Today we bring you the Holy Father's annual Urbi et Orbi Easter Address given Sunday to an overflowing crowd of well over 150,000 at St. Peter's Square in which the Pope denounced racism and xenophobia, which is the hatred of foreigners. He did not mention any specific countries in particular but clearly aimed his comments at Africa, the Middle East, and Asia where Muslim insurgents are persecuting Christians and in Europe where in the Balkans ethnic cleansings are still going on. He asked God to "grant the human family of the third millennium a just and lasting peace." He expressed the sincere hope that all nations and peoples the worldover would "overturn the hardness of our hearts" in recognizing full respect for human rights and understand the significance of life associated with the Resurrection of Our Lord. THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
1. "Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando . . ."
"Death and life have contended in that stupendous combat: The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal" (Easter Sequence).
Once again, today, the whole Church pauses in amazement at the empty tomb. Like Mary Magdalen and the other women, who came to anoint with spices the body of the Crucified One, like the Apostles Peter and John who came running at the word of the women, the Church bows before the tomb in which her Lord was placed after the crucifixion.
A month ago, as a pilgrim in the Holy Land, I had the grace of kneeling before the stone slab which marks the place of Jesus' burial.
Today, Easter Sunday, I make my own the proclamation of the Heavenly messenger: "He is risen, He is not here" (Mark 16:6).
Yes, life and death were locked in combat and Life was victorious for ever. All is once again oriented to life, to Eternal Life!
2. "Victimae paschali laudes immolent christiani . . ."
"Christians, to the Paschal Victim offer sacrifice and praise. The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb; and Christ, the undefiled, has sinners to his Father reconciled".
The words of the Easter Sequence marvellously express the mystery accomplished in Christ's Passover. They point to the power of renewal flowing from his Resurrection. With the weapons of love, God has defeated sin and death.
The Eternal Son, who emptied Himself to become the obedient servant to the point of dying on the Cross (cf. Phil 2:7-8), has conquered evil at its roots by opening to contrite hearts the path of return to the Father. He is the Gate of Life who at Easter overcomes the gates of hell. He is the Door of salvation, opened wide for all, the Door of divine mercy, Who sheds a new light on human existence.
3. The Risen Christ signals the paths of hope along which we can advance together towards a world more just and mutually supportive, in which the blind egoism of the few will not prevail over the cries of pain of the many, reducing entire peoples to conditions of degrading misery.
May the message of life proclaimed by the angel near the stone rolled back from the tomb overturn the hardness of our hearts; may it lead to removing unjustified barriers and promote a fruitful exchange between peoples and cultures.
May the image of the new man, shining on the face of Christ, cause everyone to acknowledge the inalienable value of human life; may it encourage effective responses to the increasingly felt demand for justice and equal opportunity in all areas of society; may it impel individuals and States to full respect for the essential and authentic rights rooted in the very nature of the human person.
4. Lord Jesus, our Peace (Eph 2:14), Word made flesh two thousand years ago, Who by rising from the dead have conquered evil and sin, grant the human family of the third millennium a just and lasting peace; bring to a happy outcome the talks undertaken by people of good will who, despite so many doubts and difficulties, are trying to bring an end to the troubling conflicts in Africa, the armed clashes in some countries of Latin America, the persistent tensions affecting the Middle East, vast areas of Asia, and some parts of Europe.
Help the nations to overcome old and new rivalries, by rejecting attitudes of racism and xenophobia. May the whole of creation, inundated by the splendor of the Resurrection, rejoice because "the brightness of the eternal King has vanquished the darkness of the world" (Easter Proclamation).
Yes, Christ has risen victorious, and has offered man, Adam's heir in sin and death, a new heritage of life and glory.
5. "Ubi est mors stimulus tuus?"
"O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55), exclaims the Apostle Paul, touched on the road to Damascus by the light of the Risen Christ. His cry echoes down the centuries as the proclamation of life for the whole of human civilization. We too, the men and women of the twenty-first century, are invited to be mindful of this victory of Christ over death, revealed to the women of Jerusalem and the Apostles, when they arrived hesitantly at the tomb.
Through the Church, the experience of these eye-witnesses has come down to us too. It is a significant part of the journey of the pilgrims who, during this Year of the Great Jubilee, are entering through the Holy Door, and going away with renewed courage to build pathways of reconciliation with God and with their brothers and sisters.
At the heart of this Year of grace, may the proclamation of Christ's followers be heard more loudly and clearly, a joint proclamation, beyond all divisions, in ardent longing for full communion: "Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere." "Yes, that Christ is truly risen from the dead we know, Victorious King, your mercy show!" Amen.
Today we bring you the fifth day of the Novena of Divine Mercy which will conclude with DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY the end of tis week. This Novena was imparted to Blessed Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun of the 1930's who is known as the "Apostle of Mercy" and who will be honored with sainthood on Sunday. For this fifth day of the Novena and Chaplet of Divine Mercy, see DIVINE MERCY NOVENA
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son's Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great Mercy for endless ages. Amen.
It is greatly recommended the above novena intentions and prayers be said together with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Following is the formula for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, prayed on the regular beads of the Rosary. It is most appropriate to pray it at 3 o'clock in the afternoon which is the "Hour of Great Mercy" as Jesus said to Blessed Faustina: At three o'clock, implore My Mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the Hour of Great Mercy...In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. (1320).
On each decade of the small beads, pray the following:
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
At the end of the Chaplet recite three times the following prayer:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Some conclude with the following prayer said three times also:
O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as Font of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
It is recommended to offer each decade to the wounds of Christ, such as the first decade in reparation for the wound in HIs Right Hand; the second decade in reparation for the wound in His Left Hand, the third decade in reparation for the wounds in His Sacred Feet; the fourth decade in reparation for the wounds in His Head in which the Crown of Thorns crushed His Sacred Skull; and the fifth decade in reparation for the wound in His side in which Blood and Water gushed forth as a Font of Mercy for all generations.
