THURSDAY    January 20, 2000   vol. 11, no. 14   SECTION ONE

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SECTION ONE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW column
  • Events today in Church History
  • Simply SHEEN
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • Monthly Medjugorje Message

  • If we know our Faith, then determining right from wrong is as simple as "Simple Scruples"

        In his column today, Pat Ludwa addresses something that seems to be misunderstood: scruples. Many mistake it as being overly cautious and seeing things that aren't there, seeing sin when there is none and presuming God will punish the person for the sin. That is one extreme. The other end of the spectrum is not worrying about anything at all, presuming God will forgive anything and everything. In today's column Pat points out that we need to find the middle road and encourages close scrutiny without dwelling on it for endless hours. He refers to "scrupulosity" as being careful and upright, not hesitant or being overly scrutinizing. And, backing it up with Scripture, shows that A little scrupulosity can be a good thing! in his column today. See VIEW FROM THE PEW

    A little scrupulosity can be a good thing?

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    Appreciation of the First and Second Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians

        Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith, concentrating on the Books of the New Testament with today presenting the introduction to Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians. For the ninety-second installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    installment 92:    The First Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians

          Saint Paul founded the Church at Thessalonica, during the early part of his second great missionary journey, i.e. about 51 A.D. Thessalonica, the capital of Macedonia, was a large and important city. Its population was predominantly Gentile, but Jews dwelt there in sufficient numbers to have a synagogue. Paul succeeded in converting some of the Jews and a large number of Gentiles. But his success stirred up the envy of the unbelieving Jews, who by calumny and riot compelled him to flee to Beroea. From there he went to Athens and Corinth, and it was in the latter city that this letter was written.

          While at Athens, Paul, fearing lest the persecution which continued against the Church at Thessalonica should cause his new converts to abandon the faith sent Timothy to ascertain conditions in the Church, and to confort and strengthen its members. Timothy reported to Paul at Corinth, bringing the cheering news of their constancy in the face of persecution. He likewise informed Paul that the Thessalonians required further instruction on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and this topic forms the main doctrinal subject of the Epistle, which was written shortly after Timonth's return from Thessalonica. The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians was written soon after the First, and these two Epistles are generally regarded as the earliest of Paul's writings.

      The Second Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
          The First Epistle failed to quiet the doubts and fears of the Thessalonians and so Paul hastened to supply them with fuller information on the subject of the "parousia," or Second Coming of Christ. He informed them that the "parousia" was not at hand. It could not take place until a great apostasy occurred and the antichrist appeared. Some of the Thessalonians who were convinced that the Second Coming of Christ was at hand thought it useless to work, and consequently lived irregularly. Paul condemned this practice, and ordered the offenders to be corrected. He urged all to adhere to his teachings, whether these were given orally or in writing.

      Tomorrow: Timothy

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    Events that happened today in Church History

        On this day six years ago the French Senate opened the floodgates for the culture of death by refusing to acknowledge that an embryo is a human being created by God. Despite vocal pleading by the Bishops of France, the blind legislatures turned their back on the Sanctity of Life and defeated the measure by a count of 294 to 21, thus giving rise to extensive embryionic experimentation and an encouragement of abortions in order to provide more embryos. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for January 20:

    • 250 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Saint Fabian, Martyr. For more on this 20th successor of Peter, see DAILY LITURGY.

    • 288 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Sebastian, Martyr. For more on this extraordinary martyr, see DAILY LITURGY.

    • 310 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Neophytus, young teenage martyr who was murdered for his faith by the regime of the Roman Emperor Galerius at Niceae.

    • 473 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Euthymius the Great, Abbot. Every year as a priest, this Armenian-born holy man would retire to a mountain in total solitude to fast and pray from the feast of the Epiphany to Easter Sunday. He died in Palestine at the age of 95.

    • 1045 A.D.
    • Election of Cardinal Giovanni de Sabina as Pope Sylvester III. His pontificate would last only twenty days. For a time he took the place of his predecessor and successor Pope Benedict IX who was elected Sovereign Pontiff three times. Sylvester was caught in the middle because of the factions known as the pro-papal Guelphs and the pro-monarchy Ghibellines. Even though Benedict would issue an interdict against Sylvester and proclaim the latter an antipope, Benedict did not have the authority at the time and it was never fully recognized by the Church. Therefore, Sylvester III remains a legitimate Pope, the 146th successor of Peter.

    • 1458 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Eutochium Calafato a Poor Clare nun who envisioned Christ crucified in a mystical vision Who told her she needed to reform the laxity in the convents. She received permission to found a stricter convent and became its abbess. She died at the age of 35 as a victim soul. Two centuries after her death her body was exhumed in Messina and discovered to be incorrupt verifying her sanctity.

    • 1994 A.D.
    • The death knell rings in France when the French Senate rejects a motion that would have asserted that an embryo is a human being. Because of this rejection it opened the door to extensive embryonic experimentation which the French Bishops lobbied so hard against.

