Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Quote to SHARE by St. Anthony the Great : "The devil is afraid of us when we pray and make sacrifices...He runs away when we make the Sign of the Cross. "

"The devil is afraid of us when we pray and make sacrifices. He is also afraid when we are humble and good. He is especially afraid when we love Jesus very much. He runs away when we make the Sign of the Cross."
 + St. Anthony the Great 

#PopeFrancis "That is why we pray: Lord, make us artisans of unity" Homily - FULL TEXT + Mass Video

Pope Francis' Homily for Mass at Temuco: Full text
Full text of Pope Francis' homily during the Mass celebrated at Maquehue Airport in Temuco APOSTOLIC VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO CHILE
Homily at the Mass for the Progress of Peoples
Temuco
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
“Mari, Mari” [Good morning!]
“Küme tünngün ta niemün” [“Peace be with you!” (Lk 24:36)]
I thank God for allowing me to visit this beautiful part of our continent, the Araucanía.  It is a land blessed by the Creator with immense and fertile green fields, with forests full of impressive araucarias – the fifth “praise” offered by Gabriela Mistral to this Chilean land[1] – and with its majestic snow-capped volcanoes, its lakes and rivers full of life.  This landscape lifts us up to God, and it is easy to see his hand in every creature.  Many generations of men and women have loved this land with fervent gratitude.  Here I would like to pause and greet in a special way the members of the Mapuche people, as well as the other indigenous peoples who dwell in these southern lands: the Rapanui (from Easter Island), the Aymara, the Quechua and the Atacameños, and many others.
Seen through the eyes of tourists, this land will thrill us as we pass through it, but if we put our ear to the ground, we will hear it sing: “Arauco has a sorrow that cannot be silenced, the injustices of centuries that everyone sees taking place”.[2]
In the context of thanksgiving for this land and its people, but also of sorrow and pain, we celebrate this Eucharist.  We do so in this Maqueue aerodrome, which was the site of grave violations of human rights.  We offer this Mass for all those who suffered and died, and for those who daily bear the burden of those many injustices.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross bears all the sin and pain of our peoples, in order to redeem it.
In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus prays to the Father “that they may all be one” (Jn17:21).  At a crucial moment in his own life, he stops to plea for unity.  In his heart, he knows that one of the greatest threats for his disciples and for all mankind will be division and confrontation, the oppression of some by others.  How many tears would be spilled!  Today we want to cling to this prayer of Jesus, to enter with him into this garden of sorrows with those sorrows of our own, and to ask the Father, with Jesus, that we too may be one.  May confrontation and division never gain the upper hand among us.
This unity implored by Jesus is a gift that must be persistently sought, for the good of our land and its children.  We need to be on our watch against temptations that may arise to “poison the roots” of this gift that God wants to give us, and with which he invites us to play a genuine role in history.

1. False synonyms
 

One of the main temptations we need to resist is that of confusing unity with uniformity.  Jesus does not ask his Father that all may be equal, identical, for unity is not meant to neutralize or silence differences.  Unity is not an idol or the result of forced integration; it is not a harmony bought at the price of leaving some people on the fringes.  The richness of a land is born precisely from the desire of each of its parts to share its wisdom with others.  Unity can never be a stifling uniformity imposed by the powerful, or a segregation that does not value the goodness of others.  The unity sought and offered by Jesus acknowledges what each people and each culture are called to contribute to this land of blessings.  Unity is a reconciled diversity, for it will not allow personal or community wrongs to be perpetrated in its name.  We need the riches that each people has to offer, and we must abandon the notion that there are higher or lower cultures.  A beautiful “chamal” requires weavers who know the art of blending the different materials and colours, who spend time with each element and each stage of the work.  That process can be imitated industrially, but everyone will recognize a machine-made garment.  The art of unity requires true artisans who know how to harmonize differences in the “design” of towns, roads, squares and landscapes.  It is not “desk art”, or paperwork; it is a craft demanding attention and understanding.  That is the source of its beauty, but also of its resistance to the passage of time and to whatever storms may come its way.
The unity that our people need requires that we listen to one another, but even more importantly, that we esteem one another.  “This is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them”.[3]  This sets us on the path of solidarity as a means of weaving unity, a means of building history.  The solidarity that makes us say: We need one another, and our differences so that this land can remain beautiful!  It is the only weapon we have against the “deforestation” of hope.  That is why we pray: Lord, make us artisans of unity.

2. The weapons of unity.
 

If unity is to be built on esteem and solidarity, then we cannot accept any means of attaining it.  There are two kinds of violence that, rather than encouraging the growth of unity and reconciliation, actually threaten them.  First, we have to be on our guard against coming up with “elegant” agreements that will never be put into practice.  Nice words, detailed plans – necessary as these are – but, when unimplemented, end up “erasing with the elbow, what was written by the hand”.  This is one kind of violence, because it frustrates hope.
In the second place, we have to insist that a culture of mutual esteem may not be based on acts of violence and destruction that end up taking human lives.  You cannot assert yourself by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division.  Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation.  Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie.  That is why we say “no to destructive violence” in either of its two forms.
Those two approaches are like the lava of a volcano that wipes out and burns everything in its path, leaving in its wake only barrenness and desolation.  Let us instead seek the path of active non-violence, “as a style of politics for peace”.[4]  Let us seek, and never tire of seeking, dialogue for the sake of unity.  That is why we cry out: Lord, make us artisans of your unity.
All of us, to a certain extent, are people of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7).  All of us are called to “the good life” (Küme Mongen), as the ancestral wisdom of the Mapuche people reminds us.  How far we have to go, and how much we still have to learn!  Küme Mongen, a deep yearning that not only rises up from our hearts, but resounds like a loud cry, like a song, in all creation.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, for the children of this earth, for the children of their children, let us say with Jesus to the Father: may we too be one; make us artisans of unity.

