July 14-16, 2000
volume 11, no. 121

LITURGY for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday July 14 through 17, 2000

Friday, July 14, 2000

    Friday July 14:
    Weekday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, Virgin

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Hosea 14: 2-10
      Psalms: Psalm 51: 3-4, 8-9, 12-17
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 16-23
Feast of Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, Virgin
        The first Native American to be selected for canonization, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born in Auriesville, New York in 1656; ten years after Jesuit martyrs Saint Isaac Jogues and Saint Jean de Lalande were slain in the same village. Her father was a ferocious, pagan Mohawk chief while her mother was from the Algonquin tribe and had been baptized by the Jesuit missionaries at Three Rivers in Quebec and taken by force from her village by the Iroquois and forced to marry her Mohawk husband. At the age of four, Kateri's family contracted smallpox which took the lives of her parents, prompting her mother's sisters and brothers to adopt the child. Though Kateri survived, her face was permanently disfigured and eyesight impaired. Yet she offered everything up joyously for she had lived. This joyous optimism translated to her converting to the faith on Easter Sunday in 1676. Her conversion prompted a rebellion by some in the tribe who not only ridiculed her and ostracized her, but retaliated against the Jesuits and were seeking Kateri out when one of the priests secretly alerted Kateri and she fled to a Christian colony just outside Montreal. After trekking over 200 miles through the wilderness, she finally reached her destination in 1677 where she studied under the Jesuit missionaries and an older, wise woman by the name of Anastasia. Through their guidance and example, Kateri grew in her faith, leading a life of great austerity and tremendous charity towards others, spending countless hours day and night before the Blessed Sacrament at the small chapel in the colony. At the age of 23 she made a vow of chastity to be a virgin for Jesus. But that chaste life was cut short a year later when she fell seriously ill from one of the many diseases of those times. Just before she passed onto her eternal reward on July 14, 1680, she exclaimed, "Jesus! Mary! I love you!" The death of this Lily of the Mohawks resulted in a fruitful religious revival amongst the Indian tribes who held her up as a saint even back then. In 1943 Pope Pius XII declared her Venerable and thirty seven years later she was elevated to Beatification status by Pope John Paul II. Many suspect it will not be long before she is declared a saint, following the lead of the Native Americans in Caughnawaga, Canada where she died.

Saturday, July 15, 2000

    Saturday July 15:
    Feast of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

    White vestments

      First Reading: Isaiah 6: 1-8
      Psalms: Psalm 93: 1-2, 5
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 24-33
Feast of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
        Known as the "Seraphic Doctor," Saint Bonaventure, a holy Franciscan was born near Viterbo in Tuscany, Italy in 1221 five years before Saint Francis of Assisi died. As a child Bonaventure had contracted a mortal sickness and Francis came to his deathbead. There little Bonaventure was miraculously cured. So overcome was Francis with thankfulness to God for this wondrous event that he proclaimed "O bona ventura!" - Italian for "goodness goes with you wherever you go." From that moment on the child became Bonaventure. The fruits of Francis' zeal touched Bonaventure so much he entered the Franciscans in 1240 and was assigned to the University of Paris. After graduating and being ordained, he became a professor there where he teamed with the great Saint Thomas Aquinas to defend the Franciscan friars who were being pressured to resign from teaching by the Diocesan priests. Bonaventure had the full support of his friend who he advised - the king - Saint Louis. St. Aquinas was greatly moved by Bonaventure's tact and intelligence and asked him how he had acquired such great learning in so little time. Bonaventure answered simply by pointing to his crucifix. Thomas knew intuitively what he meant. Bonaventure also compiled the biography on the life of St. Francis during this time and once, while writing it, was discovered by Thomas to be in total ecstacy. Thomas remarked to his fellow teachers, "Let us leave a Saint to write of a Saint." Shortly thereafter in 1257 Bonaventure was selected Superior General of the Franciscans at the unusually early age of 35. In this position he promulgated the revision of the Franciscan constitution so that it would be more in line with what Francis intended. Yet he was prudent in keeping a peaceful balance between those who sought to observe the rule in the strictest sense and those who were more relaxed in the interpretation of the rule. He wrote, "look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervor and glowing love." He was offered the position of archbishop of York but respectfully declined in order to give his attention to his order and the people. Eventually, however, Blessed Pope Gregory X convinced him he should become cardinal and head the diocese of Albano. In obedience he complied and the Holy Father commissioned him to prepare everything for the Second Council of Lyons where he also spoke, winning over the Greeks as they came back in union with Rome. It was there a few weeks after the Council that Bonaventure died in 1274 with Blessed Gregory, most of the bishops assembled for the Council, and numerous loyal Franciscans at his bedside.

