Tuesday, 31 March 2015

500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Avila, Pope: St Teresa of Avila is primarily a teacher of prayer - Independent Catholic News

             Pope: St Teresa of Avila is primarily a teacher of prayer - Independent Catholic News         

Pope: St Teresa of Avila is primarily a teacher of prayer
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Earliest known portrait 1576
Pope Francis issued the following letter to the Superior General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Fr Xavier Cannistrà, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Avila on Saturday.

Dear Brother, On the 500th anniversary of the birth of St Teresa of Jesus, I wish, together with the whole Church, to give thanks to the great family of Discalced Carmelites--religious men and women and secular members--for the charism of this remarkable woman. I consider it a providential grace that this anniversary coincides with the Year of Consecrated Life, in which the saint of Avila shines as a sure and attractive model of total self-giving to God. It is one more reason to look to the past with gratitude and to rediscover "the inspiring spark" that gave impetus to the founders and to the first communities (cf. Letter to all consecrated people, 21 November 2014).

How much goodness does the testimony of her consecration - born directly from the encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer as continuous dialogue with God, and her community life, rooted in the motherhood of the Church - do for us!

1. St Teresa is primarily a teacher of prayer. The discovery of Christ's humanity was central to her experience. Moved by the desire to share this personal experience with others, she describes it in a vivid and simple way, accessible to everyone, because it consists simply in "a relationship of friendship ... with he who we know loves us" (Life, 8, 5 ).

Many times this same narrative becomes prayer, as if she had wanted to introduce the reader into her interior dialogue with Christ.

Teresa's prayer was not reserved only to one space or to one time of day; it arose spontaneously in the most diverse occasions: "It would be extremely difficult if you could only pray in secluded places" (Foundations, 5, 16).

She was convinced of the value of continuous prayer, even if it was not always perfect. The saint asks us to be steadfast, faithful, even in times of dryness, personal difficulties or urgent needs that call us. Teresa left us a great treasure to renew consecrated life today, full of concrete proposals, ways and methods to pray, that, far from closing us in on ourselves or leading us only to inner balance, always make us start again from Jesus and constitute a genuine school to grow in love for God and neighbour.

2. Since her encounter with Jesus, St Teresa lived "another life"; she become a tireless communicator of the Gospel (cf. Life, 23, 1). Eager to serve the Church, and in the face of serious problems of her time, she did not limit herself to being a spectator of the reality around her. In her position as a woman and with her health difficulties, she decided, she said, "to do what little depended on me ... that is to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as possible and to ensure that these few nuns who are here do the same" (The Way, 1, 2).

Thus began the Teresian reform, in which she asked her sisters not to lose time negotiating with God "interests of little importance," while "the world is in flames" (ibid., 1, 5). This missionary and ecclesial dimension has always marked the Carmelites and Discalced Carmelites. As she did then, even today the saint opens new horizons for us, she calls us to a great undertaking, to see the world with the eyes of Christ, to seek what He seeks and to love what He loves.

3. St Teresa knew that neither prayer nor mission can be sustained without authentic community life. Therefore, the foundation that she laid in her monasteries was fraternity: "Here everyone must love one another, care for each other and help one another" (ibid., 4, 7).

And she was very careful to warn her sisters about the danger of individualism in fraternal life, which consists "all or almost all in the denial of ourselves and of our own comforts" (ibid., 12, 2) and to place ourselves at the service of others. To avoid this risk, the saint of Avila recommended to her sisters, first of all, the virtue of humility, which is neither outward neglect nor inner shyness of the soul, but each knowing their own abilities and what God can do in us (cf. Relations, 28). The opposite is what she calls "false point of honour" (Life, 31, 23), a source of gossip, jealousy and criticism, which severely damage relationships with others. Teresian humility consists of self-acceptance, awareness of one's own dignity, missionary courage, gratitude and trust in God. With these noble roots, Teresian communities are called to become houses of communion, capable of witnessing to fraternal love and to the motherhood of the Church, presenting to the Lord the needs of the world, torn by divisions and wars.

Dear Brother, I do not want to end without thanking the Teresian Carmelite communities that entrust the Pope, with special tenderness, to the protection of the Virgin of Carmel, and accompany, with their prayers, the great trials and challenges of the Church. I ask the Lord that your witness of life, like that of St Teresa, allows the joy and beauty of living the Gospel to shine and attracts many young people to follow Christ closely. To the whole Teresian family, I warmly impart my Apostolic Blessing.