The Novena to Divine Mercy, which Jesus asked Blessed Faustina to begin on Good Friday, 1937 is for nine days from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) which is the Feast of Divine Mercy. Jesus told her, By this Novena [of Chaplets and particular intention each day] I will grant every possible grace to souls. (796).
Today we continue our series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. We present the second part of the catechesis on The Resurrection as explained in My Catholic Faith and this fulfillment was the apex of all that Jesus had foretold and proof to all believers that He truly is the Son of God though there were still doubters such as Thomas and even today many still doubt, but our Faith proves without a shadow of a doubt the glorious fruits of His Resurrection. For part one in the 158th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH
Jesus Christ rose from the dead to show that He is true God, and to teach us that we, too, shall rise from the dead. The Resurrection is the most important of Christ's miracles. He Himself chose it as the most conclusive proof of His divine mission; the Apostles appealed to it to confirm their teachings. The fact of the Resurrection, by itself alone, proves Christ God.
Christ said repeatedly that He is the Son of God; He said He would rise again from the grave. He did rise, unaided, by His own almighty power; therefore He is as He said, the Son of God. If He were an imposter, God would not have permitted Him to rise again. "But take courage; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Christ bore on His body the marks of the five wounds. The qualities of His risen body were:
3. We are fortunate in having today for veneration a number of relics of the Passion. The tablet with the inscription "I.N.R.I." is in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Rome. One nail is said to have been thrown by Saint Helena into the Adriatic to calm a storm; another is in the iron crown of the Lombards. Vernoica's veil is in Rome. Part of the pillar of the scourging is at Rome, part in Jerusalem. The winding group of sheets or shroud is in Turin, Italy and will be on display once again in August of this Jubilee year. Of the crown of thorns, part is in Paris, part in Toulouse. All these remind us of the time when "they entreated Him to let them touch but the tassel of His cloak" (Matthew 14:36).
All men will rise from the dead, but only those who have been faithful to Christ will share in His glory. Like Christ, we, too, shall rise from the dead on the Last Day, and our bodies will be reunited with our souls. "He Who raised up Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus" (2 Corinthians 4:14). "As Christ has arisen from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).
Those who have been faithful to Christ will be rewarded with the glory of Heaven; those that have been unfaithful will be punished in the depths of hell. "If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above - not the things that are on earth." The rewads are given only to the faithful.
Tomorrow: The Ascension part one
On this date 658 years ago in 1342 during the Avignon Exile Pope Benedict XII passed away. He was the 197th Pontiff chosen in the line of Peter and, though a Frenchman by birth, had wanted to return to Rome even though his predecessor Pope John XXII had built the Papal Palace in Avignon, but the French monarch King Philip IV, in the aftermath of the feud with Pope Boniface VIII, forbid him to leave France. During his seven year pontificate Benedict XII decreed that all bishops live in their sees and he also reformed the major religious orders including the Benedictines, Dominicans and Franciscans. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
The City of Venice is founded and the square named after Saint Mark to honor his feast day and the day of the establishment of this great northern Italian city which would become a strong bastion of Catholicism.
Death of Saint William of Vercelli, hermit and religious founder.
Birth of Saint Louis IX to King Louis VIII and his holy mother Blanche. Young Louis would become the King of France at the age of 12 and rule for 44 years, going down as one of the greatest monarchs ever. He played a key role in the affairs of Holy Mother Church during the turbulent thirteenth century.
Death of Pope Benedict XII, the 197th successor of Peter, who reformed the Benedictine, Franciscan and Dominican orders and was third pontiff to reside in France during the Avignon Captivity.
Historical Events in Church Annals for April 25:
Pope Saint Leo III is abducted while riding in a procession to Holy Mass and while he was violently attacked by a wild gang of fanatics of one of the Italian families who threatened to gouge out his eyes, he was rescued by more moderate members of the same family and sent to a monastery. He would regain the throne of the Holy See but not on this day.
912 A.D. The City of Venice is founded and the square named after Saint Mark to honor his feast day and the day of the establishment of this great northern Italian city which would become a strong bastion of Catholicism.
1142 A.D. Death of Saint William of Vercelli, hermit and religious founder.
1214 A.D. Birth of Saint Louis IX to King Louis VIII and his holy mother Blanche. Young Louis would become the King of France at the age of 12 and rule for 44 years, going down as one of the greatest monarchs ever. He played a key role in the affairs of Holy Mother Church during the turbulent thirteenth century.
1342 A.D. Death of Pope Benedict XII, the 197th successor of Peter, who reformed the Benedictine, Franciscan and Dominican orders and was third pontiff to reside in France during the Avignon Captivity.
Today is Tuesday in Easter Week or the Easter Octave with tomorrow being the same for Wednesday where white vestments are the norm, alleluias and Easter lillies are in vogue, the Regina Coeli replaces the Angelus and the Paschal Candle, assembled and lit at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening is lit for every Mass until the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday. For the readings, liturgies, and meditations, see DAILY LITURGY.
"Do not touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father, but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.'"
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".
"Our greatest days are ahead, though in between intervenes the purging, where we will learn that as the rays cannot survive the sun, so neither can we prosper without God. This hope can be translated into victory in either of two ways: by prayerfully reawakening our hearts, or by being brought within an inch of disaster, until from the depths of our insufficiency we cry out to the goodness of God."
NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.
"Dear children! Pray and make good use of this time, because this is a time of grace. I am with you and I intercede for each one of you before God, for your heart to open to God and to God's love. Little children, pray without ceasing, until prayer becomes a joy for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."
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