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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sayings Of Anthony of Egypt

Anthony the Great
- XX -

A brother renounced the world and gave his goods to the poor, but he kept back a little for his personal expenses. He went to see Abba Anthony. When he told him this, the old man said to him, "If you want to be a monk, go into the village, buy some meat, cover your naked body with it and come here like that." The brother did so, and the dogs and birds tore at his flesh. When he came back the old man asked him whether he had followed his advice. He showed him his wounded body, and Abba Anthony said, "Those who renounce the world but want to keep something for themselves are torn in this way by the demons who make war on them." 

- From 'The Sayings of the Desert Fathers', Benedicta Ward, SLG (trans).  Cistercian Publications, 1984.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

IRAQ Patriarch to the UN: "Arab Spring" impacted Christians negatively

ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch to the UN: the "Arab Spring" impacted negatively on Christians
New York - The so-called "Arab Spring" impacted negatively on the condition of the Christian communities in the Middle East, causing a mass exodus similar to those caused 100 years ago by the massacres of Christians, which began in 1915 in the Ottoman territory. This is one of the strongest and painful considerations in the speech that the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I delivered yesterday in New York, during the session devoted to the plight of Christians in the Middle East that was held yesterday at the UN Security Council. " Frankly", said the Primate of the Chaldean Church, "the so-called Arab Spring impacted negatively on us ". While if we had the opportunity of working in harmony with the mosaic of religions and ethnic groups in our region, there would have been a driving force in the region towards peace, stability and progress".

With regards to his country, Patriarch Louis Raphael calls for "supporting the Central Government and the Regional Government of Kurdistan towards the liberation of all Iraqi cities and for us Christians, Yezidis and Shabaks especially the city of Mosul as well as the towns in the Nineveh plain and villages". According to the Primate of the Chaldean Church "it is necessary to provide an International Protection for his inhabitants, who were forced to be displaced from their homes" and "promulgate a Real Estate and Property Law that ensures their rights in their lands, and enable them to return home and resume their lives in a normal way". Regarding the jihadist phenomenon, the Patriarch repeated firmly that "these terroristic acts are not to be generalized to all Muslims", because the majority of Muslims "reject such politicization of the religion; they are accepting to live a common life with others within the civil state and according to the law". Moreover, according to His Beatitude Raphael Louis I; "Peace and stability cannot be achieved solely by military actions; as they are unable to dismantle this clustered way of thinking that destroys human beings". Among the concrete measures to be taken to stem the conflicts affecting the Middle East, the Patriarch also called for the adoption of international laws that criminalize "all states and individuals who support terrorist groups financially or intellectually or with arms, and consider their acts as a crime against social peace".

Pope Francis / Assyrian Church: Mar Dinkha IV "a courageous and wise pastor"

Pope Francis: Mar Dinkha IV "a courageous and wise pastor"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his condolences upon learning of the death of the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV.

"The Christian world has lost an important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor who faithfully served his community in extremely challenging times," Pope Francis writes. "His Holiness Mar Dinkha suffered greatly because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and in Syria, resolutely calling attention to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering daily persecution."

Pope Francis also gave thanks for the commitment of Mar Dinkha to improving relations among Christians, and in particular between the Catholic Church and Assyrian Church of the East.

The full text of the telegram is below


To His Beatitude Mar Aprem

                Locum Tenens of the Assyrian Church of the East

Having learned with sadness of the death of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to Your Beatitude, to the Bishops, clergy and all the faithful and to assure you of the spiritual closeness of all Catholics at this time.  The Christian world has lost an important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor who faithfully served his community in extremely challenging times.  His Holiness Mar Dinkha suffered greatly because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and in Syria, resolutely calling attention to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering daily persecution.  I recall how we spoke of this at length during the recent visit of His Holiness to Rome.  I give heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for the enduring commitment of His Holiness to improving relations among Christians and in particular between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.  May the Lord receive him into his kingdom and grant him eternal rest, and may the memory of his long and devoted service to the Church live on as a challenge and inspiration to us all.

                               FRANCISCUS PP.

(from Vatican Radio)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


St. John Ogilvie

John Ogilvie
1579 - March 10, 1615

John Ogilvie was a Scottish Catholic martyr.
The son of a wealthy laird, he was born into a respected Calvinist family near Keith in Banffshire, Scotland and was educated in mainland Europe.
He attended a number of Catholic educational establishments, under the Benedictines at Regensburg in Germany and with the Jesuits at Olomouc and Brno in the present day Czech Republic. In the midst of the religious controversies and turmoil that engulfed the Europe of that era he decided to become a Catholic. In 1596, aged seventeen, he was received into the church at Leuven, Belgium. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1608 and was ordained a priest in Paris in 1610. After ordination he made repeated entreaties to be sent back to Scotland to minister to the few remaining Catholics in the Glasgow area (after the Scottish Reformation in 1560 it had become illegal to preach, proselytise for, or otherwise endorse Catholicism).
He returned to Scotland in November 1613 disguised as a soldier, and began to preach in secret, celebrating mass clandestinely in private homes. However, his ministry was to last less than a year. In 1614, he was betrayed and arrested in Glasgow and taken to jail in Paisley.

