wonder at the goodness of a Father who orders everything for the good of those whom He has chosen. This, then, was the source of Bakhita's constant goodness.

The moment that had a great and decisive impact on her life was when she discovered the infinite love of God, manifested in his Crucified Son. Seeing the image of Jesus on the cross for the first time, Bakhita was greatly impressed, and asked: "What did that man do that was so wrong, for him to be treated in such a way?" "Nothing," was the reply, "He wished to die for us, for love of us, and also for you". "Also for me!" astonished Bakhita repeatedly. Always drawn irresistibly by the love of Jesus who had died on the cross for her, she became a strong woman, firm and unshakeable in her decision to devote herself totally to the service of her new heavenly Master. Consequently, her former resignation to her fate was transformed into free and holy abandonment to the divine will of Him whom she still gladly called "el Paron", "the Master", out of long-standing mental habit, but now no longer as a slave of arbitrary and evil masters by fate, but as a "slave of love" carrying out the orders of the good God, who loves His servants as a Father.

Her life, after death, would also depend on the will of the "Master". For this reason, when she was sick, she replied to those who asked for her prayers: "If the Lord permits, I will look after everyone from Heaven, I will obtain many graces for the salvation of souls."
Inner Face
"In St. Josephine Bakhita we find an outstanding witness to God's fatherly love and a bright sign of the enduring value of the Beatitudes. In our time, when the race for power, money, and pleasure causes distrust, violence and loneliness, the Lord is giving us Sister Bakhita as the Universal Sister, so that she may reveal to us the secret of the truest happiness: the Beatitudes. Hers is a message of heroic goodness, mirroring the goodness of the heavenly Father. She has left us a testimony of evangelical reconciliation and forgiveness, which will surely give comfort to the Christians in her homeland, Sudan, so sorely tried by conflict that has lasted for many years and caused many victims. Their faithfulness and their hope are reason fro pride and thanksgiving on the part of the whole Church. At this time of great tribulations, Sister Bakhita goes before them on the road of imitation of Christ, a deepening of the Christian life and of unshakeable attachment to the Church." (John Paul II - May 17,1992).

Mother Josephine Bakhita's life is marked by unconditional surrender to the will of God. Her motto was "What the Master Wishes". Thus she made her spiritual life very simple, because "doing God's will well" is the essence of perfection.

In all the positions she held as a Canossian - cook, embroiderer, sacristan, portress - Bakhita always showed herself to be a true "Daughter of Charity, Servant of the poor". The virtues that mark her relationship with her neighbours are: Goodness, Meekness, Tenderness. Her black hands caressed the heads of the children who attended the Institute's schools daily. Her amiable voice, which had the inflection of her African songs, was pleasing to the little children, comforting to the poor and the suffering, and encouraging to all who knocked at the door of the Institute.

The value of forgiveness is evident in Bakhita: "If I met those slave traders who kidnapped me and treated me so cruelly, I would kneel to kiss their hands, because if that had not happened, I would not be a Christian and a religious today." One is impressed above all by the excuse she makes for them: "Poor things, maybe they did not know they were hurting me so much: they were the masters, I was their slave. Just as we are used to doing good, so they did that by force of habit, not because they were wicked". As she told her terrible story, she continued to thank the Lord, who, in unimaginable ways, had led her to the faith and made her His bride. There was no hint of resentment in her words: she had forgiven everyone from her heart and prayed for them all.

St. Josephine Bakhita body remains incorrupt.


Litany of St. Josephine Bakhita



Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy, Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy

Christ hear us, Christ, graciously hear us

God, our heavenly Father Have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world Have mercy on us
God, the Holy Spirit Have mercy on us

Holy Mary Pray for us
St. Joseph Pray for us
St. Magdalen of Canossa Pray for us
St. Josephine Bakhita Pray for us

Flower of Sudan Pray for us
Universal Sister Pray for us
Model of Hope Pray for us
Child slave Pray for us
The Fortunate One Pray for us
Daughter of God Pray for us
Consecrated Virgin Pray for us
Bride of Christ Pray for us

Bakhita, most innocent Pray for us
Bakhita, most forgiving Pray for us
Bakhita, most chaste Pray for us
Bakhita, most courageous Pray for us
Bakhita, most free Pray for us
Bakhita, most prayer ful Pray for us
Bakhita, most faithful Pray for us

