DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     July 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 136

DAILY LITURGY

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Thursday, July 22, 1998

      First Reading: Exodus 19: 1-2, 9-11, 16-20
      Psalms: Daniel 3: 52-56
      Gospel Reading: John 20: 1-2, 11-18

FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALEN, DISCIPLE OF THE LORD

          One of the greatest examples of Jesus' claim that He came for sinners was hid dear, loyal disciple Saint Mary Magdalen from Magdala near the Sea of Galilee. This beautiful Jewish woman was caught up in the world, the flesh and the devil until she met Jesus. He saw right into her soul and she knew instantly in her heart she needed to totally repent of her life of sin as a prostitute by following Our Lord into the house of a rich man, and, oblivious to the taunts and jeers from others, knelt at His feet and washed His precious feet with her tears and expensive ointment. Jesus was moved at her repentance and cast out seven devils (cf Mark 16: 9, Luke 8: 2) from her body. From that time on The Magdalen was one of the most loyal followers of Jesus. Aside from His Own Blessed Mother, no one stuck by Our Lord through thick and thin more than Mary Magdalen throughout His ministry and at the foot of the Cross. Christ Himself rewarded her for her devotion and persistence by being the first one He appeared to after His Resurrection (cf. John 20: 1-18). After the Ascension, there are some reports that Mary Magdalen retreated to the desert to live out her life in prayer and penance, while Eastern tradition claims Mary Magdalen accompanied the Blessed Mother and Saint John to Ephesus after Pentecost where The Magdalen died peacefully and was buried there. The latter bears believability since her relics were found in Ephesus, transfered to the Monastery of St. Lazarus in Constantinople in 899. Her feast was first celebrated in the 10th Century and spread to the entire Church in the 11th Century.

Friday, July 23, 1998

    Friday July 23:
    Sixteenth Friday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Bridget of Sweden, Married woman, Mystic and Religious Founder

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Exodus 20: 1-17
      Psalms: Psalm 19: 8-11 and John 6: 69
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 13: 18-23

FEAST OF SAINT BRIDGET OF SWEDEN, WIFE, MOTHER, MYSTIC AND RELIGIOUS

          Born in Uppsala, Sweden in 1303, Saint Bridget was married by her parents at the early age of 14 to 18 year-old Prince Ulf Gudmarsson in 1317. The couple had eight children, one of whom being Saint Karen, a Scandinavian derivation of Catherine. God blessed the family with great faith and wisdom and their reputation reached the court of King Magnus II, the young ruler of Sweden who summoned Bridget in 1335 to serve as the lady-in-waiting for Magnus' wife, Blanche of Namur the young queen of Sweden. However, Bridget was greatly distressed by the royals' extravagance and sought unsuccessfully to curb their excesses, but to no avail. It was during this time that she began receiving messages from God. Shortly after the death of Gudmar her youngest son, she and Ulf made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain where the relics of Saint James can be found. It so moved them that they decided to live the rest of their lives in monasteries and live the life of celibacy. Ulf died in a Cistercian monastery in 1344 at the age of 45. This prompted Bridget to put on the penitent garb and live an ascetic lifestyle, but the private revelations grew so intense that Bridget first feared she was being deceived by the evil one. However through prayer and the assurance of a learned Cistercian monk, she realized they were indeed from Heaven. Still befriended by Magnus, he offered financial assistance for her to begin two monasteries and found the Order of the Most Holy Savior which is almost non-existent today except for the Bridgettines. In the Holy Year of 1350 Bridget went to Rome where she remained until her death in 1373. She endeavored tirelessly to bring the Holy Father back to Rome from exile in Avignon and held nothing back in denouncing the wickedness of the nobility in Naples and Cyrus. It was in Rome where Bridget received the "Revelations of St. Bridget" which included the 15 Promises and Secrets and meditations on Christ's Passion, printed in the "Pieta" small booklet distributed everywhere. With one of her sons and her daughter Karen (Catherine) by her side, Bridget died peacefully at the age of 70. With great pomp and circumstance her body was transported back to Sweden and laid to rest at the monastery in Vadstena.

July 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 136
LITURGY

DAILY CATHOLIC

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