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Pilgrimage to celebrate the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth unveiled

Published on 13 Nov 2014
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Saint Teresa of Avila is one of the most influential women in the history of the Catholic Church. 


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Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark 14:1-15:47. Liturgy Procession with Palms

Palm Sunday; Hosanna Sunday

We mark this Holy Week with solemn joy. Death is real. But this week we know that love is even more real.

Lent Stational Church
The Station at Rome is in the church of St. John Lateran which represents the Holy City Jerusalem which Christ and we, His disciples, have just entered. It is the first cathedral of Rome, where Emperor Constantine allowed the Pope to set up the episcopal chair after 312.
Liturgy for Palm Sunday
The priests and deacons wear red vestments for Mass. There is a special entrance at the beginning of each Mass, either simple or solemn. This includes a blessing of the palms and the gospel reading of the entrance into Jerusalem (Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; John 12:12-16; Luke 19:28-40). The introduction by the priest explains the solemnity of Holy Week, and invites the faithful to take full part in the celebration:
Dear friends in Christ, for five weeks of Lent we have been preparing, by works of charity and self-sacrifice, for the celebration of our Lord's paschal mystery. Today we come together to begin this solemn celebration in union with the whole Church throughout the world. Christ entered in triumph into his own city, to complete his work as our Messiah: to suffer, to die, and to rise again. Let us remember with devotion this entry which began his saving work and follow him with a lively faith. United with him in his suffering on the cross, may we share his resurrection and new life.
The palms are blessed with the following prayer:
Almighty God, we pray you bless these branches and make them holy. Today we joyfully acclaim Jesus our Messiah and King. May we reach one day the happiness of the new and everlasting Jerusalem by faithfully following him who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
As the faithful, we remember and dramatize Christ's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey. In Jesus' time, a huge crowd assembled, put their cloaks or branches on the ground, and waved palm branches, acclaiming Christ as the King of Israel, the Son of David. We now wave our palm branches and sing as the priest enters the church:
Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
These words of praise are echoed every day at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Sanctus (Holy, Holy).
Our joy is quickly subdued. We are jolted to reality and see the purpose of Christ coming to Jerusalem by the reading of the Passion at the Gospel. (Written by Jennifer Gregory Miller)

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Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Annunciation of the Lord - Solemnity


Sermon in the Community Chapter
by Brother Barry.

 LIPPI FRA FILIPPO / Annunciation
Tuesday, 24 March 2015

          In Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men and the Annunciation heralds the beginning of our salvation.
         By Mary's obedient "Fiat," the earth has become heaven. "In Jesus, God has placed, in the midst of barren, despairing mankind,a new beginning which is not a product of human history but a gift from above" (Pope Benedict XVI).
         "Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace." 
                                                                                   (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
God our Father,
your Word became man and was born of the Virgin Mary.
May we become more like Jesus Christ,
whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man.
We ask this through our Lourd Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
(Opening prayer)

                            Ecce Ancilla Domini                              
Nunraw Liturgy

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Ecce Ancilla Domini! ... the Vulgate text of the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke, describing the Annunciation, where Mary accepts ...    

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

St. Augustine The Two Cities

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Lent Year I
Night Office Patristic Reading 


There are two cities, the city of the godly and the city of the ungodly. These have been with us since the human race began, and will continue to the end of the world. For the time being, as far as outward appearances go, they are indistinguishable, but their aspirations are very different. On the Day of Judgment they will be separated bodily for all to see. One fellowship consists of all those men and angels who humbly seek God’s glory rather than their own, and follow him with laving devotion. Yet in his abundant mercy God bears patiently with the ungodly, giving them time to repent and change their ways.
We have an illustration of this in God’s decision to destroy the entire human race by the flood, with the exception of one just man and his family, who were to be kept safe in the ark. God knew the wicked would not change their ways; even so, during the hundred years it took to build the ark, they were clearly warned that his wrath would descend upon them They were assured, too, that if they turned to God he would spare them, as he later spared the penitent Ninevites. At the same time the mystery of the flood prefigures the Church to come: as the wood of the ark saved the just from drowning, so too, by the mystery of his wooden Cross, Christ, the Church’s God and King, saves us from drowning in the sea of this world. God well knew that from those saved in the ark evil men would be born who would fill the earth once again with their wickedness; nevertheless, in the symbol of a thing made of wood he gave men a foreshadowing of both the judgement to come and the salvation of the just. 