[1] GABRIELA MISTRAL, Elogios de la tierra de Chile.
[2] VIOLETA PARRA, Arauco tiena una pena.
[3]  Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 246.
[4] Message for the 2017 World Day of Peace. 

RIP Father William Baer, at Age of 60 - Beloved Theologian and Pastor

Father William Baer, 60, pastor of Transfiguration in Oakdale, died early Jan. 14.

The parish made the announcement on its Facebook page that afternoon, and people began posting condolences thereafter.
“I can’t describe how much Father Baer meant to my family,” posted Chad Parent. “He has done so much for us, and we will be eternally grateful.”
In her post, Jane Johnston referred to Father Baer as a “walking Bible.”
“Other than our guide in Jerusalem who is a ‘walking Bible,’ the only other person I’ve known is Father Baer, who was also a walking Bible,” she wrote. “I often thought while listening to him how one person can hold so much knowledge. We were his parishioners, and we all were so blessed to have had him as our shepherd. What a[n] honor to have known such a person. May we never forget his wit and his never-ending desire to teach us the way to Jesus.”
Father Baer was ordained a priest May 25, 1996, at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul and has served as Transfiguration’s pastor since 2010. He was the former rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul.
Funeral arrangements are pending, and more details are forthcoming.
Text SOURCE The Catholic Spirit

#BreakingNews Young Coptic Christian Killed by Extremists for his Christian Faith

North Sinai, a young Copt killed: he had a cross tattooed on his wrist



ASIANEWS REPORT: The killers promise to "kill more Copts". Bassem Herz Attalhah was killed under the eyes of his brother, who saved himself because his tattoo was hidden by his sleeve. Already in 2010 al Qaeda had promised to clean Sinai from Christians.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Killed because he had a cross tattooed on his wrist. This was the fate of Bassem Herz Attalhah, 27, the latest victim of Islamic extremists belonging to the "Islamic State" in Sinai. This trail of blood seems destined to continue with the terrorists' promise to "kill more Copts".
On January 13, Bassem was returning home from work in al-Arish, the capital of Northern Sinai governorate. With him were his brother Osama, 38, and his friend Mohamed. The group was stopped by three young people between 23 and 25 years old, armed but with their face uncovered.
"They approached and asked Bassem to show his right wrist, and when they saw the cross tattoo they asked him, 'Are you a Christian?'", says Osama to World Watch Monitor. The cross tattooed on the wrist is a centuries-old tradition of Christians in the region, especially for the Coptic community.
The extremists controlled the wrists of the other two. Not knowing that Osama was Bassem's brother and not seeing the tattoo on his sleeve, they believed him Muslim. "Bassem told them I have children," says Osama.
"They fired two shots on the ground near my leg and they asked me to leave ... and then they shot Bassem in the head. I could not believe what had happened to my brother. He fell to the ground in front of me and I could not do anything ".
Osama concludes his story by remembering that his legs gave in because of the shock as he sought help. Upon hearing the news, the mother of the two was taken to the hospital after fainting.
Bassem's phone ended up in the hands of the Islamic militia, who responded to a phone call from Milad Wasfi, a friend who could not believe the news of his death. Before hanging up, Bassem’s  killers "said they belonged to the State of Sinai and promised that they would kill more Copts".
The Christians of Egypt have been the target of the Islamic terrorists of Sinai for years. Already in 2010, Al Qaeda had threatened the Egyptian Church, accused of holding two Muslim women against their will. Last March, the violence forced hundreds of Coptic families to abandon their homes and lands to al-Arish. Throughout Egypt, attacks on Christians have increased since the 2011 revolution. The last attack took place December 29, when eight faithful were killed in a shootout at the entrance of the church of Mar Mina, about 30 km south from the Egyptian capital.

#PopeFrancis "... the visibility and the sacramentality of the Church belong to all the people of God ." FULL TEXT to Bishops in Chile + Video

