Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Saint March 30 : St. John Climacus : Abbott of Sinai



Born:525, Syria
Died:30 March 606, Mount Sinai
St John, generally distinguished by the appellation of Climacus, from his excellent book entitled Climax, or the Ladder to Perfection, was born about the year 525, probably in Palestine. By his extraordinary progress in the arts and sciences he obtained very young the surname of the Scholastic. But at sixteen years of age he renounced all the advantages which the world promised him to dedicate himself to God in a religious state, in 547. He retired to Mount Sinai, which, from the time of the disciples of St. Anthony and St. Hilarion, had been always peopled by holy men, who, in imitation of Moses, when he received the law on that mountain, lived in the perpetual contemplation of heavenly things. Our novice, fearing the danger of dissipation and relaxation to which numerous communities are generally more exposed than others, chose not to live in the great monastery on the summit, but in an hermitage on the descent of the mountain, under the discipline of Martyrius, an holy ancient anchoret. By silence he curbed the insolent itch of talking about everything, an ordinary vice in learned men, but usually a mark of pride and self-sufficiency. By perfect humility and obedience he banished the dangerous desire of self-complacency in his actions. He never contradicted, never disputed with anyone. So perfect was his submission that he seemed to have no self-will. He undertook to sail through the deep sea of this mortal life securely, under the direction of a prudent guide, and shunned those rocks which he could not have escaped, had he presumed to steer alone, as he tells us. From the visible mountain he raised his heart, without interruption, in all his actions, to God, who is invisible; and, attentive to all the motions of his grace, studied only to do his will. Four years he spent in the trial of his own strength, and in learning the obligations of his state, before he made his religious profession, which was in the twentieth year of his age. In his writings he severely condemns engagements made by persons too young, or before a sufficient probation. By fervent prayer and fasting he prepared himself for the solemn consecration of himself to God, that the most intense fervour might make his holocaust the more perfect; and from that moment he seemed to be renewed in spirit; and his master admired the strides with which, like a mighty giant, the young disciple advanced daily more and more towards God, by self-denial, obedience, humility, and the uninterrupted exercises of divine love and prayer.