We know that among those who lived after the flood, there were at least some good people who enjoyed the freedom of the holy city. The Spirit had made known to them the coming self-abasement of Christ their King; through this healing revelation they were enabled to conquer that pride which originated with the devil and to seek God with loving devotion. From their number God chose Abraham, a man of faith who served God with all his heart; to him he revealed the mystery of his Son, so that believers of all nations, by imitating his faith, would be called the children of Abraham.

From Abraham arose a people who worshiped the one true God, maker of heaven and earth. In this people the Church to come was much more clearly prefigured; it included the earthly­-minded majority who served God for his material benefits, as well as the minority who looked forward to God’s eternal rest and were in search of their heavenly country. To the latter, however, the Prophets revealed the meekness of their future king, Christ Jesus our Lord and God, so that through faith in him they might rid themselves of all pride and self-importance.

Not only by their words, but still more by the symbolism of their lives, their marriages, and their children, these devout men who lived before the birth of our Lord point toward the time when through faith in the passion of Christ the pagans would be incorporated into the Church. All these things signified­ the mystery of Christ and his Church, of which those Old Testament saints were members, even though they lived before Christ our Lord was born according to the flesh.
 St Augustine, First Catechetical Instruction, 31-32.39 (CCL 46:155-158,164); 
Word in Season II, 1st ed 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Fr. Raymond Homily St. John 12;20-33

Sunday 22nd (2015) Mass
Homily of Fr. Raymond
Some Greeks Wish to See Jesus
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
Jesus Speaks about His Death
27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
St. John tells us in today's Gospel that some Greeks approached Philip to ask him to introduce them to Jesus. Why was it Philip they approached? Somehow, perhaps because of his accent, they knew he was from the area called Galilee, Galilee of the Gentiles in fact it was called. It seems there were so many gentiles living where he did that they thought they would have a more sympathetic hearing from him than from any of the other apostles. The others were so obviously 'dyed in the wool' Jews, bitterly antagonistic to all that the gentiles stood for. So, it's not surprising that it was Philip they asked to introduce them to Jesus. However, It's obvious that this request was a bit too much for Philip to handle on his own. So he went to ask Andrew for moral support. Andrew was a bit higher up in the pecking order of the Apostles; after all he was Peter's Brother.     

The reason for this round about approach to Jesus was that up till then Jesus himself had steered very much clear of the gentiles. In fact, when he first sent his apostles out to prepare the way for him to come in person, he explicitly told them: "Don't go to gentile towns or to gentile villages. He was very firm about this policy himself. He even went to the extent of appearing to be cruel about it! When a poor gentile Mother pleaded with him to deliver her daughter from a devil, he refused at first, because, as he said "1 was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel". You need only read the Gospels to realise how faithfully he kept to this purpose. Jesus could so easily have imitated his great missionary disciple Paul. He could so easily, like Paul, have travelled far and wide throughout the Roman Empire to spread the Good News. But no, Jesus kept jealously to the mission his Father gave him: to "go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel"

It's no wonder then that St Johnmakes a great deal of this scene. This had been, for himself and for the other apostles, a moment of the greatest significance in the mission of the Master. This was a defining moment in the mission of the Messiah, the Messiah whom they had jealous!y regarded as the Saviour, not of the world, but of the house of Israel only. And it's no wonder that Jesus himself gets caught up in the greatness of the moment - "Now, now the hour has come", he says "Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Now the hour has come for the accomplishment of the redemption of all peoples, Jews and Gentiles alike to the ends of the earth. Now My Hour has come. Now the full scope of my mission begins"

Doing God's will - Henri Nouwen. Heb 10:26-29

Night Office


First Reading:
Hebrews 10:26-39
... The unbeliever shall falter; + the  just will live by faith.
V. Without faith it is impossible to please God. + The just will live by faith.

Alternative Reading
From the writings of Henri J. M. Nouwen (Show Me the Way, Readings for Each Day of Lent, 33-34)
Doing God's will

Everything we know about Jesus indicates that he was concerned with only one thing: to do the will of his Father. Nothing in the gospels is as impressive as Jesus' single-minded obedience to his Father. From his first recorded words in the temple, Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father's affairs? to his last words on the cross, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit, Jesus' only concern was to do the will of his Father. He says: The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing. The works Jesus did are the works the Father sent him to do, and the words he spoke are the words the Father gave him. He leaves no doubt about this: If I am not doing my Father's work, there is no need to believe me; my word is not my own; it is the word of the one who sent me.