Pope Francis meets with Chilean Bishops
On the first full day of his apostolic journey to Chile, Pope Francis met with the Bishops of the nation in the Sacresty of Santiago Cathedral. 
This is the full text of his address: APOSTOLIC VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO CHILE 
Greeting of the Holy Father
Meeting with Bishops
Santiago Cathedral Sacristy
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Dear Brothers:
         I thank you for the greeting that the President of the Conference has offered to me in the name of all present.
         Before all else, I would like to greet Bishop Bernardino Piñero Carvallo, who this year celebrates his sixtieth anniversary of episcopal ordination – he is the oldest bishop in the world, not only in age but also in years of episcopate – who was present for four sessions of the Second Vatican Council.  A marvellous living memory.
         Soon a year will have passed since your ad limina visit.  Now it is my turn to come and visit you.  I am pleased that our meeting follows that with our consecrated men and women, for one of our principal tasks is precisely to be close to consecrated life and to our priests.  If the shepherd wanders off, the sheep too will stray and fall prey to any wolf that comes along.  The fatherhood of the bishop with his presbyterate!  A fatherhood that neither paternalism nor authoritarianism, but a gift to be sought.  Stay close to your priests, like Saint Joseph, with a fatherhood that helps them to grow and to develop the charisms that the Holy Spirit has wished to pour out upon your respective presbyterates.
         I know that ours is a brief meeting, but I would like to reiterate some of the points I made during our meeting in Rome.  I can sum them up in the following phrase: the consciousness of being a people.
         One of the problems facing our societies today is the sense of being orphaned, the feeling of not belonging to anyone.  This “postmodern” feeling can seep into us and into our clergy.  We begin to think that we belong to no one; we forget that we are part of God’s holy and faithful people and that the Church is not, nor will it ever be, an élite of consecrated men and women, priests and bishops.  Without this consciousness of being a people, we will not be able to sustain our life, our vocation and our ministry.  To forget this – as I said to the Commission for Latin America – “carries many risks and distortions in our own experience, as individuals and in community, of the ministry that the Church has entrusted to us”.[1]  The lack of consciousness of belonging to God’s people as servants, and not masters, can lead us to one of the temptations that is most damaging to the missionary outreach that we are called to promote: clericalism, which ends up as a caricature of the vocation we have received.
         A failure to realize that the mission belongs to the entire Church, and not to the individual priest or bishop, limits the horizon, and even worse, stifles all the initiatives that the Spirit may be awakening in our midst.  Let us be clear about this.  The laypersons are not our peons, or our employees.  They don’t have to parrot back whatever we say.  “Clericalism, far from giving impetus to various contributions and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame to which the entire Church is called to bear witness.  Clericalism forgets that the visibility and the sacramentality of the Church belong to all the people of God (cf. Lumen Gentium, 9-14), not only to the few chosen and enlightened”.[2]
         Let us be on guard, please, against this temptation, especially in seminaries and throughout the process of formation.  Seminaries must stress that future priests be capable of serving God’s holy and faithful people, acknowledging the diversity of cultures and renouncing the temptation to any form of clericalism.  The priest is a minister of Jesus Christ: Jesus is the protagonist who makes himself present in the entire people of God.   Tomorrow’s priests must be trained with a view to the future, since their ministry will be carried out in a secularized world.  This in turn demands that we pastors discern how best to prepare them for carrying out their mission in these concrete circumstances and not in our “ideal worlds or situations”.   Their mission is carried out in fraternal unity with the whole People of God.  Side by side, supporting and encouraging the laity in a climate of discernment and synodality, two of the essential features of the priest of tomorrow.  Let us say no to clericalism and to ideal worlds that are only part of our thinking, but touch the life of no one.
         And in this regard, to beg, to implore from the Holy Spirit the gift of dreaming and working for a missionary and prophetic option capable of transforming everything, so that our customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and ecclesial structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of Chile rather than for ecclesiastical self-preservation.  Let us not be afraid to strip ourselves of everything that separates us from the missionary mandate.[3]
         Dear brothers, let us commend ourselves to loving protection of Mary, Mother of Chile.  Let us pray together for our presbyterates and for our consecrated men and women.  Let us pray for God’s holy and faithful people.

[1] Letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (21 March 2016).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 27.

#PopeFrancis "... the Gospel is a journey of conversion, not just for “others” but for ourselves as well." FULL TEXT to Religious in Chile