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    Give of your wealth now and receive eternal dividends later

        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".

    "The world thinks that the highest things must be used for the lowest, for example, the intellect to make surplus wealth. The man of God believes that the lowest must be used for the highest, that is, money must be spent to help spread Divine Truth, to solace the afflicted and to cure the sick that their souls may be free to work out their salvation. The truest answer to 'You can't take it with you' is: 'You can, provided you give it away!' Then it is stored up as merit in the next life."

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        Today is the Second Thursday in Ordinary Time as well as the Feast of the early martyrs Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian while tomorrow we commemorate the Feast of another martyr - Saint Agnes. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and the profile on these saint, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Thursday, January 20, 2000

      Thursday January 20:
      Second Thursday in Ordinary Time and
      Feast of Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian, Martyrs

      Green or Red vestments

        First Reading: 1 Samuel 18: 6-8; 19: 1-7
        Psalms: Psalm 56: 2-3, 9-14
        Gospel Reading: Mark 3: 7-12

    Feast of Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian, Martyrs

         Both saints lived in the 3rd Century and both were martyred for their faith. St. Fabian was the 21st pope in the succession of Peter, reigning fourteen years. Born in Rome, he was elected on January 10th 236 and died a martyr on January 20th, 250. At the moment of his election a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit was seen alighting on his head. During his pontificate the exodus from Rome to flee the persecution of Decius, and later Diocletian, was such that it gave rise to the hermetical life of the anchorites, including Saint Antony of Egypt whose feast we celebrated on January 17th.

         St. Sebastian was born shortly after Pope Fabian's death. He became a Roman army officer and converted to Christianity, rescuing Christians who had been unjustly accused. He discovered that Christian twin brothers MarcusandMarcellinus, who had been imprisoned and tortured, were close to succumbing to the enticing offers of pagan relatives to give up their faith. Sebastian encouraged them to stand by Christ and die for Him if necessary. This was confirmed by a miraculous light shining about him as he spoke. Sebastian cured countless sick through prayer and, by his example, led many pagans to the true faith. He encouraged all to not be afraid to die for the faith for Heaven would be their reward for their loyalty to the Son of God. Sebastian even experienced a visit from one of his disciples who had been martyred. This disciple came back to tell him about Heaven and that his own time to die was at hand. Betrayed by a false disciple, he was condemned to death by the emperor Diocletian and shot with arrows. Left for dead, he miraculously was healed by Divine intervention and proceeded to go right back into the teeth of the enemy, pleading for Diocletian to stop the senseless slaughter of Christians. But the emperor's soul was already satan's and he sentenced Sebastian to be beaten to death by brutal clubbing. This saint holds the honor of a double martyrdom or "Martyr Extraordinaire."

    Friday, January 21, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Samuel 24: 3-21
        Psalms: Psalm 57: 2-4, 6, 11
        Gospel Reading: Mark 3: 13-19

    Feast of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

          Martyred for her faith at the early age of twelve, Saint Agnes was one of the youngest-known named martyrs in the Communion of Saints. She was born into a wealthy Roman aristocratic family and was remarkable for her beauty as a child. But the true beauty was interior and as a youth she vowed to live a life of purity and chastity, consecrating herself as a virgin. Even though she was not yet a teen, Roman suitors courted her trying to seduce her but she refused all advances. Word reached the Roman Emperor Diocletian who was relentless in his persecution of Christians. Rather than killing her right away, Diocletian's men sought to discredit her by making her a prostitute and that would further discredit Christianity and dissuade others from becoming Christians. Naturally Agnes rejected all advances and refused to give in to the sins of the flesh. This further infuriated Diocletian and his cohorts who dragged her before the governor. He ordered that she be thrown into the fire. God preserved her beauty inside and out by allowing her to emerge unscathed. The governor then ordered that she be beheaded in a public display but even this the executioner botched, stabbing her in the throat where she died professing her undying loyalty to her One, True God in 304. She was buried on the Via Nomentana where a cemetary stands in her name. Over the centuries Agnes, which means "chaste" in Greek, has become the standard for chastity, purity and virginal innocence and she is always depicted with a lamb - the Lamb of God - in Latin: Agnus Dei.

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        "For He healed many, so that as many as had ailments were pressing upon Him to touch Him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they beheld Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, 'Thou art the Son of God.' And He charged them strictly not to make Him known."

    Mark 3: 10-12

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    December 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    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! This is the time of grace. Little children, today in a special way with little Jesus, Whom I hold in my embrace, I am giving you the possibility to decide for peace.Through your 'yes' for peace and your decision for God, a new possibility for peace is opened. Only in this way, little children, this century will be for you a time of peace and well-being. Therefore, put little newborn Jesus in the first place in your life and He will lead you on the way of salvation. Thank you for having responded to my call.

    For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE

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    January 20, 2000     volume 11, no. 14
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