DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     August 6-8, 1999     vol. 10, no. 147


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Friday, August 6, 1999

    Friday August 6:

    White vestments

      First Reading: Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14
      Psalms: Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 9
      Second Reading: 2 Peter 1: 16-19
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 17: 1-9


          One of the manifestations of Jesus Christ's deity was the glorification of His appearance before His Resurrection. As the accounts of Matthew 17: 1-8; Mark 9: 1-8; and Luke 9: 28-36 describe while praying with His chosen Apostles Peter, James and John on the mountain, Jesus' "face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as snow." Then He was transfigured before them, and Moses and Elias or Elijah joined Him. The Apostles intuitively knew there was no need for fear as Peter remarked to his Master, "Lord, it is good for us to be here." It was truly prophetic for Peter showed his personality in this passage as he meandered on about erecting three altars to the three in the Transfiguration. It gives us a glimpse of the thinking behind the one who would be chosen to lead Christ's Church for Peter, along with the other two Apostles who heard the Father confirm Jesus' mission with the words, "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear Him." After that, as if in a trance, the Evangelists tell only that the three Apostles fell on their faces - so in awe of this vision that the next thing they knew Jesus Himself was touching them, the Transfiguration over, beckoning them to "Arise, and be not afraid." Jesus knew no one else would understand what had just transpired and so counseled the three to tell no one of this event until AFTER the Resurrection when they would clearly understand that "Truly He was the Son of God" (Matthew 27: 54). Jesus also felt it was important for them to witness this event in order that when they later would see Him suffer, it would sustain them in knowing that He was truly God and would rise. As we know it was these same three Apostles who accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemani where they showed their frailties by falling asleep. Also, it was the impulsive Peter who seemed to forget the Transfiguration vision while he cowered in the courtyard denying Our Lord. The etymology of Transfiguration is derived from the Latin trans which means "change" and figura meaning "figure" which Jesus did indeed do, His countenance changed before the Apostles' very eyes as did His figure which became very agile providing proof that a glorified body can move rapidly from one place to another like the speed of light or sound. This was confirmed in Luke 24: 31, 34, 36 when the Evangelist places Jesus on the road to Emmaus and then "vanished from their sight", then immediately he was inside the upper room "stood in their midst." The doors were locked, yet besides agility, Christ possessed "subtility" which allows a body to go where it pleases without any resistance to material matter. Thus He was able to pass through walls as light streams through glass.

Saturday, August 7, 1999

    Saturday August 7:
    Eighteenth Saturday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Pope Saint Sixtus II and companions, and Saint Cajetan, priest and religious founder and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday and

    Green or Red or White vestments

      First Reading: Deuteronomy 6: 4-13
      Psalms: Psalm 18: 2-4, 47, 51
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 17: 14-20


          Very little is known of Pope Saint Sixtus II. This Grecian-born pontiff, elected on August 30th, 257, was the twenty-fourth successor of Saint Peter. He possessed a meek disposition but was not afraid to settle the disputes that had arisen under his predecessors Pope Saint Cornelius, Pope Saint Lucius I, and Pope Saint Stephen I. It was Sixtus who effected the translation and identification of the mortal remains of St. Peter and Saint Paul. The Romans captured Sixtus while he was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the catacombs and was immediately beheaded to discourage others. It had the opposite effect as Saint Cyprian wrote as he originated the exclamation now part of the Mass - "Deo Gratias". Many companions willingly joined Sixtus in martyrdom on August 6, 258. Sixtus' body was retrieved and given an appropriate burial with a church being built in his honor a century later after the liberation by Constantine. Another church was eventually built over the original one and early in the 13th Century it was given over to Saint Dominic who bequeathed it to his Order of Preachers. It gradually became a cloistered monastery for Dominican nuns. Today, known as the church of St. Dominic and St. Sixtus, it is located in the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.