FULL TEXT: The Holy Father’s Prepared Remarks
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am happy to be meeting with you. I like the way that Cardinal Ezzati presented you: Here they are… consecrated women, consecrated men, priests, permanent deacons, and seminarians. It made me think of the day of our ordination or consecration when after being presented, each of us said: “Here I am, Lord, to do your will”. In this meeting, we want to tell the Lord: “Here we are”, and renew our “yes” to him. We want to renew together our response to the call that one day took our hearts by surprise.
I think that it can help us to start with the Gospel passage that we heard, and to share three moments experienced by Peter and the first community: Peter and the community disheartened, Peter and the community shown mercy, and Peter and the community transfigured. I play with this pairing of Peter and the community since the life of apostles always has this twofold dimension, the personal and the communitarian. They go hand-in-hand and we cannot separate them. We are called individually but always as part of a larger group. Where vocation is concerned, there is no such thing as a selfie! Vocation demands that somebody else take your picture, and that is what we are about to do!
1. Peter disheartened
I have always liked the way the Gospels do not adorn or soften things or paint them in nice colors. They show us life as it is and not as it should be. The Gospel is not afraid to show us the difficult, and even tense, moments experienced by the disciples.
Let us reconstruct the scene. Jesus had been killed, but some women said he was alive (Lk 24:22-24). Even after the disciples had seen the risen Jesus, the event was so powerful that they needed time to be able to understand what had happened. That understanding would come to them at Pentecost with the sending of the Holy Spirit. The encounter with the Risen Lord would require time to find a place in the hearts of his disciples.
The disciples go home. They go back to do what they knew how to do: to fish. Not all of them, but only some of them. Were they divided? Fragmented? We don’t know. The Scriptures tell us that those who were there caught nothing. Their nets were empty.
Yet another kind of emptiness unconsciously weighed upon them: dismay and confusion at the death of their Master. He was no more; he had been crucified. But not only was he crucified but so were they, since Jesus’s death raised a whirlwind of conflicts in the hearts of his friends. Peter had denied him; Judas had betrayed him; the others had fled and hid  themselves. Only a handful of women and the beloved disciple remained. The rest took off. In a matter of days, everything had fallen apart. These are the hours of dismay and confusion in the life of the disciple. There are times “when the tempest of persecutions, tribulations, doubts, and so forth, is raised by cultural and historical events, it is not easy to find the path to follow. Those times have their own temptations: the temptation to debate ideas, to avoid the matter at hand, to be too concerned with our enemies… And I believe that the worst temptation of all is to keep dwelling on our own unhappiness”.[1] Yes, dwelling on our own unhappiness.
As Cardinal Ezzati told us, “the priesthood and consecrated life in Chile have endured and continue to endure difficult times of significant upheavals and challenges. Side by side with the fidelity of the immense majority, there have sprung up weeds of evil and their aftermath of scandal and desertion”.
Times of upheaval. I know the pain resulting from cases of abuse of minors and I am attentive to what you are doing to respond to this great and painful evil. Painful because of the harm and sufferings of the victims and their families, who saw the trust they had placed in the Church’s ministers betrayed. Painful too for the suffering of ecclesial communities, but also painful for you, brothers and sisters, who, after working so hard, have seen the harm that has led to suspicion and questioning; in some or many of you this has been a source of doubt, fear or a lack of confidence. I know that at times you have been insulted in the metro or walking on the street and that by going around in clerical attire in many places you pay a heavy price. For this reason, I suggest that we ask God to grant us the clear-sightedness to call reality by its name, the strength to seek forgiveness and the ability to listen to what he tells us.
There is something else I would like to mention. Our societies are changing. Chile today is quite different from what I knew in my youth, when I was at school. New and different cultural expressions are being born which do not fit into our familiar patterns. We have to realize that many times we do not know how to deal with these new situations. Sometimes we dream of the “fleshpots of Egypt” and we forget that the promised land lies ahead of us, that the promise is not about yesterday but about tomorrow. We can yield to the temptation of becoming closed, isolating ourselves and defending our ways of seeing things, which then turn out as nothing more than fine monologues. We can be tempted to think that everything is wrong, and in place of “good news”, the only thing we profess is apathy and disappointment. As a result, we shut our eyes to the pastoral challenges, thinking that the Spirit has nothing to say about them. In this way, we forget that the Gospel is a journey of conversion, not just for “others” but for ourselves as well.
Whether we like it or not, we are called to face reality as it is – our own personal reality and the reality of our communities and societies. The nets – the disciples say – are empty, and we can understand their feelings. They return home with no great tales to tell; they go back empty-handed; they return disheartened.
What became of those strong, enthusiastic and elegant disciples who felt themselves chosen and had left everything to us follow Jesus (cf. Mt 1:16-20)? What became of those disciples who were so sure of themselves that they would go to prison and even give their lives for the Master (cf. Lk 22:33), who to defend him would have liked to send fire upon the earth (cf. Lk 9:54). For whom they would unsheathe their swords and fight (cf. Lk 22:49-51)? What became of that Peter who reproached the Master about how he should live his life (cf. Mk 8:31-33)?
2. Peter shown mercy
It is the hour of truth in the life of the first community. It is time for Peter to have to confront a part of himself. The part of him that many times he didn’t want to see. He experienced his limitation, his frailty, and his sinfulness. Peter, the temperamental, impulsive leader and savior, self-sufficient and over-confident in himself and in his possibilities, had to acknowledge his weakness and sin. He was a sinner like everyone else, as needy as the others, as frail as anyone else. Peter had failed the one he had promised to protect. It is a crucial moment in Peter’s life. As disciples, as Church, we can have the same experience: there are moments when we have to face not our success but our weakness. Crucial moments in the life of a disciple, but also the times when an apostle is born. Let us allow the text to guide us.
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you
love me more than these?” (Jn 21:15).
After they ate, Jesus takes Peter aside and his only words are a question, a question about love: Do you love me? Jesus neither reproaches nor condemns. The only thing that he wants to do is to save Peter. He wants to save him from the danger of remaining closed in on his sin, constantly dwelling with remorse on his frailty, the danger of giving up, because of that frailty, on all the goodness he had known with Jesus. Jesus wants to save him from self-centeredness and isolation. He wants to save him from the destructive attitude of becoming a victim or of thinking “what does it matter”, which waters down any commitment and ends up in the worst sort of relativism. Jesus wants to set him free from seeing his opponents as enemies and being upset by opposition and criticism. He wants to free him from being downcast and, above all, negative. By his question, Jesus asks Peter to listen to his heart and to learn how to discern. Since “it was not God’s way to defend the truth at the cost of charity, or charity at the cost of truth, or to smooth things away at the cost of both. Jesus wants to avoid turning Peter into someone who hurts others