In the year 560, and the thirty-fifth of his age, he lost Martyrius by death; having then spent nineteen years in that place in penance and holy contemplation. By the advice of a prudent director, he then embraced an eremitical life in a plain called Thole, near the foot of Mount Sinai. His cell was five miles from the church, probably the same which had been built a little before, by order of the Emperor Justinian, for the use of the monks at the bottom of this mountain, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, as Procopius mentions. Thither he went every Saturday and Sunday to assist, with all the other anchorets and monks of that desert, at the holy office and at the celebration of the divine mysteries, when they all communicated. His diet was very sparing, though, to shun ostentation and the danger of vainglory, he ate of everything that was allowed among the monks of Egypt, who universally abstained from flesh, fish, &c. Prayer was his principal employment; and he practiced what he earnestly recommends to all Christians, that in all their actions, thoughts, and words they should keep themselves with great fervour in the presence of God, and direct all they do to his holy will. By habitual contemplation he acquired an extraordinary purity of heart, and such a facility of lovingly beholding God in all his works that this practice seemed in him a second nature. Thus he accompanied his studies with perpetual prayer. He assiduously read the holy scriptures and fathers, and was one of the most learned doctors of the church. But, to preserve the treasure of humility, he concealed, as much as possible, both his natural and acquired talents, and the extraordinary graces with which the Holy Ghost enriched his soul. By this secrecy he fled from the danger of vainglory, which, like a leech, sticks to our best actions and, sucking from them its nourishment, robs us of their fruit. As if this cell had not been sufficiently remote from the eyes of men, St. John frequently retired into a neighbouring cavern which he had made in the rock, where no one could come to disturb his devotions or interrupt his tears. So ardent were his charity and compunction, that his eyes seemed two fountains, which scarce ever ceased to flow; and his continual sighs and groans to heaven, under the weight of the miseries inseparable from his moral pilgrimage, were not to be equaled by the vehemency of the cries of those who suffer from knives and fire. Overcome by importunities, he admitted a holy anchoret named Moyses to live with him as his disciple.
God bestowed on St. John an extraordinary grace of healing the spiritual disorders of souls. Among others, a monk called Isaac was brought almost to the brink of despair by most violent temptations of the flesh. He addressed himself to St. John, who perceived by his tears how much he underwent from that conflict and struggle which he felt within himself. The servant of God commended his faith, and said, "My son, let us have recourse to God by prayer." They accordingly prostrated themselves together on the ground in fervent supplication for a deliverance, and from that time the infernal serpent left Isaac in peace. Many others resorted to St. John for spiritual advice; but the devil excited some to jealousy, who censured him as one who, out of vanity, lost much time in unprofitable discourse. The saint took this accusation, which was a mere calumny, in good part, and as a charitable admonition; he therefore imposed on himself a rigorous silence for near a twelvemonth. This, his humility and modesty, so much astonished his calumniators that they joined the rest of the monks in beseeching him to reassume his former function of giving charitable advice to all that resorted to him for it, and not to bury that talent of science which he had received for the benefit of many. He who knew not what it was to contradict others, with the same humility and deference again opened his mouth to instruct his neighbour in the rules of perfect virtue, in which office, such was the reputation of his wisdom and experience, that he was regarded as another Moses in that holy place.
St. John was now seventy-five years old, and had spent forty of them in his hermitage, when, in the year 600, he was unanimously chosen Abbot of Mount Sinai, and superior-general of all the monks and hermits in that country. Soon after he was raised to this dignity, the people of Palestine and Arabia, in the time of a great drought and famine, made their application to him as to another Elias, begging him to intercede with God in their behalf. The saint failed not, with great earnestness, to recommend their distress to the Father of mercies, and his prayer was immediately recompensed with abundant rains. St. Gregory the Great, who then sat in St. Peter's chair, wrote to our holy abbot, recommending himself to his prayers, and sent him beds, with other furniture and money, for his hospital, for the use of pilgrims near Mount Sinai. John, who had used his utmost endeavours to decline the pastoral charge when he saw it laid upon him, neglected no means which might promote the sanctification of all those who were entrusted to his care. That posterity might receive some share in the benefit of his holy instructions, John, the learned and virtuous Abbot of Raithu, a monastery situate towards the Red Sea, entreated him by that obedience he had ever practiced, even with regard to his inferiors, that he would draw up the most necessary rules by which fervent souls might arrive at Christian perfection. The saint answered him that nothing but extreme humility could have moved him to write to so miserable a sinner, destitute of every sort of virtue; but that he received his commands with respect, though far above his strength, never considering his own insufficiency. Wherefore, apprehensive of falling into death by disobedience, he took up his pen in haste, with great eagerness mixed with fear, and set himself to draw some imperfect outlines, as an unskillful painter, leaving them to receive from him, as a great master, the finishing strokes. This produced the excellent work which he called "Climax; or, the Ladder of religious Perfection." This book, being written in sentences, almost in the manner of aphorisms, abounds more in sense than