Martyrdom and Death
He suffered terrible tortures, including being kept awake for eight days and nine nights, in an attempt to make him divulge the identities of other Catholics. Nonetheless, Ogilvie did not relent; consequently, after a biased trial, he was convicted of high treason for refusing to accept the King's spiritual jurisdiction.
On 10th March 1615, aged 36 years, John Ogilvie was paraded through the streets of Glasgow and hanged at Glasgow Cross.
His last words were "If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have". After he was pushed from the ladder, he threw his concealed rosary beads out into the crowd. The tale is told that one of his enemies caught them and subsequently became a lifelong devout Catholic. After his execution Ogilvie's followers were rounded up and put in jail. They suffered heavy fines, but none was to receive the death penalty.
As a martyr of the Counter-Reformation he was beatified in 1929 and canonised in 1976. He is the only post-Reformation saint from Scotland.

National Shrine to Saint John Ogilvie, S.J
The church also contains the National Shrine to Saint John Ogilvie, S.J., a Scottish Jesuit, who was canonised on 17th October, 1976 by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, having suffered martyrdom in Glasgow in 1615 during the Scottish Reformation.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pope Francis condemns attacks against Christians in Pakistan

Pope Francis condemns attacks against Christians in Pakistan
2015-03-15 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has made an appeal for peace in Pakistan and for solidarity with the country's persecuted Christian minority, in the wake of a pair of terror attacks that left at least 14 people dead and scores of others wounded in the city of Lahore, and accused the world of, "trying to hide" the persecution of Christians. 
"With pain, with much pain," said Pope Francis to the crowd of pilgrims and tourists gathered for the Angelus prayer this Sunday in St. Peter's Square, "I learned of the terrorist attacks today against two churches in the city Lahore in Pakistan, which have resulted in numerous deaths and injuries," for which a Taliban splinter group, calling itself Jamatul Ahrar, has claimed responsibility. 

The twin attacks took place on churches only a few hundred metres apart from one another in one of the largest Christian neighbourhoods of the city, Youhanabad. One of the churches was the Catholic church of St. John, the other was the Anglican Christ Church. The Holy Father went on to say, "These are Christian churches: Christians are being persecuted. Our brothers' and sisters' blood is shed only because they are Christians. As I assure you of my prayers for the victims and their families, I ask the Lord, I beseech the Lord, source of all good, for the gift of peace and harmony to this country."
Concluding his appeal, Pope Francis prayed, "That this persecution against Christians, which the world tries to hide, might end, and that there be peace."
"These attacks have led people into the thought that they are unsafe anywhere," said Sadaf Saddique, who heads the Good Shepherd Ministry in Pakistan, an outreach to exploited and at-risk children. Speaking to Vatican Radio from Lahore, shortly after the attacks, Saddique, a lawyer, said, "We never thought that Youhanabad could be attacked, we never thought that people would dare to come into this place, and would attack such a big Christian town."
Christians comprise roughly 2% of Pakistan's more than 182 million people, and have been the target of increasingly intense and deadly violence in recent years.
(from Vatican Radio)

Friday, March 13, 2015

There is no middle way to love God: Pope

Pope: There is no middle way to love God
2015-03-12 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says a true Christian must not compromise: he must let himself be touched by God's mercy and he must love his brother wholeheartedly or else he will end up being a hypocrite and do more harm than good.
The Pope was speaking during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning.

