Category Archives: Works of Mercy

March 8: ST. JOHN OF GOD, RELIGIOUS. Prayer vid + Divine office 2nd reading

March 8
ST. JOHN OF GOD, RELIGIOUS
Prayer vid + Divine office 2nd reading

St. John (1495-1550) heeded the word of God when he was already forty years old and from then on lived at the service of the sick in Granada (Spain). Before that, he was successively a farmer, soldier, and merchant. He founded the Order of Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God; the Hospitallers devote themselves to caring for the sick in soul and body.

Second Reading

From a letter by Saint John of God, religious
Christ is faithful and provides all things

If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy, we can never fail to do good so long as we have the strength. For if we share with the poor, out of love for God, whatever he has given to us, we shall receive according to his promise a hundredfold in eternal happiness. What a fine profit, what a blessed reward! Who would not entrust his possessions to this best of merchants, who handles our affairs so well? With outstretched arms he begs us to turn toward him, to weep for our sins, and to become the servants of love, first for ourselves, then for our neighbours. Just as water extinguishes a fire, so love wipes away sin.

So many poor people come here that I very often wonder how we can care for them all, but Jesus Christ provides all things and nourishes everyone. Many of them come to the house of God, because the city of Granada is large and very cold, especially now in winter. More than a hundred and ten are now living here, sick and healthy, servants and pilgrims. Since this house is open to everyone, it receives the sick of every type and condition: the crippled, the disabled, lepers, mutes, the insane, paralytics, those suffering from scurvy and those bearing the afflictions of old age, many children, and above all countless pilgrims and travellers, who come here, and for whom we furnish the fire, water, and salt, as well as the utensils to cook their food. And for all of this no payment is requested, yet Christ provides.

I work here on borrowed money, a prisoner for the sake of Jesus Christ. And often my debts are so pressing that I dare not go out of the house for fear of being seized by my creditors. Whenever I see so many poor brothers and neighbours of mine suffering beyond their strength and overwhelmed with so many physical or mental ills which I cannot alleviate, then I become exceedingly sorrowful; but I trust in Christ, who knows my heart. And so I say: “Woe to the man who trusts in men rather than in Christ.” Whether you like it or not, you will grow apart from men, but Christ is faithful and always with you, for Christ provides all things. Let us always give thanks to him. Amen.

Responsory      

℟. Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house:* then shall your light break forth like the dawn and your good works go before you.

℣. Clothe the man you see to be naked, and do not turn from your own kin:* then shall your light break forth like the dawn and your good works go before you.

Let us pray.

Lord, you filled the heart of Saint John of God with compassion for his fellow-men.  Grant that, loving our neighbour as he did, we may be called to share with your saints in the joys of your kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE/CREDIT: Manuel Gomez Moreno, San Juan de Dios salvando a los enfermos de incendio del Hospital Real in https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Manuel_G%C3%B3mez-Moreno_Gonz%C3%A1lez._San_Juan_de_Dios_salvando_a_los_enfermos_de_incendio_del_Hospital_Real_%281880%29.jpg Museo de Bellas Artes (Granada)

Advertisements

FEB. 11, 2017: WORLD DAY OF THE SICK. MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS

POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE
FOR THE 25TH WORLD DAY OF THE SICK 2017 

Amazement at what God has accomplished: 
“The Almighty has done great things for me…” (Lk 1:49)

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On 11 February next, the Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick will be celebrated throughout the Church and in a special way at Lourdes. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me….’” (Lk 1:49). Instituted by my predecessor Saint John Paul II in 1992, and first celebrated at Lourdes on 11 February 1993, this Day is an opportunity to reflect in particular on the needs of the sick and, more generally, of all those who suffer. It is also an occasion for those who generously assist the sick, beginning with family members, health workers and volunteers, to give thanks for their God-given vocation of accompanying our infirm brothers and sisters. This celebration likewise gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast and the marginalized (cf. John Paul II, Motu Proprio Dolentium Hominum, 11 February 1985, 1). Surely, the moments of prayer, the Eucharistic liturgies and the celebrations of the Anointing of the Sick, the sharing with the sick and the bioethical and theological-pastoral workshops to be held in Lourdes in those days will make new and significant contributions to that service.

Even now, I am spiritually present at the grotto of Massabielle, before the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, in whom the Almighty has done great things for the redemption of mankind. I express my closeness to all of you, our suffering brothers and sisters, and to your families, as well as my appreciation for all those in different roles of service and in healthcare institutions throughout the world who work with professionalism, responsibility and dedication for your care, treatment and daily well-being. I encourage all of you, the sick, the suffering, physicians, nurses, family members and volunteers, to see in Mary, Health of the Infirm, the sure sign of God’s love for every human being and a model of surrender to his will. May you always find in faith, nourished by the Word and by the Sacraments, the strength needed to love God, even in the experience of illness.

