TUESDAY    January 24, 2000   vol. 11, no. 16   SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Dr. Frank Joseph's Pro-Life Prescriptions: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL! Debut
  • Holy Father's Papal Audience in THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
  • Daily LITURGY for January 24th and 25th
  • Daily WORD for January 24th
  • Medjugorje Monthly Message

  • Every American, born and unborn, has the unalienable right to life!

        We've enlisted Frank Joseph, MD, a committed retired Catholic physician from Southern California to write a special pro-life column for the DailyCATHOLIC which will appear each Wednesday exulting the Catholic beliefs on creation and procreation in upholding the Sanctity of Life. During Respect Life Week we will be carrying his column each day as an introductory promotion. For his introductory column, see Pro-Life Prescriptions: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!

    Life is beautiful from conception

    Dr. Frank

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    Pope begins catechesis on the Holy Trinity as the Alpha and Omega - "the Source to the Mouth of the River of Salvation History"

        In 2000 we will be bringing you the Holy Father's words twice a week enabling us to bring you his weekly Wednesday Papal audiences on Mondays and his Sunday Angelus address on Thursdays. Today, we bring you the words from January 19th where His Holiness began his series on the Most Blessed Trinity, showing how the Son of God and the Holy Spirit flow from the Father and in the current of salvation history, washes us in redemption through the Mystery of the Incarnation and Resurrection as part of God's master plan for mankind. See THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

    From the Source to the Mouth of the River of Salvation History

      Dear Brothers and Sisters:
          1. "Superessential Trinity, infinitely divine and good, keeper of the divine wisdom of Christians, bring us beyond every light and all that is unknown, to the highest summit of the mystical Scriptures, where the simple, absolute and incorruptible mysteries of theology reveal themselves in the luminous darkness of silence." With this invocation of Dionysius the Areopagite, an Eastern theologian ("Theologia Mystica" I, 1), let us begin to run along the arduous but fascinating course of the contemplation of the mystery of God. After having dwelt in the past years on each of the three divine persons -- the Son, the Spirit, and the Father -- we propose for this Jubilee year to encompass in one vision the common glory of the Three that are one God "not in the unity of a single person, but in the Trinity of a single substance" (Preface for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity). This choice corresponds to the teaching offered by the Apostolic Letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente", which makes the objective of the celebrative phase of the Great Jubillee "the glorification of the Trinity, from which everything comes and to which everything is directed, in the world and in history" (N. 55).

          2. Inspired by an image offered by the Book of Revelation (cf. 22:1), we can compare this path to a pilgrimıs journey along the shores of the river of God, that is, of his presence and of his revelation in the human history. Today, to provide a synthetic idea of this path, we will pause on the two extreme points of this river: its source and its mouth, united by one horizon between them. In fact the divine Trinity is the origin of both being and history, and is their ultimate goal. It constitutes the beginning and the end of salvation history. Between the two extremes of the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen 2) and the tree of life in the Heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Rev 22), stretches a long series of ups and downs marked by shadows and light, sin and grace. Sin has distanced us from the splendor of Godıs paradise; redemption brings us back to the glory of a new Heaven and a new earth, where "Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more" (Ibid., 21:4).

          3. The first vision on this horizon is offered by the initial pages of Sacred Scripture, which point to the moment in which Godıs creative power made the world from nothing: "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth" (Gen 1:1). This vision is deepened in the New Testament, ascending to the heart of the divine life, when John, at the beginning of his Gospel, proclaims: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn 1:1). Before the creation and at its foundation, this revelation makes us contemplate the mystery of the one God in the Trinity of persons: the Father and his Word, united in the Spirit.

          The biblical writer of the page on creation could not have suspected the profundity of this mystery; much less could he have reached its pure philosophical reflection, since the Trinity is beyond the capabilities of our intellect, and can be known only through revelation.

          And yet, this mystery, which infinitely surpasses us, is also the reality closest to us, as the source of our being. In fact, in God we "live, move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28), and we can apply what St. Augustine said of God to all three divine persons: He is "intimior intimo meo" (Conf. 3, 6, 11) [more intimate than my most intimate]. In the depth of our being, where even we cannot see, grace makes present the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons. The mystery of the Trinity, far from being an arid truth confined to the intellect, is the life that resides in us and sustains us.

      4. Our contemplation in this Jubilee year takes as its starting point this trinitarian life, which precedes and founds creation. In the mystery of the origins from which everything springs, God appears to us as He Who is the fullness of being and comunicates being, as the light that "illuminates everyone" (cf Jn 1:9), as Living Being and giver of life. Above all He appears to us as Love, according to the beautiful definition in the First Letter of John (cf 1 Jn 4:8).

          He is love in His intimite life, where the Trinitarian dynamism is the very expression of eternal love with which the Father generates the Son, and with which both reciprocally give Themselves in the Holy Spirit. It is love in the relationship with the world, since the free decision to create it from nothing is the fruit of this infinte love that radiates in the sphere of creation. If the eyes of our hearts, illuminated by revelation, are made pure and penetrating enough, they become capable in faith of engaging this mystery, in which all that exists has its roots and foundation.