Jesus is not our Saviour simply because of what he said to us or did for us. He is our Saviour because what he said and did was said and done in obedience to his Father. That is why Saint Paul could say, As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made right­eous. Jesus is the obedient one. The centre of his life is this obedient relationship with the Father.

Our lives are destined to become like the life of Jesus. The whole purpose of Jesus' ministry is to bring us to the house of his Father. Not only did Jesus come to free us from the bonds of sin and death, he also came to lead us in the intimacy of his divine life. It is difficult for us to imagine what this means. We tend to emphasize the distance between Jesus and ourselves. We see Jesus as the all-knowing and all-powerful Son of God who is unreachable for us sinful, broken human beings. But in thinking this way, we forget that Jesus came to give us his own life. He came to lift us up into loving community with the Father. Only when we recognize the radical purpose of Jesus' ministry will we be able to understand the meaning of the spiritual life. Everything that belongs to Jesus is given for us to receive. All that Jesus does we may also do.

The unbeliever shall falter; +the just will live by faith.
V. Without faith it is impossible to please God. + The just will live by

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Fifth Sunday of Lent (B) - Gospel March 22, 2015. Fr. William MM

Fifth Sunday of Lent (B) - Gospel March 22, 2015


          Published on 16 Mar 2015

Sunday's Gospel
Fr. William Grimm, MM.

Friday, 20 March 2015

The sacrifice offered on the cross was divine. (John Chrysostom) Patristic Lectionary,

Night Office John Chrysostom.
From my Lenten Read was focused on 'The Kingdom of the Divine Fiat', words from John Chrysostom illuminated, "The sacrifice offered on the cross was divine... priest in his divinity, Christ both offered and in his human nature was offered ".
Hebrews 10:9,  "Here I am, I have come to do your will."
[AMP]. Heb 10:9  He then went on to say, Behold, [here] I am, coming to do Your will. Thus He does away with and annuls the first (former) order [as a means of expiating sin] so that He might inaugurate and establish the second (latter) order. [Ps. 40:6-8.] 
Heb 10:10  And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One). 

  FRIDAY    Year I
 First Reading Hebrews 10:1-10
 Responsory      Heb 10:5-7.4; Ps 40:7-8
 Sacrifices and offerings you did not desire, but you prepared a body for me. Burnt offerings and sin offerings could not please you, so I said: + Here I am, Lord God, I come to do your will.
V. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins, and so when Christ came into the world he said: + Here I am ...

Second Reading From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom (Horn. de cruce et latrone 1, 1-2: PG 49, 400)

The sacrifice offered on the cross was divine

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us, and if you ask where he was sacrificed, it was upon a high scaffold. This was a new kind of altar of sacrifice because the sacrifice itself was new and amazing. The victim and the priest were the same. Victim in his humanity, priest in his divinity, Christ both offered and in his human nature was offered. Listen to Paul's explanation of both these truths. He says: Every high priest taken from among the people is appointed to act on their behalf. This high priest too must have something to offer, then, and so he offers himself But in another place Paul says: Christ, having been offered once for all to take away the sins of many, will appear to those who await him to save them.

Perhaps you will ask why the sacrifice was offered outside the city walls and not in the temple. It was to fulfil the text of Scripture that says: He was reckoned among the wicked. It was offered outside the walls to show you the universal nature of the sacrifice. The purification was not for only a few as with the Jews, but for everyone. God has commanded the Jews to offer sacrifice and prayer in one place on earth to the exclusion of all others, because the whole world was polluted by the smoke and fat of burnt offerings and all the other defilements of pagan sacrifice, but for us the whole world has been purified by the coming of Christ, so that every place has become a place of prayer. And so Paul boldly urges us to feel free to pray everywhere. In every place, he says, I want the men to lift up reverent hands in prayer.

Do you not see then how the world has been purified? We are able in every place reverently to raise our hands to God because the whole world has become holy, holier than the innermost shrine of the temple. The sacrifice offered in the temple was an irrational beast but that offered on the cross was divine, and the more perfect the victim, the more perfect too is the sanctification.

          Responsory Is 53:12; Lk 23:34

Christ surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked. +He bore the crimes of many and prayed all the while for sinners.
V. Jesus prayed: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. + He bore the ...