Like Saint Bernadette, we stand beneath the watchful gaze of Mary. The humble maiden of Lourdes tells us that the Virgin, whom she called “the Lovely Lady”, looked at her as one person looks at another. Those simple words describe the fullness of a relationship. Bernadette, poor, illiterate and ill, felt that Mary was looking at her as a person. The Lovely Lady spoke to her with great respect and without condescension. This reminds us that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such. The sick and the those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life. They never become simply objects. If at times they appear merely passive, in reality that is never the case.

After her visit to the Grotto, thanks to her prayer, Bernadette turned her frailty into support for others. Thanks to her love, she was able to enrich her neighbours and, above all, to offer her life for the salvation of humanity. The fact that the Lovely Lady asked her to pray for sinners reminds us that the infirm and the suffering desire not only to be healed, but also to live a truly Christian life, even to the point of offering it as authentic missionary disciples of Christ. Mary gave Bernadette the vocation of serving the sick and called her to become a Sister of Charity, a mission that she carried out in so exemplary a way as to become a model for every healthcare worker. Let us ask Mary Immaculate for the grace always to relate to the sick as persons who certainly need assistance, at times even for the simplest of things, but who have a gift of their own to share with others.

The gaze of Mary, Comfort of the Afflicted, brightens the face of the Church in her daily commitment to the suffering and those in need. The precious fruits of this solicitude for the world of suffering and sickness are a reason for gratitude to the Lord Jesus, who out of obedience to the will of the Father became one of us, even enduring death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. The solidarity shown by Christ, the Son of God born of Mary, is the expression of God’s merciful omnipotence, which is made manifest in our life – above all when that life is frail, pain-filled, humbled, marginalized and suffering – and fills it with the power of hope that can sustain us and enable us to get up again.

This great wealth of humanity and faith must not be dissipated. Instead, it should inspire us to speak openly of our human weaknesses and to address the challenges of present-day healthcare and technology. On this World Day of the Sick, may we find new incentive to work for the growth of a culture of respect for life, health and the environment. May this Day also inspire renewed efforts to defend the integrity and dignity of persons, not least through a correct approach to bioethical issues, the protection of the vulnerable and the protection of the environment.

On this Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick, I once more offer my prayerful support and encouragement to physicians, nurses, volunteers and all those consecrated men and women committed to serving the sick and those in need. I also embrace the ecclesial and civil institutions working to this end, and the families who take loving care of their sick. I pray that all may be ever joyous signs of the presence of God’s love and imitate the luminous testimony of so many friends of God, including Saint John of God and Saint Camillus de’ Lellis, the patrons of hospitals and healthcare workers, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of God’s love.

Dear brothers and sisters – the sick, healthcare workers and volunteers – I ask you to join me in praying to Mary. May her maternal intercession sustain and accompany our faith, and obtain for us from Christ her Son hope along our journey of healing and of health, a sense of fraternity and responsibility, a commitment to integral human development and the joy of feeling gratitude whenever God amazes us by his fidelity and his mercy.

Mary, our Mother, in Christ you welcome each of us as a son or daughter. Sustain the trusting expectation of our hearts,succour us in our infirmities and sufferings, and guide us to Christ, your Son and our brother. Help us to entrust ourselves to the Father who accomplishes great things.
With the assurance of a constant remembrance in my prayers, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.

8 December 2016, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Francis

TIPS FOR A HOLY AND HAPPY ADVENT & CHRISTMAS.

TIPS FOR A
HOLY AND HAPPY
ADVENT & CHRISTMAS SEASONS

Dear brethren in Christ, convinced that reconciliation with God through the Sacrament of Confession is the best way to prepare for Christmas, we could still refine our preparation in order to take advantage of this holy season to grow in our love for God and for others. Below you have some tips to have a spiritually-filled and therefore a Holy and Happy Advent and  Christmas seasons, taken from the beautiful December pastoral letter of Bishop Javier Echevarria. Feel free to share and please do us the kind favor of liking our page so we could reach and help more people.
Thanks and A Holy and Happy Advent season to all, God bless!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, Catholics striving for holiness,
responding to God’s call and with the help of His Grace.

SEE AS WELL:
3rd Sunday of Advent:  “GAUDETE” OR “REJOICE!” SUNDAY. AV Summary in http://wp.me/p6k7Mv-1J8

ADVENT (2): WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS? in http://wp.me/p6k7Mv-1FO

+++TEXT STARTS HERE+++

OUTLINE

  1. Let us not forget that Jesus Christ comes each day of our existence in the sacraments, prayer and works of mercy.
  2. Let us live very close to Mary and Joseph during these days.
  3. This season should lead us to a crescendo in our effort to seek God’s intimacy – grasping God’s love for each one of us- and serve others generously and cheerfully.
  4. We can “take greater care of the small gestures of piety that make our relationship with God warmer and more intimate, and that prepare for the Child Jesus a welcoming inn”
  5. Let us meditate on the events of the Nativity Scene: The meditation of the serene and joyful air proper to the stable at Bethelehem which we bear in our heart would lead, “as its ripe fruit, a more intense family atmosphere overflowing with joy, so closely united to these dates.”
  6. Carry out works of mercy.