      5. But as we mentioned at the beginning, the Trinitarian mystery is also before us as the finish line towards which history runs, as the homeland for which we yearn. Our Trinitarian reflection, following the boundaries of creation and history, will look for this destination, which the book of Revelation very effectively describes for us as the seal of history.

          It is this the second and final part of the river of God, that we have not much evoked. In the Heavenly Jerusalem, orgins and end come together. In fact, we see God the Father Who is seated on the throne and says: "See, I make everything new" (Rev 21:5). Next to Him is the Lamb, Who is Christ, on His throne, with His light, with the book of life that records the names of the redeemed (cf. Ibid., 21: 23-27; 22:1-3). And at the end, in a sweet and intense dialogue, the Spirit Who prays in us and together with the Church, which is the Lambıs spouse, says: "Come, Lord Jesus" (cf. Ibid., 22:17-20).

          Let us then return to the conclusion of this first sketch of our long pilgrimage in the mystery of God, to the prayer of Dionysius the Areopagite who reminds us of the necessity of contemplation: "It is in the silence, in fact, that they learn the secrets of this darkness ... that shines with the most dazzling light... It, even remaining perfectly intangible and invisible, fills with splendors more beautiful than beauty the intelligences that know to close their eyes" (Theologia mystica I,1).

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        Today is the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, the Bishop and Doctor of the Church, who is the patron saint of journalists and communicators, while tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignettes on these feasts, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Monday, January 24, 2000

      Monday January 24:
      Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

      White vestments

        First Reading: 2 Samuel 5: 1-7, 10
        Psalms: Psalm 89: 20-22, 25-26
        Gospel Reading: Mark 3: 22-30

    Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop, Religious Founder and Doctor of the Church

          Born in Savoy, France on August 21, 1567, nearly 50 years after the Protestant Reformation, Saint Francis de Sales would go on to play a major role in beginning the swing of the pendulum back to Holy Mother Church. Spurning the luxury of a barrister, this learned graduate of the University of Padua opted to become a priest where, guided by the Holy Spirit, his words and actions helped convert over 70,000 Calvinists back to the One, True Faith. He was so successful Pope Clement VIII elevated him to the See of the Bishopric of Geneva in 1602 at the age of 35. Accused by some of being too gentle, he offered the rationalization, "I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity." This gentleness helped convince the widow of the Baron of Chantal, none other than Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, to whom Francis was Spiritual Director, to help him found the Order of Visitation Nuns (the Visitandines) in 1610. The fruits of their labors in this holy endeavor soon spread throughout Europe and eventually the world. Vowed to poverty, Francis refused all provisions and honors, including politely declining the See of Paris to remain head of the Geneva Diocese. He devoted much to writing including his two brilliant works Introduction to the Devout Life which he penned in 1609 as a guide for the nuns to-be, and seven years later wrote Treatise on the Love of God which simply points out that sanctity is achievable in everyone's life. Both books have gone on to become spiritual must-reading for religious and laity alike. Francis fell ill in the winter of 1622 in Lyons, France and passed on to his Heavenly reward three days after Christmas on December 28, 1622 at the age of 55. Later the next year he was the first person to be beatified in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. He was canonized 43 years later by Pope Alexander VII and declared a "Doctor of the Church" by Pope Pius IX in 1877. St. Francis de Sales holds a special place in the hearts of all editors, journalists, writers and authors as their patron saint which was made official on January 24, 1923 when Pope Pius XI proclaimed him the designated patron saint of the Catholic press.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2000

        First Reading: Acts 22: 3-16 or Acts 9: 1-22
        Psalms: Psalm 117: 1-2
        Gospel Reading: Mark 16: 15-18

    Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul

         So important was the Conversion of the Apostle Paul in the development of the Church that she has set aside a special day to honor this miraculous conversion. Detailed in Acts 9: 1-30 and retold from Paul's point of view in Acts 22:1-21, the story of the Christian persecutor Saul to the zealous and holy instrument of evangelization Paul shows the strength of God's power in our lives and how He canchange anything. One thing Paul always was was sincere. Though a Roman citizen by privilege, he was first and foremost a Jew. Even as a Jew he sincerely felt his cause on behalf of the Jewish Law was just in persecuting Christians. He believed God belonged only to the Jews. The first martyr Saint Stephen was slain at Saul's command. His power and zealousness to put this Christian "fad" down drove him to more frenzied heights. It was his personal mission to round up all the Jews in Damascus who professed their belief in the man Who had been crucified. God works in strange and mystical ways. On Saul's journey to Damascus he was struck by a bolt from Heaven as he heard Our Lord say, "Saul, Saul, why doest thou persecute Me?" Because Saul was an honest and sincere man, though misguided in his zeal, God saw in him a tremendous instrument for all that He wanted to accomplish. Once Saul realized the error of his ways, his admission opened the floodgates for powerful interior graces and an infusion of the Holy Spirit which, as we know, Paul used wisely in his mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and play a vital role in bringing the "baby" Church from its weaning period into infancy and ultimately the conversion of the world. The lesson here is to remember how important the grace of God is in our lives and that we should cherish this gift always...never taking it for granted, and striving to nourish it daily through using the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit to strengthen grace in our souls.

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    Mark 3: 23-25

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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 24, 2000     volume 11, no. 16
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