words. A certain majestic simplicity- an inexpressible unction and spirit of humility, joined with conciseness and perspicuity-very much enhance the value of this performance; but its chief merit consists in the sublime sentiments and perfect description of all Christian virtues which it contains. The author confirms his precepts by several edifying examples, as of obedience and penance. In  describing a monastery of three hundred and thirty monks which he had visited near Alexandria, in Egypt, he mentions one of the principal citizens of that city, named Isidore, who, petitioning to be admitted into the house, said to the abbot, "As iron is in the hands of the smith, so am I in your hands." The abbot ordered him to remain without the gate, and to prostrate himself at the feet of everyone that passed by, begging their prayers for his soul struck with a leprosy. Thus he passed seven years in profound humility and patience. He told St. John that, during the first year, he always considered himself as a slave condemned for his sins, and sustained violent conflicts; the second year he passed in tranquillity and confidence; and the third with relish and pleasure in his humiliations. So great was his virtue that the abbot determined to present him to the bishop in order to be promoted to the priesthood, but the humility of the holy penitent prevented the execution of that design; for, having begged at least a respite, he died within ten days. St. John could not help admiring the cook of this numerous community, who seemed always recollected, and generally bathed in tears amidst his continual occupation, and asked him by what means he nourished so perfect a spirit of compunction, in the midst of such a dissipating laborious employment. He said that serving the monks, he represented to himself that he was serving not men, but God in his servants; and that the fire he always had before his eyes reminded him of that fire which will burn souls for all eternity. The moving description which our author gives of the monastery of penitents called the Prison, above a mile from the former, hath been already abridged in our language. John the Sabaite told our saint, as of a third person, that seeing himself respected in his monastery, he considered that this was not the way to satisfy for his sins; wherefore, with the leave of his abbot, he repaired to a severe monastery in Pontus, and after three years saw in a dream a schedule of his debts, to the amount in appearance of one hundred pounds of gold, of which only ten were cancelled. He therefore repeated often to himself, "Poor Antiochus, thou hast still a great debt to satisfy." After passing other thirteen years in contempt and the most fervent practices of penance, he deserved to see in a vision his whole debt blotted out. Another monk, in a grievous fit of illness, fell into a trance, in which he lay as if he had been dead for the space of an hour; but, recovering, he shut himself up in a cell, and lived a recluse twelve years, almost continually weeping, in the perpetual meditation of death. When he was near death, his brethren could only extort from him these words of edification, "He who hath death always before his eyes will never sin." John, Abbot of Raithu, explained this book of our saint by judicious comments, which are also extant. We have likewise a letter of St. John Climacus to the same person concerning the duties of a pastor, in which he exhorts him in correcting others to temper severity with mildness, and encourages him zealously to fulfil the obligations of his charge; for nothing is greater or more acceptable to God than to offer him the sacrifice of rational souls sanctified by penance and charity.
St. John sighed continually under the weight of his dignity during the four years that he governed the monks of Mount Sinai; and as he had taken upon him that burden with fear and reluctance, he with joy found means to resign the same a little before his death. Heavenly contemplation, and the continual exercise of divine love and praise, were his delight and comfort in his earthly pilgrimage: and in this imitation of the functions of the blessed spirits in heaven he placeth the essence of the monastic state. In his excellent maxims concerning the gift of holy tears, the fruit of charity, we seem to behold a lively portraiture of his most pure soul. He died in his hermitage on the 30th day of March, in 605, being fourscore years old. His spiritual son, George, who had succeeded him in the abbacy, earnestly begged of God that he  might not be separated from his dear master and guide; and followed him by a happy death within a few days. On several Greek commentaries on St. John Climacus's ladder, see Montfaucon, Biblioth. Coisliana, pp. 305, 306.
St. John Climacus, speaking of the excellence and the effects of charity, does it with a feeling and energy worthy of such a subject: "A mother," says he, "feels less pleasure when she folds within her arms the dear infant whom she nourishes with her own milk than the true child of charity does when united as he incessantly is, to his God, and folded as it were in the arms of his heavenly Father.—Charity operates in some persons so as to carry them almost entirely out of themselves. It illuminates others, and fills them with such sentiments of joy, that they cannot help crying out: The Lord is my helper and my protector: in him hath my heart confided, and I have been helped And my flesh hath flourished again, and with my will I will give praise to him. This joy which they feel in their hearts, is reflected on their countenances; and when once God has united, or, as we may say, incorporated them with his charity, he displays in their exterior, as in the reflection of a mirror, the brightness and serenity of their souls: even as Moses, being honored with a sight of God, was encompassed round by his glory." St. John Climacus composed the following prayer to obtain the gift of charity: "My God, I pretend to nothing upon this earth, except to be so firmly united to you by prayer that to be separated from you may be impossible; let others desire riches and glory; for my part, I desire but one thing, and that is, to be inseparably united to you, and to place in you alone all my hopes of happiness and repose." The Catholic Encyclopedia