1. Let us not forget that Jesus Christ comes each day of our existence in the sacraments, prayer and works of mercy.

  • As Saint Bernard said, between the first and final advent comes an adventus medius, an intermediary coming of Christ, which marks the entire course of our existence. ‘This intermediary coming is, one could say, a path leading from the first to the last: in the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this intermediary one he is our rest and our consolation.’”[1]
  • “These weeks spur us to realize how God draws close to us at each moment; he awaits us in the sacraments, especially Penance and the Eucharist, and equally in prayer, in the works of mercy.”

2. Let us live very close to Mary and Joseph during these days.

  • “Let us turn our eyes more frequently to our Lady and the holy Patriarch, meditating on how they awaited, each day with greater eagerness, the birth of the Son of God. “
  • “Joyfully keep Joseph and Mary company… and you will hear the traditions of the House of David. You will hear about Elizabeth and Zachary; you will be moved by Joseph’s pure love, and your heart will pound whenever they mention the Child who will be born in Bethlehem.[2]
  • “I suggest that we try to put more love and affection into praying the Angelus.”

3. This season should lead us to a crescendo in our effort to seek God’s intimacy – grasping God’s love for each one of us- and serve others generously and cheerfully.

  • “Amid the rushing around, the shopping (or the financial hardships, perhaps tied to a certain lack of social stability), amid wars or natural catastrophes, we have to remember that God is watching over us. Thus we will find peace of heart.”

4. We can “take greater care of the small gestures of piety that make our relationship with God warmer and more intimate, and that prepare for the Child Jesus a welcoming inn.”

  • For example, making the sign of the cross slowly, knowing we are welcomed by the Trinity and saved by the Cross;
  • recollecting ourselves, with naturalness but with devotion, when saying the blessing or giving thanks at meals for our nourishment;
  • showing by our genuflections before the “perennial Nativity scene of the Tabernacle”7 the firmness of a real and living faith;
  • accompanying almsgiving with a smile;
  • greeting our Mother with affection in her images, and preparing during these first days of December for the solemnity of her Immaculate Conception… Amid the dryness of certain days, our Lady will place on our path fragrant flowers, filled with the bonus odor Christi8, the “good aroma of Christ,” as happened in the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego, which we will commemorate on the 12th of this month.

5. Let us meditate on the events of the Nativity Scene: The meditation of the serene and joyful air proper to the stable at Bethlehem which we bear in our heart would lead, “as its ripe fruit, a more intense family atmosphere overflowing with joy, so closely united to these dates.”

  • “The Church urges us to better prepare our heart during Advent, and to set aside unimportant matters, distractions that lead us astray, the superficiality of the immediate
  • “If we strive to maintain our peace and calm with God, we will also offer it to others.
  • The closer family life over the days of Christmas will not be marked by arguments, anger, impatience or frivolity, and we will enjoy relaxing and praying together, nourishing good times together as a family, and ironing out prejudices and small grudges that perhaps our heart may harbor.”

6. Carry out works of mercy.

  • Don’t forget to remember during these days people who are alone or in need, and whom we can assist in one way or another, knowing that we ourselves are the first beneficiaries.”
  • “Try to spread this concern that is so Christian to relatives, friends, neighbors, colleagues.

TEXT SOURCE: http://opusdei.us/en-us/section/pastoral-letters/ (you can also download the entire letter in different formats in the same link).

AUDIO CREDIT AND SOURCE: O Holy Night by Kaleb Breese, in  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKJslZPbCPY  used with permission from Kaleb. Thanks!

ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCES: PHOTOS USED FOR DIDACTIC AND NON-COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. Most are of public domain but just in case, no copyright infringement intended.

https://uploads0.wikiart.org/images/john-singleton-copley/the-nativity-1777.jpg; http://mb.cision.com/Public/MigratedWpy/98431/9139955/ba5f0b9684b802d6_org.jpg; https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Fabritius_Adoration_of_the_shepherds.JPG; https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/cd765-lickl-barentfabritius-theadorationoftheshepherds.jpg; http://www.backtoclassics.com/images/pics/hugovandergoes/hugovandergoes_adorationoftheshepherds-detail.jpg

[1] Saint Bernard, Discourse 5 on Advent, 1 (Liturgy of the Hours, Wednesday of the First Week of Advent, second reading).

[2] Saint Josemaría, Holy Rosary, second joyful mystery.

POPE FRANCIS: PRAY FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD. MERCY CONTINUES.

pray-for-the-living-and-the-dead

POPE FRANCIS: PRAY FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.
MERCY CONTINUES

Dear brethren in Christ, below you have the Zenit translation of yesterday’s catechesis given by Pope Francis on the last spiritual work of mercy. It is a must read and meditate for it will help us in our dealings with God and with our neighbor.

Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, Catholics striving for holiness, with the help of God’s grace. Please do us the kind favor of liking our page so we could reach and help more people. Thanks and God bless!

+++POPE FRANCIS CATECHESIS BEGINS HERE. FORMATTING MINE.+++

  1. BURY THE DEAD
  2. PRAY FOR THE DECEASED
  3. PRAY FOR THE LIVING
  4. DIFFERENT WAYS TO PRAY FOR OUR NEIGHBOR
  5. THE HOLY SPIRIT PRAYS IN US

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

With today’s catechesis, we conclude the series dedicated to mercy. But although the catecheses finish, mercy must continue! We thank the Lord for all this and we keep it in our heart as consolation and comfort.

1.  BURY THE DEAD

The last work of spiritual mercy calls to pray for the living and the deceased. We can also place it side by side with the last work of corporal mercy, which invites to bury the deadThe latter might seem a strange request; instead, in some areas of the world that live under the scourge of war, with bombardments that day and night sow fear and innocent victims, this work is sadly timely. In this connection, the Bible <gives> a good example: that of old Tobit, who, at the risk of his own life, buried the dead despite the king’s prohibition (cf. Tobit 1:17-19; 2:2-4). There are those also today who risk their life to bury the poor victims of wars. Hence, this corporal work of mercy is not far from our daily existence. And it makes us think of what happened on Good Friday, when the Virgin Mary with John and some women were close to Jesus’ cross. After His death, Joseph of Arimathea came — a rich man, member of the Sanhedrin, but who had become a disciple of Jesus — and offered his new sepulcher for Him, excavated in the rock. He went personally to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body: a true work of mercy made with great courage (cf. Matthew 27:57-60)! For Christians, burial is an act of piety, but also an act of great faith. We place in the tomb the body of our dear ones, with the hope of their resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-34). It is a rite that remains strong and heartfelt in our people, and which finds special resonances in this month of November, dedicated in particular to remembering and praying for the deceased.

2. PRAY FOR THE DECEASED

To pray for the deceased is, first of all, a sign of gratitude for the testimony they left us and for the good they did. It is to thank the Lord for having given them to us and for their love and their friendship. The priest says: “Remember, Lord, your faithful, who have preceded us with the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace” (Roman Canon). A simple, effective remembrance charged with meaning, because it entrusts our dear ones to God’s mercy. We pray with Christian hope that they may be with Him in Paradise, in the expectation of meeting one another again in that mystery of love, which we do not understand, but which we know is true because it is a promise Jesus made. All of us will resurrect and all of us will remain forever with Jesus, with Him.

3. PRAY FOR THE LIVING

The remembrance of the faithful deceased must not make us forget to pray also for the living who, together with us, face every day the trials of life. The necessity of this prayer is yet more evident if we place it in the light of the profession of faith, which says: “I believe in the Communion of Saints.” It is the mystery that expresses the beauty of the mercy that Jesus has revealed to us. In fact, the Communion of Saints indicates that we are all immersed in the life of God and we live in His love. All, living and deceased, are in communion, that is, as a union; united in the community of all those that received Baptism, and of those that are nourished by the Body of Christ and are part of the great family of God. United, we are all the same family; therefore, we pray for one another.

4. DIFFERENT WAYS TO PRAY FOR OUR NEIGHBOR

How many different ways there are to pray for our neighbor! They are all valid and accepted by God if done with the heart. I am thinking particularly of mothers and fathers who bless their children in the morning and the evening. There is still this habit in some families: to bless a child is a prayer; I am thinking of prayer for sick people, when we go to see them and pray for them; of the silent intercession, sometimes with tears, of so many difficult situations for which to pray. Yesterday a good man, a businessman, came to Mass at Casa Santa Marta. That young man must close his factory because he cannot make ends meet and he wept, saying: “I don’t like leaving more than 50 families without work. I could declare the failure of the business <and> go home with my money, but I will feel hurt all my life for these 50 families.” There is a good Christian who prays with works: he came to Mass to pray that the Lord might give him a way out, not only for himself, but for the 50 families. This is a man who knows how to pray, with the heart and with the facts, he knows how to pray for his neighbor. He is in a difficult situation, and he does not look for the easiest way out: “That they make do themselves.” This <man> is a Christian. It did me so much good to hear him!

And perhaps there are many like him, today, at this moment in which so many people suffer because of lack of work. I am also thinking of gratitude for good news concerning a friend, a relative, a colleague …: “Thank you, Lord, for this good thing!” This too is to pray for others! To thank the Lord when things go well. Sometimes, as Saint Paul says, “we do not know how to pray as we ought but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).

5. THE HOLY SPIRIT PRAYS IN US

It is the Spirit who prays in us. Therefore, let us open our hearts, so that the Holy Spirit, scrutinizing the desires that are deep inside us, is able to purify them and bring them to fulfilment. In any case, let us always ask for ourselves and for others that God’s Will be done, as in the Our Father, because His Will is certainly the greatest good, the goodness of a Father who never abandons us: to pray and to let the Holy Spirit pray in us. And this is good in life: pray thanking and praising God, asking for something, weeping when there is a difficulty, as that man. But may our heart be always open to the Spirit, so that He prays in us, with us and for us.