          Born twelve years before the discovery of America, Saint Cajetan would go on to be a staunch defender of the faith in the face of Martin Luther's attacks against the Church. This holy canon lawyer was appointed protonotary apostolic and secretary to Pope Julius II in 1505 twelve years before becoming a priest in 1517. Realizing the Church needed universal and radical reform as assessed by the Fifth Lateran Council, he stayed near the Vatican while bringing the order he had helped foster with John Peter Carafa. This was the Company of Divine Love which was founded by Saint Catherine of Genoa in that city, and dedicated to caring for the poor and infirm. Cajetan was instrumental in establishing a hospital in Rome and later one in Vicenza where he became the pastor of St. Mary's in 1520. Three years later he returned to Rome to found the Institute of Clerks Regular with the charge of preaching, administering the sacraments and celebrating the liturgy. They became known as the Theatines with their first Superior General being Bishop Carafa who sent St. Cajetan to fend against Lutheranism in Venice in 1536. Upon Carafa's death, St. Cajetan returned to Naples where he was elected the Order's Superior General. Over and over he strove to pacify the unrest in Naples and the worldliness of its inhabitants. Beaten down by the discord and apathy, he died in 1547 at the age of 67 before he could realize the fruits he had sown which would become evident at the Council of Trent.


          Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne (see archives December 23, no. 25 issue, volume 7). He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

SUNDAY, August 8, 1999

    SUNDAY August 8:
    Feast of Saint Dominic, Priest and Religious Founder

    Green vestments

      First Reading: 1 Kings 19: 11-13
      Psalms: Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 9
      Second Reading: Romans 9: 1-5
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 14: 22-33

Today is traditionally the Feast of Saint Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers but this year is superseded by the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.


          One of the greatest preachers in Church History, Saint Dominic is the founder of the Order of Preachers, known world-wide as the Dominicans. Born in 1170 in of noble parents in Caleruega, Spain, Dominic became an Augustinian canon after being educated at Palenci, Spain. Dominic received the rare gift of being chosen, at the age of 24, of joining his bishop the Most Reverend Diego de Azevedo on a mission to Denmark which also took them through southern France where Dominic encountered first-hand the Albigensianism and the Waldensian heresy rampant in those parts. He realized then and there the Church needed more preachers to convey the true teachings of Holy Mother Church. Both he and Bishop Azevedo returned immediately to Osma, Spain to begin recruiting worthy preachers. Before they were able to complete this task, the Bishop died and the mission was left to Dominic alone. Undaunted, he realized the first necessity was prayer support and so set about to found a monastery of cloistered nuns in Prouille, France near Toulouse in 1215 similar to the Institute of Divine Mercy founded in Dallas three years ago. Two years later Dominic had assembled enough preachers to form the Friars Preachers and it was quickly approved as the Order of Preachers in a papal bull issued by Pope Honorius III a year later in 1218. The Rule Dominic adopted was patterned after the Rule of Saint Augustine in which the emphasis was on personal and community poverty, the specific ministry of preaching and an arduous and loyal study of the Divine Truth. Within a few years the Order had expanded to Madrid, Paris, Rome and Bologna, Italy. Though he was always interested in establishing headquarters in universities, he also had a special affinity for the missions. But his duties as Founder and Superior General took him to Italy where he established the monastery of nuns at the church of Saint Sixtus and in 1218 Pope Honorius bestowed the gift of the basilica of Santa Sabina which became the headquarters for the Dominicans and has remained so ever since. So loved was Dominic that he was conferred the honor of Master of the Sacred Palace which from that time on has always gone to a Dominican. Another honor associated with the Dominicans is the Rosary for Our Lady appeared to Dominic giving him a beautiful garland of roses, asking Dominic to pray the Rosary daily and to teach others how to pray this prayer which would become one of the most powerful weapons against the enemies of the Church. The Rosary, through Dominic's preaching, was instrumental in bringing countless souls back to the Church. Dominic is often depicted with the cross, scrolls and a companion dog clutching the "torch of zeal" for souls. On the evening of August 7, the feast of St. Sixtus in whose Church Dominic's Order was headquartered, while the Dominicans were gathered for a provincial meeting in Bologna, Dominic breathed his last breath, exclaiming just before expiring that because of his illnesses he could now be of more help to them in Heaven than on earth.

Monday, August 9, 1999

      First Reading: Deuteronomy 10: 12-22
      Psalms: Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 9
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 17: 22-27

August 6-8, 1999       volume 10, no. 147


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