#PopeFrancis "...unite your sufferings to the cross of Christ for the building of the civilization of love" FULL TEXT at Audience + Video


The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The passage of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans that we just heard, gives us a great gift. In fact, we are used to acknowledging Abraham as our Father in the faith. Today the Apostle makes us understand that Abraham is also for us Father in hope; not only Father of faith but Father in hope. And this because in his story we can already receive an announcement of the Resurrection, of the new life that overcomes evil and death itself.
The text states that Abraham believed in the God “Who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17), and then it specifies: “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about 100 years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb” (Romans 4:19). See, this is the experience that we are also called to live. The God who reveals Himself to Abraham is the God who saves, the God who makes us come out of despair and of death, the God who calls to life. In Abraham’s story everything becomes a hymn to God who liberates and regenerates, everything becomes prophecy. And it becomes so for us, for us who now recognize and celebrate the fulfilment of all this in the mystery of Easter. In fact, God “raised Jesus from the dead” (Romans 4:24), so that, in Him, we can also pass from death to life. And truly Abraham can now well say of himself “Father of many nations,” in as much as he shines as proclamation of a new humanity – us! –, rescued by Christ from sin and death and introduced once and for all in the embrace of God’s love.
At this point, Paul helps us set on fire the very close bond between faith and hope. He affirms, in fact, that Abraham “hoped against hope” (Romans 4:18). Our hope is not governed by human reasoning, expectations and reassurances; it is manifested where there is no more hope, where there is nothing more in which to hope, precisely as it happened for Abraham, in face of his imminent death and the sterility of his wife Sarah. The end was approaching them, they could not have children and, in that situation, Abraham believed and had hope against all hope. And this is great! Great hope is rooted in faith, and precisely because of this it is able to go beyond all hope. Yes, because it is not founded on our word, but on the Word of God. So, in this sense also, we are called to follow Abraham’s example who, although in face of the evidence of a reality that seemed avowed to death, trusted God, “fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised” (Romans 4:21). I would like to ask you a question: we, all of us, are we convinced of this? Are we convinced that God loves us, and that He is ready to bring to fulfilment all that He has promised us? But Father, how much does this cost? There is only one price: “open the heart.” Open your hearts and this strength of God will lead you forward, He will do miraculous things and teach you what hope is. This is the only price: to open the heart to faith and He will do the rest.
This is the paradox and, at the same time, the strongest, highest element of our hope! A hope founded on a promise that, from the human point of view seems uncertain and unpredictable, but which does not fail not even in face of death, when the one who promises is the God of the Resurrection and of life. This is not promised by just anyone! He who promises is the God of the Resurrection and of life.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, today let us ask the Lord for the grace to remain founded not so much on our securities, on our capacities, but on the hope that flows from God’s promise, as true children of Abraham. When God promises, He brings to fulfilment what He promises. He never fails in His word. And then our life will assume a new light, in the awareness that He who resurrected His Son will also resurrect us and render us truly one with Him, together with all our brethren in the faith. All of us believe. Today we are in the Square, we praise the Lord, we will sing the Our Father, then we will receive the Blessing . . . but this passes. But this is also a promise of hope. If our heart is open today, I assure you that we will all meet in Heaven’s Square, which never ever passes. This is God’s promise and this is our hope, if we open our hearts. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the priests of the Focolare Movement, the “Provida Italia” Association and the Pro-Good Friday Committee of Cave. I greet the faithful of Cassino, who are observing the 70th anniversary of the consecration of the church of Saint Anthony of Padua; the “Unasca Italia” Group and the Basket for Ever team of Gaeta. May the visit to the Eternal City increase communion in each one with the universal Church and the Successor of Peter.
Finally, a special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Dear young people, the Lenten Season is precious to rediscover the importance of the faith in daily life; dear sick, unite your sufferings to the cross of Christ for the building of the civilization of love; and you, dear newlyweds, favor God’s presence in your new family.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
The Holy Father’s Appeal
I am happy to greet the delegation of the Iraqi super-intendancy, made up of representatives of different religious groups, accompanied by His Eminence Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue. The richness of the beloved Iraqi nation lies precisely in this mosaic that represents unity in diversity, strength in union, prosperity in harmony. Dear Brothers, I encourage you to continue on this path and I invite you to pray so that Iraq may find peace, unity and prosperity in reconciliation and harmony between its diverse ethnic and religious components. My thought goes to the civilian populations trapped in the western districts of Mosul and the displaced because of war, to whom I feel united in suffering through prayer and spiritual closeness. In expressing profound grief for the victims of the bloody conflict, I renew to all the appeal to commit themselves with all their strength in the protection of civilians as an imperative and urgent obligation.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