Concluding these catecheses on mercy, let us commit ourselves to pray for one another so that the works of corporal and spiritual mercy become increasingly our style of life. The catecheses, as I said at the beginning, finish here. We went through the 14 works of mercy, but mercy continues and we must exercise it in these 14 ways. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by ZENIT]

In Italian

I give a warm welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the children affected by the Batten Syndrome, patients at the Bambino Gesu Hospital; the staff of the Technical Center of Military Aeronautics of Fiumicino; and the members of the Federation of Institutes of Educational Activities, gathered on the occasion of the seventieth <anniversary> of its foundation, and I invite them to continue in their endeavor of support to Catholic schools, so that the freedom of parents’ educational choice for their children is always safeguarded.

I greet the students, in particular those of the “Asisium” Institute and the delegation of the Municipality of Cervia, present here for the traditional delivery of salt.

An affectionate greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today is the Feast of the Apostle Andrew, brother of Saint PeterMay his run to the sepulcher to find the Lord remind you, dear young people, that our life is a pilgrimage towards the House of the Father; may his strength, in facing martyrdom, sustain you, dear sick, when your suffering seems unbearable; and may his passionate following of the Savior induce you, dear newlyweds, to understand the importance of love in your new family. And, on the feast of the Apostle Andrew, I would also like to greet the Church of Constantinople and the beloved Patriarch Bartholomew, and to unite myself to him and to the Church in Constantinople on this feast – to that Sister Church in the name of Peter and Andrew, all together – and to wish them all possible good, all the Lord’s blessing and a great embrace.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by ZENIT]

The Holy Father’s Appeals

Tomorrow, December 1, is World AIDS Day, promoted by the United Nations. Millions of persons live with this sickness and only half of them have access to lifesaving therapies. I invite you to pray for them and for their dear ones and to promote solidarity so that even the poorest can benefit from diagnosis and adequate care. Finally, I make an appeal so that all adopt responsible behaviours to prevent the further spread of this sickness.

On the initiative of France and of the United Arab Emirates, with the collaboration of UNESCO, an international Conference on the Protection of Patrimony in Areas of Conflict will be held at Abu Dhabi this coming December 2-3 – a subject that unfortunately is tragically current. In the conviction that the protection of cultural riches constitutes an essential dimension  of the defense of the human being, I hope this event will mark a new stage in the process of the implementation of human rights.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by ZENIT]

SOURCE: https://zenit.org/articles/general-audience-on-burying-the-dead/

PROGINAL PHOTO SOURCE AND CREDIT @ANSA, Servizio fotografico dell’Osservatore Romano in https://www.facebook.com/VaticanRadioEnglish/photos/a.496953866982889.120712.496909843653958/1372289979449269/?type=3&theater

 

 

 

 

26th Sunday OT, Year C. Lazarus and the rich man. Riches and freedom create a special responsibility.

26th Sunday OT, Year C.
Lazarus and the rich man.
Riches and freedom create a special responsibility.

Dear brethren in Christ, today’s Sunday liturgy is a continuation of the previous Sunday’s reflection on wealth.

  1. In the 1st reading, Our Lord through the prophet Amos (6:1a, 4-7) denounces the complacent, ostentatious and comfortable life of the wealthy who “Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!” but remain indifferent with the social ills which surround them.
  2. The Gospel on Lazarus and the rich man underlines the fact that one cannot be God’s friend in the next life if one lets his own brother die in misery in this present life.
  3. St. Paul invites us to make good use of our earthly journey by striving to live the virtues of “righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience,” and to “compete well for the faith” in order to “lay hold of eternal life, to which” we were called during Baptism.

These said, we can focus ourselves on the many lessons which today’s Gospel invites us to consider in our personal prayer.