by telling the truth, or is kind to others by telling lies, or simply someone paralyzed by his own uncertainty”,[2] as can happen to us in these situations.
Jesus questioned Peter about love and kept asking until Peter could give him a realistic response: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17). In this way, Jesus confirms him in his mission. In this way, he now makes him definitively his apostle. What is it that confirms Peter as an apostle? What sustains us as apostles? One thing only: that we “received mercy” (1 Tim 1:12-16). “For all our sins, our limitations, our failings, for all the many times we have fallen, Jesus has looked upon us and drawn near to us. He has given us his hand and shown us mercy. All of us can think back and remember the many times the Lord looked upon us, drew near and showed us mercy”.[3] We are not here because we are better than others; we are not superheroes who stoop down from the heights to encounter mere mortals. Rather, we are sent as men and women conscious of having been forgiven. That is the source of our joy. We are consecrated, shepherds modelled on Jesus, who suffered died and rose. A consecrated man or woman sees his or her wounds as signs of the resurrection; who sees in the wounds of this world the power of the resurrection; who, like Jesus, does not meet his brothers and sisters with reproach and condemnation.
Jesus Christ does not appear to his disciples without his wounds; those very wounds enabled Thomas to profess his faith. We are not asked to ignore or hide our wounds. A Church with wounds can understand the wounds of today’s world and make them her own, suffering with them, accompanying them and seeking to heal them. A wounded Church does not make herself the centre of things, does not believe that she is perfect, but puts at the centre the one who can heal those wounds, whose name is Jesus Christ
The knowledge that we are wounded sets us free. Yes, it sets us free from becoming self-referential and thinking ourselves superior. It sets us free from the Promethean tendency of “those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style of the past”.[4]
In Jesus, our wounds are risen. They inspire solidarity; they help us to tear down the walls that enclose us in elitism and they impel us to build bridges and to encounter all those yearning for that merciful love which Christ alone can give. “How often we dream up vast apostolic projects, meticulously planned, just like defeated generals! But this is to deny our history as a Church, which is glorious precisely because it is a history of sacrifice, of hopes and daily struggles, of lives spent in service and fidelity to work, tiring as it may be, for all work is ‘the sweat of our brow’”.[5] I am concerned when I see communities more worried about their image, about occupying spaces, about appearances and publicity, than about going out to touch the suffering of our faithful people. How searching and insightful were the words of warning issued by one Chilean saint: “All those methods will fail that are imposed by uniformity, that try to bring us to God by making us forget about our brothers and sisters, that make us close our eyes to the universe rather than teaching us to open them and raise all things to the Creator of all, that make us selfish and close us
in on ourselves”.[6]
God’s people neither expect nor need us to be superheroes. They expect pastors, consecrated persons, who know what it is to be compassionate, who can give a helping hand, who can spend time with those who have fallen and, like Jesus, help them to break out of that endless remorse that poisons the soul.
3. Peter transfigured
Jesus asks Peter to discern, and events in Peter’s life then begin to come together, like the prophetic gesture of the washing of feet. Peter, who resisted having his feet washed, now begins to understand that true greatness comes from being lowly and a servant.[7] What a good teacher our Lord is! The prophetic gesture of Jesus points to the prophetic
Church that, washed of her sin, is unafraid to go out to serve a wounded humanity. Peter experienced in his flesh the wound of sin, but also of his own limitations and weaknesses. Yet he learned from Jesus that his wounds could be a path of resurrection. To know both Peter disheartened and Peter transfigured is an invitation to pass from being a Church of the unhappy and disheartened to a Church that serves all those people who are unhappy and disheartened in our midst. A Church capable of serving her Lord in those who are hungry, imprisoned, thirsting, homeless, naked and infirm… (Mt 25:35). A service that has nothing to do with a welfare mentality or an attitude of paternalism, but rather with the conversion of hearts. The problem is not feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting the sick, but rather recognizing that the poor, the naked, the sick, prisoners and the homeless have the dignity to sit at our table, to feel “at home” among us, to feel part of a family. This is the sign that the kingdom of heaven is in our midst. This is the sign of a Church wounded by sin, shown mercy by the Lord, and made prophetic
by his call.
To renew prophecy is to renew our commitment not to expect an ideal world, an ideal community, or an ideal disciple in order to be able to live and evangelize, but rather to make it possible for every disheartened person to encounter Jesus. One does not love ideal situations or ideal communities; one loves persons. The frank, sorrowful and prayerful recognition of our limitations, far from distancing us from our Lord, enables us to return to Jesus in the knowledge that “with his newness, he is always able to renew our lives and our communities, and even if the Christian message has known periods of darkness and ecclesial weakness, it will never grow old… Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world”.[8] How good it is for all of us to let Jesus renew our hearts. When this meeting began, I told you that we came to renew our “yes”, with enthusiasm, with passion. We want to renew our “yes”, but as a realistic “yes”, sustained by the gaze of Jesus. When you return to your homes, I ask you to draw up in your hearts a sort of spiritual testament, along the lines of Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez and his beautiful prayer that begins: “The Church that I love is the holy Church of each day… Yours, mine, the holy Church of each day… “Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the bread, the Eucharist, the humble Body of Christ of each day. With the faces of the poor, the faces of men and women who sing, who struggle, who suffer. The holy Church of each day.”
What sort of Church is it that you love? Do you love this wounded Church that encounters life in the wounds of Jesus? Thank you for this meeting. Thank you for the chance to say “yes” once more with you. May Our Lady of Mount Carmel cover you with her mantle. Please, do not forget to pray for me.
_______________________
[1] Jorge M. Bergoglio, Las Cartas de la tribulación, 9, ed. Diego de Torres, Buenos Aires, 1987.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Video Message to CELAM for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy on the American Continent, 27 August 2016.
[4] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 94.
[5] Ibid., 96.
[6] SAINT ALBERTO HURTADO, Address to the Young People of Catholic Action, 1943.
[7] “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9:35).
BOLLETTINO N. 0033 – 16.01.2018 18
[8] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 11.
[00055-EN.01] [Original text: Spanish]
Source: Vatican.va