Reflection of Charity Pray for us
Wonderful Storyteller Pray for us
Lover of Children Pray for us
Exemplar of Hospitality Pray for us
Patient Model of Bead workers Pray for us
Diligent Sacristan Pray for us
Humble Porter Pray for us
Great Cook Pray for us
Mother Moretta Pray for us
Missionary at heart Pray for us
Hope of the sick Pray for us
Comfort to soldiers Pray for us
Pillar to anxious families Pray for us
Protector of Schio Pray for us
Powerful Intercessor of those in need Pray for us
Patron of the dying Pray for us
Tale of Wonder Pray for us

Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, Have mercy on us, O Lord.
Leader: God delivered her from slavery and given her true freedom in ChristAll: And made her his daughter and his bride.Leader: Let us pray

Heavenly Father, Your Son Jesus Christ, through His suffering and death on the cross, gave Himself as a gift of love for the reconciliation and salvation of all his peoples. He continues to express this love by giving us St. Josephine Bakhita. She too offered herself through her suffering in slavery. We humbly pray that through her intercession, she may obtain for us this favour which we now ask ______________, for the needs of our parish community, for her brothers and sisters in Sudan, and for the whole world the gift of justice and peace. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
SHARED FROM stjosephinebakhita.ca/
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#PopeFrancis "Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments..." #Lent message FULL TEXT



Below find the English language translation of Pope Francis’ Lenten message.
The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
            Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us.  Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).
            Lent is a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply. I would now like to consider the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31). Let us find inspiration in this meaningful story, for it provides a key to understanding what we need to do in order to attain true happiness and eternal life.  It exhorts us to sincere conversion.
 The other person is a gift
            The parable begins by presenting its two main characters.  The poor man is described in greater detail: he is wretched and lacks the strength even to stand. Lying before the door of the rich man, he fed on the crumbs falling from his table. His body is full of sores and dogs come to lick his wounds (cf. vv. 20-21). The picture is one of great misery; it portrays a man disgraced and pitiful.
            The scene is even more dramatic if we consider that the poor man is called Lazarus: a name full of promise, which literally means “God helps”. This character is not anonymous. His features are clearly delineated and he appears as an individual with his own story. While practically invisible to the rich man, we see and know him as someone familiar. He becomes a face, and as such, a gift, a priceless treasure, a human being whom God loves and cares for, despite his concrete condition as an outcast (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).
            Lazarus teaches us that other persons are a gift. A right relationship with people consists in gratefully recognizing their value. Even the poor person at the door of the rich is not a nuisance, but a summons to conversion and to change. The parable first invites us to open the doors of our heart to others because each person is a gift, whether it be our neighbor or an anonymous pauper. Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ. Each of us meets people like this every day. Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable. But in order to do this, we have to take seriously what the Gospel tells us about the rich man.
Sin blinds us
            The parable is unsparing in its description of the contradictions associated with the rich man (cf. v. 19). Unlike poor Lazarus, he does not have a name; he is simply called “a rich man”. His opulence was seen in his extravagant and expensive robes. Purple cloth was even more precious than silver and gold, and was thus reserved to divinities (cf. Jer 10:9) and kings (cf. Jg 8:26), while fine linen gave one an almost sacred character. The man was clearly ostentatious about his wealth, and in the habit of displaying it daily: “He feasted sumptuously every day” (v. 19). In him we can catch a dramatic glimpse of the corruption of sin, which progresses in three successive stages: love of money, vanity and pride (cf. Homily, 20 September 2013).
            The Apostle Paul tells us that “the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim 6:10).  It is the main cause of corruption and a source of envy, strife and suspicion. Money can come to dominate us, even to the point of becoming a tyrannical idol (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 55). Instead of being an instrument at our service for doing good and showing solidarity towards others, money can chain us and the entire world to a selfish logic that leaves no room for love and hinders peace.
            The parable then shows that the rich man’s greed makes him vain. His personality finds expression in appearances, in showing others what he can do. But his appearance masks an interior emptiness. His life is a prisoner to outward appearances, to the most superficial and fleeting aspects of existence (cf. ibid., 62).
            The lowest rung of this moral degradation is pride. The rich man dresses like a king and acts like a god, forgetting that he is merely mortal. For those corrupted by love of riches, nothing exists beyond their own ego. Those around them do not come into their line of sight. The result of attachment to money is a sort of blindness.  The rich man does not see the poor man who is starving, hurting, lying at his door.
            Looking at this character, we can understand why the Gospel so bluntly condemns the love of money: “No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money” (Mt 6:24).
 The Word is a gift
            The Gospel of the rich man and Lazarus helps us to make a good preparation for the approach of Easter. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites us to an experience quite similar to that of the rich man. When the priest imposes the ashes on our heads, he repeats the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. As it turned out, the rich man and the poor man both died, and the greater part of the parable takes place in the afterlife. The two characters suddenly discover that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Tim 6:7).
            We too see what happens in the afterlife. There the rich man speaks at length with Abraham, whom he calls “father” (Lk 16:24.27), as a sign that he belongs to God’s people. This detail makes his life appear all the more contradictory, for until this moment there had been no mention of his relation to God. In fact, there was no place for God in his life. His only god was himself.
            The rich man recognizes Lazarus only amid the torments of the afterlife. He wants the poor man to alleviate his suffering with a drop of water. What he asks of Lazarus is similar to what he could have done but never did. Abraham tells him: “During your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus had his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony” (v. 25). In the afterlife, a kind of fairness is restored and life’s evils are balanced by good.
            The parable goes on to offer a message for all Christians. The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, who are still alive.  But Abraham answers: “They have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them” (v. 29). Countering the rich man’s objections, he adds: “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead” (v. 31).
            The rich man’s real problem thus comes to the fore.  At the root of all his ills was the failure to heed God’s word. As a result, he no longer loved God and grew to despise his neighbor. The word of God is alive and powerful, capable of converting hearts and leading them back to God. When we close our heart to the gift of God’s word, we end up closing our heart to the gift of our brothers and sisters.
            Dear friends, Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organizations in different parts of the world, and thus to favor the culture of encounter in our one human family. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter.
            From the Vatican, 18 October 2016
            Feast of Saint Luc the Evangelist
(Vatican Release)