  1. St. Luke presents to us on the one hand, the prosperous life of the rich man who, “dressed in purple garments and fine linen, dined sumptuously each day”; and on the other hand, the miserable life of Lazarus, who “covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.”
  • Lazarus’ miserable life was accentuated by St. Luke’s description of the dogs licking his sores, not that they alleviate the poor man’s suffering, but rather, to the Jews, dogs are unclean animals which cause legal impurity (Cf. Leviticus 11:27-28) and thus not considered as domestic animals.
  • John Paul II once said: “We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our own riches and freedom, if, in any place, the Lazarus of the twentieth century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation. And so, in the name of the solidarity that binds us all together in a common humanity, I again proclaim the dignity of every human person: the rich man and Lazarus are both human beings, both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God, both of them equally redeemed by Christ, at a great price, the price of the ‘precious blood of Christ’ (1 Pet 1:19)” (Homily in Yankee Stadium, 2 October 1979).
  1. The parable also teaches us that, immediately after death, the soul is judged by God for all its acts — the “particular judgment”, and is rewarded or punished; and that divine Revelation is by itself sufficient for men to be able to believe in the next life.
  • “When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.”
  • Wealth, earthly possessions, as also suffering, are fleeting realities: death marks their end, and the end of our earthly pilgrimage as the time to accept or reject God, live for Him or for ourselves, and of our capacity to sin or to merit reward for doing good. Immediately after death we begin to enjoy our reward or to suffer punishment, as the case may be. The Magisterium of the Church has defined that the souls of all who die in the grace of Cod enter heaven, immediately after death or after first undergoing a purging, if that is necessary.
  • What does Abraham’s bosom signify? refers to the place or state “into which the souls of the just before the coming of Christ the Lord, were received, and where, without experiencing any sort of pain, but supported by the blessed hope of redemption, they enjoyed peaceful repose. To liberate these holy souls, who, in the bosom of Abraham were expecting the Saviour, Christ the Lord descended into hell” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, I, 6, 3).
  1. Was the rich man condemned because of his abundant wealth and earthly possessions? Absolutely not. Rather, he was condemned to the place of torment and suffer the scorching flames because he was indifferent to the needs of the poor Lazarus who was “lying at his door” and was longing to eat the scraps which fell from the rich man’s table.
  • Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need — openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advantaged; openness to the poor, the underdeveloped and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or halfhearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so (John Paul II, Homily in Yankee Stadium, 2 October 1979).”

Dear friends, as St. Josemaria wrote: “Time is our treasure, the ‘money’ with which to buy eternity (Furrow, n. 882).” May today’s Sunday liturgy spur us to ask forgiveness from God for our indifference to those who are in need and ask Him for the grace to overcome our egoism to help those who are suffering, especially the poor and the sick, according to our personal capacity and circumstances. Let us strive to live the virtues, especially of charity, and the works of mercy towards our neighbor, for the love of neighbor is inseparable from and is the “thermometer” of an authentic love for God.

“I ask you and I beseech you and, falling at your feet, I beg you: as long as we enjoy the brief respite of life, let us repent, let us be converted, let us become better, so that we will not have to lament uselessly like that rich man when we die and tears can do us no good. For even if you have a father or a son or a friend or anyone else who might have influence with God, no one will be able to set you free, for your own deeds condemn you
(St. John Chrysostom, Homily on 1 Corinthians).”

Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.

ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Meister_des_Codex_Aureus_Epternacensis_001.jpg

Antonio Pagani, Lazarus, 18th c. in http://67.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mel5zhAIZy1qbhp9xo1_1280.jpg

Fedor Bronikov, Lazarus by the Rich Man’s gate in https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Fedor_Bronnikov_007.jpg

26th-sunday-ot-year-c-lazarus-and-the-rich-man

 

POPE FRANCIS: “THE TASK WHICH THE LORD GIVES US IS THE VOCATION TO CHARITY.”

POPE FRANCIS:
“THE TASK WHICH THE LORD GIVES US IS THE VOCATION TO CHARITY.”

Dear brethren in Christ, below you have excerpts of Pope Francis’ beautiful homily during the canonization of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta reminding us of our vocation to charity through works of mercy in which we serve Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself when we serve those around us, especially those in most need. I thought it useful to remind ourselves of his words and bring them to our personal prayer as well.

Let us ask St. Mother Teresa to help us recognize, love and serve Jesus in our brethren and thus advance through the path of holiness which is nothing but the “fullness of charity” (St. Josemaria)

Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.

+++EXCERPT OF POPE FRANCIS’ HOMILY
DURING THE CANONIZATION OF MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA BEGINS HERE+++

“There are always two protagonists in history: God and man. Our task is to perceive the call of God and then to do his will. But in order to do his will, we must ask ourselves, “What is God’s will in my life?”…

“I want mercy, not sacrifice” (Hos 6:6; Mt 9:13). God is pleased by every act of mercy, because in the brother or sister that we assist, we recognize the face of God which no one can see (cf. Jn 1:18). Each time we bend down to the needs of our brothers and sisters, we give Jesus something to eat and drink; we clothe, we help, and we visit the Son of God (cf. Mt 25:40).

We are thus called to translate into concrete acts that which we invoke in prayer and profess in faith. There is no alternative to charity: those who put themselves at the service of others, even when they don’t know it, are those who love God (cf. 1 Jn 3:16-18;Jas 2:14-18). The Christian life, however, is not merely extending a hand in times of need. If it is just this, it can be, certainly, a lovely expression of human solidarity which offers immediate benefits, but it is sterile because it lacks roots. The task which the Lord gives us, on the contrary, is the vocation to charity in which each of Christ’s disciples puts his or her entire life at his service, so to grow each day in love…

Following Jesus is a serious task, and, at the same time, one filled with joy; it takes a certain daring and courage to recognize the divine Master in the poorest of the poor and to give oneself in their service. In order to do so, volunteers, who out of love of Jesus serve the poor and the needy, do not expect any thanks or recompense; rather they renounce all this because they have discovered true love. Just as the Lord has come to meet me and has stooped down to my level in my hour of need, so too do I go to meet him, bending low before those who have lost faith or who live as though God did not exist, before young people without values or ideals, before families in crisis, before the ill and the imprisoned, before refugees and immigrants, before the weak and defenceless in body and spirit, before abandoned children, before the elderly who are on their own. Wherever someone is reaching out, asking for a helping hand in order to get up, this is where our presence – and the presence of the Church which sustains and offers hope – must be.”