SUNDAY, July 16, 2000

    SUNDAY July 16:
    Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Amos 7: 12-15
      Psalms: Psalm 85: 9-14
      Second Reading: Ephesians 1: 3-14
      Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 7-13
Though the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time supersedes today's Feast, July 16 is the traditional date of the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel:

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
       This feast dates back to the time of the Old Testament for Carmel is the mountain of the renewal of the Covenant and Divine intervention through Elijah the Prophet around 900 BC as revealed in Isaiah, Jeremiah and 1 Kings. Carmel, which lies on the border between Samaria and Galilee 20 miles from Nazareth, is derived from the Hebrew Karem el which means garden or orchard and vine of God. It has become a symbol of grace and that is why it so so fitting that the rain Elijah [Elias] prayed for came at Carmel as the "little cloud" (3 Kings 18: 44) turned into a mighty rain that wiped out the drought. So also in the New Covenant God sent "a little cloud" in the person of His Blessed Mother Mary to rain upon mankind the graces God bestows as the Mediatrix of all graces. In the 5th Century, Chrysippus of Jerusalem wrote of the Blessed Virgin, "Hail, Cloud of Rain that offers drink to the souls of the Saints." It was around the 12th Century that Carmel first became a place of veneration toward the Mother of God and monks took up sanctuary there living a holy rule. It was the beginning of the Carmelite Order founded in the Holy Land in 1154 by Saint Berthold and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Their original name was Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. The original rule was set down by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1209. The Crusades were instrumental in bringing the Carmelites to Europe through the work of Saint Simon Stock whose feast this date the Church formally celebrated. This English monk learned through private revelation of locutions and visions from Our Lady that he was to join an order not known in Britain, yet dedicated to her, and was asked to wait until a few White Friars, as they were called, came to England with the returning Crusaders. Then he was guided to join this Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Because of his holiness and reverence and, because of the Providence of God through Our Lady, Simon was chosen the Prior-General of the Order at Aylesford, England in 1245. But it wasn't to be easy. Many persecutions arose against the Carmelites and always Simon went in filial obedience to Our Lady for consolation and direction. This led him to the famous apparition at the White Friar's convent in Cambridge, England on July 16, 1251 in which Our Lady appeared to him, presenting him with the Brown Scapular as an outward sign of protection, telling Simon, "Here is the privilege that I grant to you and to all the children of Carmel, whoever dies clothed in this habit shall be saved." Many miracles ensued and the Brown Scapular became legendary as miraculous protection for all who wore it and it spread rapidly through the centuries. Though it is not "magical" and one must be in a state of grace to receive the merits inherent in wearing the Scapular, it is another sign of God's infinite Mercy that He is with us always. The granting of the Scapular gave Simon the fortitude to reorganize the Carmelites into mendicant friars similar to the Franciscans which had begun a few decades prior. Simon died at Bordeaux in 1265 while evangelizing and establishing more Carmelite houses in France. The feast of St. Simon Stock and Our Lady of Carmel were first introduced into the Church in the late 1370's in commemoration of Pope Honorius III's approval of the Carmelite Rule. Over the next several centuries laxity set in and it wasn't until the 16th Century that Saint Theresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross reformed the Order, setting up two branches for both men and women: the Discalced and Calced. One branch was dedicated to contemplative, devoting themselves in prayers of intercession for the other branch of Carmelites who were active in the world in missionary activities. In 1726 Pope Benedict XIII introduced this feast into the Roman Calendar. The Carmelites' ideal became world-famous through the 1925 canonization of "the Little Flower" - Saint Theresa of Lisieux (1873-1897) by Pope Pius XI. Yes, the "little rain cloud" personified through Our Lady has brought the reign of God to countless millions through the Providence of Carmel.

Monday, July 17, 2000

      First Reading: Isaiah 7: 10-17
      Psalms: Psalm 50: 8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 34-42; 11: 1

July 14-16, 2000
volume 11, no. 121

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