#PopeFrancis "We have a common father on Earth: Abraham,” to #Interreligious delegation

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday greeted the members of a delegation from the Iraqi Supervisory Boards and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
“Your visit is a true, fraternal richness, and is, therefore, a path towards peace among all, peace in the heart, in the family, in your country, and in the world,” the Pope told the group in a private audience ahead of his weekly General Audience.
The Iraqi Supervisory Boards are made up of Shiites and Sunnis, as well as Christians, Yazidis, and Sabeans/Mandaeans, and are part of a Permanent Committee for interreligious dialogue.
Pope Francis said this expression of dialogue and solidarity is most welcome. “We are all brothers, and where there is brotherhood, there is peace. We are all sons of God.”
The Holy Father went on to repeat Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran’s words of greeting to the group.
“We have a common father on Earth: Abraham,” the Pope said. “And out of that first ‘going forth’ of Abraham, we all come together, up until today.”
“We are brothers, and as brothers, we are all different and all the same, like fingers on a hand: there are five fingers; all are fingers but all are different. I thank God, the Lord, who helped us all meet here.”
In conclusion, the Holy Father invoked a blessing upon those present: “I ask Almighty God to bless you all, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Thank you.”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday March 29, 2017 - #Eucharist


Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 246


Reading 1IS 49:8-15

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:8-9, 13CD-14, 17-18

R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Verse Before The GospelJN 11:25A, 26

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.

GospelJN 5:17-30

Jesus answered the Jews:
"My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

"I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me."

What are the Stations of the #Cross - Powerful #Prayer of Jesus' sufferings for Us - With Indulgences - SHARE

The Stations of the Cross is a series of images showing the struggles of Jesus Christ from his condemnation to his crucifixion. They are especially prayed during Lent and Good Friday. There are usually 14 images that are hung in order around a church or along a path. People walk from image to image, and stop at each "station" saying prayers and possibly reading scripture passages. This prayer is often held by groups or individually. Other names for the Stations of the Cross are the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or, The Way. In Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa is the actual path that Jesus walked, and the stations are the actual places where the events occurred.  St. Francis of Assisi started the tradition of moving from station to station although it was practiced less formerly before. In Lent, and on Good Friday, this practice is very popular but it is also prayed during the year.The number of stations varied throughout history; Pope Clement XII extended to all churches the right to have the stations. Ultimately, the stations are an act of love towards Jesus to thank him for the great sacrifices he made for love of us and to atone for our sins.
Here is the most common list of Stations:
 1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus carries his cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets his mother
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
11.Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
15. Resurrection of Jesus is sometimes included as a fifteenth station.
Common prayers at each Station:
(while genuflecting)

P/ We adore thee O Christ and we praise thee.

C/Becuase by thy Holy cross thou hast redeemed the world.

And, when moving from station to station:

All: Holy Mother, pierce me thorugh, in my heart each wound renew, of my saviour crucified.

Indulgences are: 
  • A plenary indulgence every time the devotion is completed.
  • An additional plenary indulgence if one receives Holy Communion on the day.
  • Also an additional plenary indulgence if one performs the devotion ten times and receives Holy Communion within a month after so doing.
  • A partial indulgence of ten years for every Station made if one was not able to finish the Stations.
    The conditions for gaining them are
    • Walking from Station to Station when making the Way of the Cross privately; when making it publicly, it suffices for the priest with the altar boys to do so. Meditate at each Station on the sufferings of our Lord.