AUDIO CREDIT:
Palestrina – Credo by The Tudor Consort is licensed under an Attribution License
VIDEO PHOTO CREDITS:
Pope Francis in http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1511373/images/o-POPE-FRANCIS-facebook.jpg
Pope Francis in front of a Crucifix: Reuters
Pope Francis kissing the feet:  L’Osservatore Romano
Embracing a man: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
Greeting a sick child and his mother: Reuters
With Filipino orphans: L’Osservatore Romano

September 4, 2016 ST. TERESA OF CALCUTTA. POPE FRANCIS’ BEAUTIFUL HOMILY: “May our only criterion for action is gratuitous love, free from every ideology…offered freely to everyone without distinction of language, culture, race or religion.”

September 4, 2016

ST. TERESA OF CALCUTTA. POPE FRANCIS’  BEAUTIFUL HOMILY:

“May our only criterion for action is gratuitous love, free from every ideology…offered freely to everyone without distinction of language, culture, race or religion.”

Dear brethren in Christ, we thank the Most Blessed Trinity for giving the entire Church a new saint who embodies God’s mercy and love, especially towards those who are suffering here on earth.

The commentator recounted to a particular event:

“She gave me her business card when we met each other in St. Mary Major. She put her business card in my hand and as I walked out of the Basilica and I noticed two things. First of all, her address. There was no email during that time and her address just said: Mother Teresa, MC. And the other side of the card, I still have it, says:

“The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace. God bless you, Mother Teresa.”

No email address, no phone number…now it is very much easier to reach St. Teresa Calcutta!

Let us ask Mother Teresa to pray for all of us so that we may know how to reflect God’s love, kindness and mercy in our thoughts, words, smile and actions towards everyone, most especially to those are in most need, knowing that Calcutta is not just in India: Calcutta is everywhere.

St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!

Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.

Below you have the Vatican-provided translation of Pope Francis’ prepared homily at the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa, held in St. Peter’s Square this morning.

+++POPE HOMILY BEGINS HERE. FORMATTING MINE+++

“Who can learn the counsel of God?” (Wis 9:13). This question from the Book of Wisdom that we have just heard in the first reading suggests that our life is a mystery and that we do not possess the key to understanding it. There are always two protagonists in history: God and man. Our task is to perceive the call of God and then to do his will. But in order to do his will, we must ask ourselves, “What is God’s will in my life?”

We find the answer in the same passage of the Book of Wisdom: “People were taught what pleases you” (Wis 9:18). In order to ascertain the call of God, we must ask ourselves and understand what pleases God. On many occasions the prophets proclaimed what was pleasing to God. Their message found a wonderful synthesis in the words “I want mercy, not sacrifice” (Hos 6:6; Mt 9:13). God is pleased by every act of mercy, because in the brother or sister that we assist, we recognize the face of God which no one can see (cf. Jn 1:18). Each time we bend down to the needs of our brothers and sisters, we give Jesus something to eat and drink; we clothe, we help, and we visit the Son of God (cf. Mt 25:40).

We are thus called to translate into concrete acts that which we invoke in prayer and profess in faith. There is no alternative to charity: those who put themselves at the service of others, even when they don’t know it, are those who love God (cf. 1 Jn 3:16-18;Jas 2:14-18). The Christian life, however, is not merely extending a hand in times of need. If it is just this, it can be, certainly, a lovely expression of human solidarity which offers immediate benefits, but it is sterile because it lacks roots. The task which the Lord gives us, on the contrary, is the vocation to charity in which each of Christ’s disciples puts his or her entire life at his service, so to grow each day in love.

We heard in the Gospel, “Large crowds were travelling with Jesus” (Lk 14:25). Today, this “large crowd” is seen in the great number of volunteers who have come together for the Jubilee of Mercy. You are that crowd who follows the Master and who makes visible his concrete love for each person. I repeat to you the words of the Apostle Paul: “I have indeed received much joy and comfort from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you” (Philem 1:7). How many hearts have been comforted by volunteers! How many hands they have held; how many tears they have wiped away; how much love has been poured out in hidden, humble and selfless service! This praiseworthy service gives voice to the faith and expresses the mercy of the Father, who draws near to those in need.