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. January 17, 2018 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot
Lectionary: 313


Reading 11 SM 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

David spoke to Saul:
"Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine."
But Saul answered David,
"You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth."

David continued:
"The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine."
Saul answered David, "Go! the LORD will be with you."

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag.
With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
"Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?"
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, "Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field."
David answered him:
"You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves.
For the battle is the LORD's and he shall deliver you into our hands."

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine's own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

Responsorial PsalmPS 144:1B, 2, 9-10

R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My refuge and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

AlleluiaSEE MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Saint January 17 : St. Anthony the Abbot : Patron of #Amputees; Butchers; #Epilepsy; graveyards; #Monks; Pigs; skin diseases;


Feast Day: January 17
Born: 251, Herakleopolis Magna, Egypt
Died: 356, Mount Colzim, Egypt
Major Shrine: Monastery of Anthony, Egypt; Vienna, Austria His body was at Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye, Isère, France
Patron of: against pestilence; amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; butchers; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism; erysipelas; gravediggers; graveyards; hermits; hogs; Hospitallers; monks; pigs; relief from pestilence; shingles; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds


Founder of Christian monasticism. The chief source of information on St. Anthony is a Greek Life attributed to St. Athanasius (ca. 296-373). Anthony was born at Coma, near Heracleopolis Magna in Fayum, about the middle of the third century. He was the son of well-to-do parents, and on their death, in his twentieth year, he inherited their possessions. He had a desire to imitate the life of the Apostles and the early Christians, and one day, on hearing in the church the Gospel words, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all thou hast", he received them as spoken to himself, disposed of all his property and goods, and devoted himself exclusively to religious exercises. Long before this it had been usual for Christians to practice asceticism, abstain from marriage and exercising themselves in self-denial, fasting, prayer, and works of piety; but this they had done in the midst of their families, and without leaving house or home. Later on, in Egypt, such ascetics lived in huts, in the outskirts of the towns and villages, and this was the common practice about 270, when Anthony withdrew from the world. He began his career by practising the ascetical life in this fashion without leaving his native place. He used to visit the various ascetics, study their lives, and try to learn from each of them the virtue in which he seemed to excel. Then he took up his abode in one of the tombs, near his native village, and there it was that the Life records those strange conflicts with demons in the shape of wild beasts, who inflicted blows upon him, and sometimes left him nearly dead.
After fifteen years of this life, at the age of thirty-five, Anthony determined to withdraw from the habitations of men and retire in absolute solitude. He crossed the Nile, and on a mountain near the east bank, then called Pispir, now Der el Memum, he found an old fort into which he shut himself, and lived there for twenty years without seeing the face of man, food being thrown to him over the wall. He was at times visited by pilgrims, whom he refused to see; but gradually a number of would-be disciples established themselves in caves and in huts around the mountain, Thus a colony of ascetics was formed, who begged Anthony to come forth and be their guide in the spiritual life. At length, about the year 305, he yielded to their importunities an emerged from his retreat, and, to the surprise of all, he appeared to be as when he had gone in, not emaciated, but vigorous in body and mind.
For five or six years he devoted himself to the instruction and organization of the great body of monks that had grown up around him; but then he once again withdrew into the inner desert that lay between the Nile and the Red Sea, near the shore of which he fixed his abode on a mountain where still stands the monastery that bears his name, Der Mar Antonios. Here he spent the last forty-five years of his life, in a seclusion, not so strict as Pispir, for he freely saw those who came to visit him, and he used to cross the desert to Pispir with considerable frequency. The Life says that on two occasions he went to Alexandria, once after he came forth from the fort at Pispir, to strengthen the Christian martyrs in the persecution of 311, and once at the close of his life (c. 350), to preach against the Arians. The Life says he died at the age of a hundred and five, and St. Jerome places his death in 356-357. All the chronology is based on the hypothesis that this date and the figures in the Life are correct. At his own request his grave was kept secret by the two disciples who buried him, lest his body should become an object of reverence.