At the beginning through the Prophets, and later with the testimony of Saints, God has built up his relationship with men in time. And yet, the Pope pointed out, notwithstanding the excellence of those chosen to relay His message through their teachings and their actions – the history of Salvation is far from perfect, it is paved with hypocrisy and unfaithfulness.
God weeps for hardened hearts
Pope Francis' reflection swept across time, beginning with Abel and ending today. According to Jeremiah in the Gospel reading of the day, God states with bitterness that his own people did not obey nor did they pay heed and "walked in the hardness of their evil hearts". 
"God gave them all" – Pope Francis said – but in return received only "bad things". "Faithfulness had disappeared" he said.
"This is the History of God. It's as if God were weeping. And when Jesus looked at Jerusalem he too wept. Because in Jesus' heart was this history where faithfulness had disappeared. We follow our will, but doing so our heart hardens and becomes of stone. And the Word of the Lord cannot penetrate. Thus the people get more and more distant. This is also the risk in our personal histories. Now, on this day of lent, we must ask ourselves: 'do I listen to the voice of the Lord or do I do what I please?'".
From heretics to Saints
The Gospel reading from Luke also offers an example of a "hardened heart", deaf to the voice of God. In it, Jesus drives out a demon from a man and in return receives an accusation: "By the power of the prince of demons, you drive out demons. You are a demoniac sorcerer." This – Pope Francis said - is the typical excuse of "lawmakers" who think life is regulated by laws promulgated by themselves.
"This has also happened in the history of the Church! Think of poor Joan of Arc: today she is a Saint! She was burnt at the stake because she was considered a heretic… the inquisitors, those who followed the rules, those Pharisees: they were far from the love of God. And closer in time to us think of the Blessed Antonio Rosmini: all of his writings were placed upon the Index. You could not read them; it was considered a sin to read them. Today he is a Blessed. In the History of God with his people the Lord sent forth the prophets to tell His people that He loved them. In the Church, the Lord sends forth the Saints. And it is the Saints who carry forward the life of the Church, not the powerful, not the hypocrites: the Saints".
There is no middle way 
And Pope Francis said that Saints "are those who are not afraid to let themselves be caressed by the mercy of God. That's why the Saints are men and women who understand pain, suffering and human misery, and they accompany the people of God. They do not despise the people":
"Jesus says: 'Whoever is not with me is against me'. And there is no compromising. You are either on the path of love or on the path of hypocrisy. You either let yourself be loved by God's mercy, or you do as you please according to your own heart that hardens days by day along this path. Whoever is not with me is against me: there is no third choice to be made. Either you are a saint or you take the other route. Whoever is not receptive loses out… No, it is worse: he wastes and wrecks. He is corrupt and he corrupts".

(from Vatican Radio)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

God's style is humility, simplicity: Pope

Pope Francis: God's style is humility, simplicity
2015-03-09 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) God acts in humility and in silence; "spectacle" is not His style. That was Pope Francis' message at Mass on Monday in the Casa Santa Marta.

Listen to Christopher Wells' report:

Jesus rebukes people of Nazareth for their lack of faith
In the Gospel of the day, Jesus rebukes the inhabitants of Nazareth for their lack of faith: at first, the Pope said, they listened with admiration, but later they exploded "with anger, with outrage":
"In that moment, this people, who had heard with pleasure what Jesus had said, but did not like what He had said to one, two, or three of them; and perhaps some gossip had stood up and said, 'But who is this who's come to talk to us? Where has he studied in order to say these things to us? Let's see his degree! This is the son of the carpenter, we know him.' Fury erupted, and even violence. 'And they drove Him out of the town, and led Him to the brow of the hill'… they wanted to throw Him down!"
Humility is God's style
The first Reading speaks about Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, who was a leper. The prophet Elisha tells him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan to be healed, and yet Naaman was indignant because he expected a grand gesture. But then he listened to the advice of the servants, and did what the prophet said, and he was cleansed of leprosy. The inhabitants of Nazareth were like Naaman, the Pope said. "They wanted a spectacle," but "the style of the good God is not to produce a spectacle: God acts in humility, in silence, in the little things." This begins with Creation, the Pope said, where the Lord does not use a "magic wand," but creates man "with mud." It is a style that runs through "the whole of salvation history":
"When He desired to free His people, He freed them through the faith and confidence of a man, Moses. When He desired to cause the fall of the powerful city of Jericho, He did so through a prostitute. And for the conversion of the Samaritans He required the work of another sinner. When He invited David to fight against Goliath, it seemed crazy: the little David standing before that giant, who had a sword, who had so many things, while David had only a sling and the stones. When He told the Magi that a King was born to them, the Great King, what did they find? A little child, a manger. The simple things, the humility of God… this is the divine style, never the spectacle."
God works in humility, not spectacles
The Pope noted that "one of the three temptations of Jesus in the desert" was to create a spectacle. Satan invites Him to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple so that, seeing the miracle, the people might believe in Him. "The Lord, instead, is revealed in simplicity, in humility," he said. "It would do us good this Lent," the Pope said, "to consider how the Lord has helped us in our lives, and how the Lord has led us onward. We will find that the Lord has always done this with simple things."
He concluded, "This is how the Lord acts: He does things simply. He speaks silently to you, to the heart. Let us remember in our lives the many time we have felt these things: the humility of God is His style; the simplicity of God is His style. And even in the liturgical celebration, in the sacraments, what is beautiful is that which manifests the humility of God, and not the worldly spectacle. It would do us good to journey through our life and to consider the many times the Lord has visited us with His grace, and always with this humble style, the style He calls us, too, to have: humility."
(from Vatican Radio)

Friday, March 6, 2015

MISA Flamenca :)


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pope: A society that discards the elderly carries a deadly virus

Pope: a society that discards the elderly carries within a deadly virus
2015-03-04 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) "Where the elderly are not honoured, there is no future for the young". This was the powerful message delivered by Pope Francis during his catechesis on Wednesday, devoted to the elderly.
Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly General Audience the Pope continued in his series of teachings on the family, focusing this time on the role of grandparents.