Following Jesus is a serious task, and, at the same time, one filled with joy; it takes a certain daring and courage to recognize the divine Master in the poorest of the poor and to give oneself in their service. In order to do so, volunteers, who out of love of Jesus serve the poor and the needy, do not expect any thanks or recompense; rather they renounce all this because they have discovered true love. Just as the Lord has come to meet me and has stooped down to my level in my hour of need, so too do I go to meet him, bending low before those who have lost faith or who live as though God did not exist, before young people without values or ideals, before families in crisis, before the ill and the imprisoned, before refugees and immigrants, before the weak and defenceless in body and spirit, before abandoned children, before the elderly who are on their own. Wherever someone is reaching out, asking for a helping hand in order to get up, this is where our presence – and the presence of the Church which sustains and offers hope – must be.

Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded. She was committed to defending life, ceaselessly proclaiming that “the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable”. She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created. For Mother Teresa, mercy was the “salt” which gave flavour to her work, it was the “light” which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.

Her mission to the urban and existential peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor. Today, I pass on this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life to the whole world of volunteers: may she be your model of holiness! May this tireless worker of mercy help us to increasingly understand that our only criterion for action is gratuitous love, free from every ideology and all obligations, offered freely to everyone without distinction of language, culture, race or religion. Mother Teresa loved to say, “Perhaps I don’t speak their language, but I can smile”. Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer. In this way, we will open up opportunities of joy and hope for our many brothers and sisters who are discouraged and who stand in need of understanding and tenderness.

[Original text: Italian] [Vatican-provided prepared text]

AUDIO SOURCE: Palestrina – Sanctus / Osanna I / Benedictus / Osanna II – Missa Sicut lilium inter spinas by The Tudor Consort is licensed under a Attribution 3.0 International License in http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Tudor_Consort/Renaissance_influences_-_Pizzetti_Messa_di_Requiem__Palestrina_Missa_Sicut_lilium_inter_spinas/05_Sanctus___Osanna_I___Benedictus___Osanna_II_-_Missa_Sicut_lilium_inter_spinas

VIDEO PHOTO SOURCES: Personal screenshots during the transmission of the canonization courtesy of CTV NEWS. You could watch it in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOI4WIUq0sk

 

PRAYERS FOR THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY: A SPIRITUAL WORK OF MERCY. St. Padre Pio and the Old Man in His Room. Video summary and text.

PRAYERS FOR THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY:
A SPIRITUAL WORK OF MERCY.

St. Padre Pio and the Old Man in His Room.
Video summary and text.

 

One of the seven spiritual works of mercy is to pray for the dead, not only for our loved ones, but also for all those who have died in God’s grace and are undergoing their purification in purgatory. This is a way of living the communion of the saints. Above all, they are our brethren who are in need of our help.

The Biblical foundation of this custom and work of mercy could be found in many scriptural passages (see http://wp.me/p6k7Mv-d3 ). To name a few:

  • 2 Machabees 12:46: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”
  • Matt 12:32: “…but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come.”
  • 1 Cor 3:13,15: “Every man’s work shall be manifest: for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.”

St. Padre Pio recounts an incident (among the many he had experienced) which occurred when one night he was sitting alone in a room absorbed in prayer when an old man entered and sat next to him.

Padre Pio wrote: “I looked at him but never thought of how he managed to get in the friary at that hour.  I asked him: ‘Who are you?  What do you want?”

The man answered: “Padre Pio, I am Pietro di Mauro, nicknamed Precoco.  I died in this friary [in a fire] on September 18, 1908, in room number 4.  I am still in Purgatory, and I need a Mass to free my soul from it. God has given me permission to come to you and ask for your prayers.”

After I had listened to his story, Padre Pio said: “You can rest assured that I will celebrate Mass tomorrow for your liberation.”

Padre Pio then said that the Holy Mass he celebrated the next day freed the man’s soul from Purgatory.  One of the monks in his friary checked the village records and found that such an individual had indeed died under the circumstances described by Padre Pio.

Dear friends, let us help and pray daily for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The best prayer is offering the Holy Mass for the eternal repose of their souls. This way, we are united not only with our brethren in heaven and earth, but also with those in Purgatory. Let us also ask their help by praying to them, for with their sufferings, they can intercede for us before God.

As Pope Francis wrote in Amoris Laetitia n. 277 :

One way of maintaining fellowship with our loved ones is to pray for them. The Bible tells us that “to pray for the dead” is “holy and pious” (2 Macc 12:44-45). “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and let your perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace, Amen.
May their souls and all of  your faithful departed, rest in peace, Amen.

Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.

SEE AS WELL:

LOOKING FOR THE BIBLICAL BASIS OF PURGATORY? Here are some 25 Biblical Passages in http://wp.me/p6k7Mv-d3

THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY (1). On Sin and Temporal Punishment in http://wp.me/p6k7Mv-cc

THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY (2): ON GOD’S LOVE AND THE SOULS’ SUFFERINGS http://wp.me/p6k7Mv-cj

 

VIDEO PHOTO SOURCES IN FB POST.