Of his writings, the most authentic formulation of his teaching is without doubt that which is contained in the various sayings and discourses put into his mouth in the Life, especially the long ascetic sermons (16-43) spoken on his coming forth from the fort at Pispir. It is an instruction on the duties of the spiritual life, in which the warfare with demons occupies the chief place. Though probably not an actual discourse spoken on any single occasion, it can hardly be a mere invention of the biographer, and doubtless reproduces St. Anthony's actual doctrine, brought together and co-ordinated. It is likely that many of the sayings attributed to him in the "Apophthegmata" really go back to him, and the same may be said of the stories told of him in Cassian and Palladius. There is a homogeneity about these records, and a certain dignity and spiritual elevation that seem to mark them with the stamp of truth, and to justify the belief that the picture they give us of St Anthony's personality, character, and teaching is essentially authentic. A different verdict has to be passed on the writings that go under his name, to be found in P.G., XL. The Sermons and twenty Epistles from the Arabic are by common consent pronounced wholly spurious. St. Jerome (Illustrious Men 88) knew seven epistles translated from the Coptic into Greek; the Greek appears to be lost, but a Latin version exists (ibid.), and Coptic fragments exist of three of these letters, agreeing closely with the Latin; they may be authentic, but it would be premature to decide. Better is the position of a Greek letter to Theodore, preserved in the "Epistola Ammonis ad Theophilum", sect. 20, and said to be a translation of a Coptic original; there seems to be no sufficient ground for doubting that it really was written by Anthony (see Butler, Lausiac History of Palladius, Part I, 223). The authorities are agreed that St. Anthony knew no Greek and spoke only Coptic. There exists a monastic Rule that bears St. Anthony's name, preserved in Latin and Arabic forms (P.G., XL, 1065). While it cannot be received as having been actually composed by Anthony, it probably in large measure goes back to him, being for the most part made up out of the utterances attributed to him in the Life and the "Apophthegmata"; it contains, however, an element derived from the spuria and also from the "Pachomian Rules". It was compiled at an early date, and had a great vogue in Egypt and the East. At this day it is the rule followed by the Uniat Monks of Syria and Armenia, of whom the Maronites, with sixty monasteries and 1,100 monks, are the most important; it is followed also by the scanty remnants of Coptic monachism. It will be proper to define St. Anthony's place, and to explain his influence in the history of Christian monachism. He probably was not the first Christian hermit; it is more reasonable to believe that, however little historical St. Jerome's "Vita Pauli" may be, some kernel of fact underlies the story (Butler, op. cit., Part I, 231, 232), but Paul's existence was wholly unknown unknown till long after Anthony has become the recognized leader of Christian hermits. Nor was St. Anthony a great legislator and organizer of monks, like his younger contemporary Pachomius; for, though Pachomius's first foundations were probably some ten or fifteen years later than Anthony's coming forth from his retreat at Pispir, it cannot be shown that Pachomius was directly influenced by Anthony, indeed his institute ran on quite different lines. And yet it is abundantly evident that from the middle of the fourth century throughout Egypt, as elsewhere, and among the Pachomian monks themselves, St. Anthony was looked upon as the founder and father of Christian monachism.
This great position was no doubt due to his commanding personality and high character, qualities that stand out clearly in all the records of him that have come down. The best study of his character is Newman's in the "Church of the Fathers" (reprinted in "Historical Sketches"). The following is his estimate: "His doctrine surely was pure and unimpeachable; and his temper is high and heavenly, without cowardice, without gloom, without formality, without self-complacency. Superstition is abject and crouching, it is full of thoughts of guilt; it distrusts God, and dreads the powers of evil. Anthony at least had nothing of this, being full of confidence, divine peace, cheerfulness, and valorousness, be he (as some men may judge) ever so much an enthusiast" (op. cit., Anthony in Conflict). Full of enthusiasm he was, but it did not make him fanatical or morose; his urbanity and gentleness, his moderation and sense stand out in many of the stories related of him. Abbot Moses in Cassian (Coll. II) says he had heard Anthony maintaining that of all virtues discretion was the most essential for attaining perfection; and the little known story of Eulogius and the Cripple, preserved in the Lausiac History (xxi), illustrates the kind of advice and direction he gave to those who sought his guidance.
The monasticism established under St. Anthony's direct influence became the norm in Northern Egypt, from Lycopolis (Asyut) to the Mediterranean. In contradistinction to the fully coenobitical system, established by Pachomius in the South, it continued to be of a semi-eremetical character, the monks living commonly in separate cells or huts, and coming together only occasionally for church services; they were left very much to their own devices, and the life they lived was not a community life according to rule, as now understood (see Butler, op. cit., Part I, 233-238). This was the form of monastic life in the deserts of Nitria and Scete, as portrayed by Palladius and Cassian. Such groups of semi-independent hermitages were later on called Lauras, and have always existed in the East alongside of the Basilian monasteries; in the West St. Anthony's monachism is in some measure represented by the Carthusians. Such was St. Anthony's life and character, and such his role in Christian history. He is justly recognized as the father not only of monasticism, strictly so called, but of the technical religious life in every shape and form. Few names have exercised on the human race an influence more deep and lasting, more widespread, or on the whole more beneficent.
Edited from The Catholic Encyclopedia - Image SHARED from Google Images
Prayer:
God our Father,
You gave St Anthony of Egypt
the courage and belief of an apostle
to give up his wealth,
living a life of poverty and solitude,
and to found monasteries.
Help us to be zealous in imitating his virtues
and to follow in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Grant this through the same Christ Our Lord
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Wow Pope Francis visits Women's Prison in Chile " I also think of the words of Jesus: “Let him who is without sin among you..." FULL TEXT + Video