#PopeFrancis “Without women, there is no harmony in the world.” #Homily


Vatican Radio) “Without women, there is no harmony in the world.” That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. At the center of his reflection was creation of woman, as told in Genesis. Men and women are not equal; the one is not superior to the other. But it is the woman, and not the man, who brings that harmony which makes the world a beautiful place. 
Pope Francis was continuing his reflections on creation, the subject of the Readings for the past few days, taken from the Book of Genesis. The Lord had formed every sort of animal, but the man did not find a companion in any of them; he was alone. Then the Lord took a rib and created woman, who the man recognized as “flesh of his flesh.” “But before seeing her,” the Pope said, “the man dreamed of her… In order to understand a woman, it is necessary first to dream of her.”
Without women, there is no harmony
“Often when we speak about women,” the Pope said, we think of them in a ‘functionalist’ manner. Instead, we should see women as bearers of a richness that men do not possess: women bring harmony to creation:
“When women are not there, harmony is missing. We might say: But this is a society with a strong masculine attitude, and this is the case, no? The woman is missing. ‘Yes, yes: the woman is there to wash the dishes, to do things…’ No, no, no! The woman is there to bring harmony. Without the woman there is no harmony. They are not equal; one is not superior to the other: no. It’s just that the man does not bring harmony. It’s her. It is she who brings that harmony that teaches us to caress, to love with tenderness; and who makes the world a beautiful place.”
Exploiting people is a crime, but exploiting women is worse: it destroys harmony
In his homily, the Pope considered three moments in Creation: the solitude of the man, the dream, and the destiny of both the man and the woman: to be “one flesh.” The Holy Father gave a concrete example: Once, during an audience, while he greeted the people, he asked a couple who were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, “Which of you has had the most patience?”
“And they looked at me, they looked me in the eyes – I’ll never forget those eyes, eh? – then they turned and they told me, both together: ‘We are in love.’ After 60 years, this means ‘one flesh.’ And this is what the woman brings: the capacity to love one another. Harmony for the world. Often we hear: ‘No, it is necessary in this society, in this institution, that here there should be a woman because she does this, she does these things.’ No, no, no, no! Functionality is not the purpose of women. It is true that women should do things, to do things as we all do. The purpose of women is to make harmony, and without women there is no harmony in the world. Exploiting persons is a crime of ‘lèse-humanité’: it’s true. But exploiting a woman is even more serious: it is destroying the harmony that God has chosen to give to the world. It is to destroy.”
Exploiting a woman, then, is not only a crime: it amounts to “destroying harmony,” the Pope said, referring also to the day’s Gospel story of the Syrophoenician woman.
God has created woman so that we would all have a mother
Pope Francis concluded his reflection with a personal note:
This is the great gift of God: He has given us woman. And in the Gospel, we have heard what a woman is capable of, eh? She is courageous, that one, eh? She went forward with courage. But there is more, so much more. A woman is harmony, is poetry, is beauty. Without her the world would not be so beautiful, it would not be harmonious. And I like to think – but this is a personal thing – that God created women so that we would all have a mother. 
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