Reflecting on the fact that life expectancy has increased in modern societies, Francis denounced a widespread lack of respect and consideration for the elderly and their dignity. 
Recalling the words of Benedict XVI during a visit to an old age home when he said: "The quality of a society, I mean of a civilization, is also judged by how it treats elderly people and by the place it gives them in community life", Pope Francis reiterated: "It is true, attention for the elderly is what makes the difference within a civilization".
Nowadays, he said, people tend to live longer, but often our societies not only fail to make room for the elderly, but even consider them a burden.
And recounting an anecdote dating back to when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis told of how when visiting an old age home, he stopped to chat to one of the guests and asked her how her children were doing: "Well" answered the old woman. "Do they come to visit you?" he said. "Oh yes, always" she replied. "And when was the last time they came?" he continued. "At Christmas" she said. "It was August… Eight months without a visit from her children – this Pope Francis said is a mortal sin."
"It's is a mortal sin to discard our elderly". The Pope insisted: "The elderly are not aliens,  we are them, in a short or in a long while; we are inevitably them, even although we choose not to think about it". 
"If we do not learn to look after and to respect our elderly, we will be treated in the same way" he warned. 
"A society where the elderly are discarded carries within it the virus of death" he said.
And calling the issue a major challenge for Western societies which are marked on the one hand by aging populations and on the other by a cult of youth efficiency and profit which tends to discard everything not considered productive or useful, Pope Francis said that because of the vulnerability and special needs of the elderly, especially of those who are ill or alone, they call for particular attention and care. 
But rather than a burden – he said – they are, as the Bible tells us, a storehouse of wisdom.
The Church, Francis pointed out, has always accompanied the elderly with gratitude and affection, making them feel accepted and part of the community. 
The Church, Pope Francis concluded, cannot accept degenerations such as the ones that see elderly people abandoned and marginalized: "where the elderly are not honoured there is no future for the young".
(from Vatican Radio)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

SCOTLAND: St John Ogilvie 400th anniversary of Martyrdom

Pope appoints Special Envoy for St John Ogilvie anniversary2015-02-28 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has announced the appointment of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-OConnor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, as Pope Francis' special envoy to the solemn celebrations in honour of the fourth centenary of the martyrdom of Saint John Ogilvie, SJ. The celebrations are set to take place in Glasgow, Scotland on March 9-10.

Listen to Christopher Wells' report:

Born into a noble Scots Presbyterian family, St John Ogilvie converted to Catholicism, and was ordained a Jesuit priest in France in the year 1610. Although preaching Catholicism and ministering to Catholics had been made illegal in Scotland, Ogilvie returned to his native land in 1613. He was betrayed to the authorities, tortured, and, in 1615, executed for refusing to acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the King, James VI. Paul VI canonised him in 1976, making John Ogilvie the only Scot since the Reformation to be formally canonised.
In the formal letter announcing the appointment of the Special Envoy, Pope Francis said he hoped that "all who consider the witness of St. John, and so many Christians, will show forth a singular love for Christ's Church and Gospel with new strength and a new vigour, and that they will shine forth with the promptness of the faith in modern-day circumstances."
(from Vatican Radio)

SCIENCE / FAITH: Science to serve humanity

Pope's March prayer intention for researchers

2015-02-28 Vatican Radio

The general prayer intention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the month of March is for researchers - that those involved in  scientific research may serve the wellbeing of the whole human person. Many people think that science and  religion are in conflict. There are many churchmen among outstanding scientists throughout history. 13th century English Franciscan friar Roger Bacon is regarded as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method.  Nicholas Copernicus is considered the founder of modern astronomy.  In 1933 Jesuit  Father Georges Lemaitre introduced the  "Big Bang" theory about the expanding  universe which he called the "hypothesis  of the primeval atom" or "Cosmic Egg."  More than 40 lunar craters are named after  Jesuit astronomers.  Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel is regarded the founder of modern  genetics.  Science and the Church are not in conflict  because both seek the truth. However,  where science seeks the 'what' and 'how' of things, religion seeks the 'why'. The 'why'  is important because it ultimately guides  how we use the knowledge gained from  science. When science and technology are  not guided by the higher truths about the  dignity of the human person, they end up  causing more harm than good.  Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy of  Sciences that when humanity acts without  wisdom, trying to take the place of God,  it ends up destroying creation. We are  co-creators, working with God to care for  creation according to the Creator's plan.  Let's therefore join Pope Francis in the month of March in praying for researchers that they may always  seek the entire truth and work for the  physical and spiritual well-being of all  people.  

(from Vatican Radio)