  • These two conditions are essential. No oral prayers are prescribed; yet they are profitable.
  • A plenary indulgence* is granted to the faithful for making the Stations of the Cross under the normal conditions: 





  • one is free from all attachment from sin
  • one receives the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist (7 days before or after)
  • one prays for the intentions of the Pope (1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be) 
  • Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    Saint March 29 : St. Barachisius and St. Jonas of Perisa


    Sts. Barachisius and Jonas
    PERSIAN MARTYRS
    Feast: March 29


         Information:
    Feast Day:March 29
    Died:24 December 327
    They were monks at a monastery in Perisa (modern Iran) and were arrested during the persecution conducted by Sassanid King Shapur II (r. 309-379). Barachisius and Jonas were giving spiritual support to other martyrs when they were taken into custody. Refusing to abjure the faith, Jonas was crushed to death, and his body cut to pieces. Barachisius had brimstone and boiling pitch poured down his throat.

    (Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)

    #BreakingNews Priest killed on Sunday in Mexico - victim of theft - RIP Fr. Felipe Altamirano - Please Pray


    Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - Father Felipe Carrillo Altamirano was killed on Sunday, March 26 in the village of El Nayar, Prelature of Jesús María del Nayar, Nayarit state, apparently victim of an assault for theft. The Mexican Bishops' Conference published the news through a statement, sent to Fides, stressing that once again a Catholic priest was killed. At the same time it expresses condolences to the priest’s family and to the Bishop of the Territorial Prelature of Nayar, His Exc. Mgr. José de Jesús González Hernández, O.F.M.
    Father Felipe is the second priest killed since the beginning of the year: the first was Father Joaquin Hernandez Sifuentes, in the diocese of Saltillo, in January (see Fides 13/01/2017).
    The Bishops’ statement commented the sad news: "Jesus Christ give us the strength to fight in order to build a reconciled and peaceful, just and fraternal world. Death is not the end of the message of love that our Savior brought us but the fullness of life. With his priesthood, father Felipe embodied these certainties that give us faith".
    The Territorial Prelature of El Nayar is located in the Mexican state of Nayarit, and is one of the 20 municipalities of this state. According to data provided by the Prelature there are 11 diocesan priests (2 indigenous), 14 religious priests and 10 religious non-Franciscan priests and 30 religious women. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 28/03/2017)

    Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday March 28, 2017 - #Eucharist


    Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
    Lectionary: 245


    Reading 1EZ 47:1-9, 12

    The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
    back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
    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 right 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 right side.
    Then when he had walked off to the east
    with a measuring cord in his hand,
    he measured off a thousand cubits
    and had me wade through the water,
    which was ankle-deep.
    He measured off another thousand
    and once more had me wade through the water,
    which was now knee-deep.
    Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
    the water was up to my waist.
    Once more he measured off a thousand,
    but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
    for the water had risen so high it had become a river
    that could not be crossed except by swimming.
    He asked me, "Have you seen this, son of man?"
    Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
    Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
    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. (8) The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
    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 Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
    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 Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 
    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 Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. 

    Verse Before The GospelPS 51:12A, 14A

    A clean heart create for me, O God;
    give me back the joy of your salvation.

    GospelJN 5:1-16

    There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
    Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
    a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
    In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
    One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
    When Jesus saw him lying there
    and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
    "Do you want to be well?"
    The sick man answered him,
    "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
    when the water is stirred up;
    while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me."
    Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk."
    Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

    Now that day was a sabbath.
    So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
    "It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat."
    He answered them, "The man who made me well told me,
    'Take up your mat and walk.'"
    They asked him,
    "Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?"
    The man who was healed did not know who it was,
    for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
    After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
    "Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
    so that nothing worse may happen to you."
    The man went and told the Jews
    that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
    Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
    because he did this on a sabbath.