Vatican News Release: 
Pope visits women prisoners in Santiago: Full text
Pope Francis has visited inmates at San Joaquin's Women's Penitentiary Center in Santiago. It is the first time the Pope has visited a female prison. On the first full day of his visit to Chile, Pope Francis spent time with inmates at San Joaquín women’s prison in Santiago.
It is Chile’s largest female penitentiary and hosts some 650 inmates, most of whom have convictions for drug trafficking.
The majority of women in San Joaquín prison are mothers. The children can live with them inside the jail until they are two years old and after that they can come for weekly visits.  
The Pope  met with around five hundred prisoners, together with the chaplains and a religious sister in charge of pastoral care for the inmates.  
Please find below the full text of his greetings to the women:
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
            Thank you for giving me this opportunity to visit you.  For me it is important to share this time with you and draw closer to our many brothers and sisters presently deprived of their freedom.  Thank you, Sister Nelly, for your kind words and especially for testifying that life always triumphs over death.  Thank you, Janeth, for coming forward and sharing your hurt with all of us, and for your courageous request for forgiveness.  How much we all have to learn from your act of courage and humility!  I quote your words: “We ask forgiveness from all those whom we have harmed by our misdeeds”.  I thank you for reminding us that without this attitude we lose our humanity.  We forget that we did wrong and that every day is an invitation to start over.
            I also think of the words of Jesus: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone” (Jn 8:7).  Jesus asks us to leave behind the simplistic way of thinking that divides reality into good and bad, and to enter into that other mindset that recognizes our weaknesses, limitations and even sins, and thus helps us to keep moving forward.
            As I came in, two mothers met me with their children and some flowers.  They were the ones who welcomed me, and their welcome can nicely be expressed in three words: motherchildren and flowers.
            Mother.  Many of you are mothers and you know what it means to bring a new life into the world.  You were able to “take upon yourself” a new life and bring it to birth.  Motherhood is not, and never will be a problem.  It is a gift, and one of the most wonderful gifts you can ever have.  Today you face a very real challenge: you also have to care for that life.  You are asked to care for the future.  To make it grow and to help it to develop.  Not just for yourselves, but for your children and for society as a whole.  As women, you have an incredible ability to adapt to new circumstances and move forward.  Today I appeal to that ability to bring forth the future that is alive in each one of you.  That ability enables you to resist everything that might rob you of your identity and end up by killing your hope.
Janeth was right: losing our freedom does not mean losing our dreams and hopes.  Losing our freedom is not the same thing as losing our dignity.  That is why we need to reject all those petty clichés that tell us we can’t change, that it’s not worth trying, that nothing will make a difference.  No, dear sisters!  Some things do make a difference!  All those efforts we make to build for a better future – even if often it seems they just go down the drain – all of them will surely bear fruit and be rewarded.
            The second word is children.  Children are our strength, our future, our incentive.  They are a living reminder that life has to be lived for the future, not remain in the past.  Today your freedom has been taken away, but that is not the last word.  Not at all!  Keep looking forward.  Look ahead to the day when you will return to life in society.  For this reason, I applaud and encourage every effort to spread and support projects like Espacio Mandela and the Fundación Mujer levántate.
            The name of that Foundation makes me think of the Gospel passage where people laughed at Jesus because he said that the daughter of the synagogue leader wasn’t dead, but only asleep.  Jesus showed us how to meet that kind of derision:  he went straight to her room, took her by the hand and said: “Little girl, get up!” (Mk 5:41).  Projects like those I mentioned are a living sign of Jesus, who enters into each of our homes, pays no attention to ridicule and never gives up.  He takes us by the hand and tells us to “get up”.  It is wonderful that so many Christians and people of good will follow in the footsteps of Jesus and decide to come here to be a sign of that outstretched hand us that lifts us up.
            We all know that, sadly, a jail sentence is very often simply a punishment, offering no opportunities for personal growth.  This is not good.  On the contrary, those initiatives that offer job training and help to rebuild relationships are signs of hope for the future.  Let us help them to grow.  Public order must not be reduced to stronger security measures, but should be concerned primarily with preventive measures, such as work, education, and greater community involvement.
            Lastly, flowers.  I believe that life itself “flowers” and shows us all its beauty when we work together, hand in hand, to make things better, to open up new possibilities.  With this in mind, I greet all the pastoral workers, volunteers and professional personnel, especially the police officers and their families.  I pray for you.  Your work is sensitive and complex, and so I ask the authorities to try to provide you too with the conditions needed to carry out your work with dignity.  A dignity that engenders dignity.
            Mary is our Mother and we are her children, you are her daughters.  We ask her to intercede for you, for each of your children and your dear ones.  May she cover you with her mantle.  And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.
            The flowers you have given me, I will bring to the Blessed Virgin in the name of all of you.  Once again, many thanks!