    #PopeFrancis "Peace must be built on justice, on integral human development, on respect for fundamental human rights..." to UN Conference against Nuclear Weapons


    Vatican Radio: Pope Francis has sent a message to the “United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination,” the first part of which is taking place in New York from 27-31 March. The message was read by Msgr Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States, and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the meeting.
    Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ Message:
    To Her Excellency Elayne Whyte Gómez
    President of the United Nations Conference
    to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument
    to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,
    Leading Towards their Total Elimination
    I extend cordial greetings to you, Madam President, and to all the representatives of the various nations and international organizations, and of civil society participating in this Conference.  I wish to encourage you to work with determination in order to promote the conditions necessary for a world without nuclear weapons.
    On 25 September 2015, before the General Assembly of the United Nations, I emphasized what the Preamble and first Article of the United Nations Charter indicate as the foundations of the international juridical framework: peace, the pacific solution of disputes and the development of friendly relations between nations.  An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind – are contradictory to the very spirit of the United Nations.  We must therefore commit ourselves to a world without nuclear weapons, by fully implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, both in letter and spirit (cf. Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations, 25 September 2015).
    But why give ourselves this demanding and forward-looking goal in the present international context characterized by an unstable climate of conflict, which is both cause and indication of the difficulties encountered in advancing and strengthening the process of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation? 
    If we take into consideration the principal threats to peace and security with their many dimensions in this multipolar world of the twenty-first century as, for example, terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, poverty, not a few doubts arise regarding the inadequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to such challenges.  These concerns are even greater when we consider the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences that would follow from any use of nuclear weapons, with devastating, indiscriminate and uncontainable effects, over time and space.  Similar cause for concern arises when examining the waste of resources spent on nuclear issues for military purposes, which could instead be used for worthy priorities like the promotion of peace and integral human development, as well as the fight against poverty, and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
    We need also to ask ourselves how sustainable is a stability based on fear, when it actually increases fear and undermines relationships of trust between peoples.           
    International peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power.  Peace must be built on justice, on integral human development, on respect for fundamental human rights, on the protection of creation, on the participation of all in public life, on trust between peoples, on the support of peaceful institutions, on access to education and health, on dialogue and solidarity.  From this perspective, we need to go beyond nuclear deterrence: the international community is called upon to adopt forward-looking strategies to promote the goal of peace and stability and to avoid short-sighted approaches to the problems surrounding national and international security.
    In this context, the ultimate goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons becomes both a challenge and a moral and humanitarian imperative.  A concrete approach should promote a reflection on an ethics of peace and multilateral and cooperative security that goes beyond the fear and isolationism that prevail in many debates today.  Achieving a world without nuclear weapons involves a long-term process, based on the awareness that “everything is connected” within the perspective of an integral ecology (cf. Laudato Si’, 117, 138).  The common destiny of mankind demands the pragmatic strengthening of dialogue and the building and consolidating of mechanisms of trust and cooperation, capable of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.
    Growing interdependence and globalization mean that any response to the threat of nuclear weapons should be collective and concerted, based on mutual trust.  This trust can be built only through dialogue that is truly directed to the common good and not to the protection of veiled or particular interests; such dialogue, as far as possible, should include all: nuclear states, countries which do not possess nuclear weapons, the military and private sectors, religious communities, civil societies, and international organizations.  And in this endeavour we must avoid those forms of mutual recrimination and polarization which hinder dialogue rather than encourage it.  Humanity has the ability to work together in building up our common home; we have the freedom, intelligence and capacity to lead and direct technology, to place limits on our power, and to put all this at the service of another type of progress: one that is more human, social and integral (cf. ibid., 13, 78, 112; Message for the 22nd Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change (COP22), 10 November 2016).
    This Conference intends to negotiate a Treaty inspired by ethical and moral arguments.  It is an exercise in hope and it is my wish that it may also constitute a decisive step along the road towards a world without nuclear weapons.  Although this is a significantly complex and long-term goal, it is not beyond our reach.
    Madam President, I sincerely wish that the efforts of this Conference may be fruitful and provide an effective contribution to advancing an ethic of peace and of multilateral and cooperative security, which humanity very much needs today.  Upon all those gathered at this important meeting, and upon the citizens of the countries you represent, I invoke the blessings of the Almighty.
                                                                                                                FRANCIS
    From the Vatican, 23 March 2017