DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN to FRI-SAT-SUN     July 9-18, 1999     vol. 10, no. 132


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Friday, July 9, 1999

      First Reading: Genesis 46: 1-7, 28-30
      Psalms: Psalm 37: 3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 16-23

Saturday, July 10, 1999

    Saturday, July 10:
    Fourteenth Saturday in Ordinary Time andBR>Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Genesis 49: 29-32; 50: 15-26
      Psalms: Psalm 68: 33; 105: 104, 6-7
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 24-33


          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."

      First Reading: Isaiah 55: 10-11
      Psalms: Psalm 65: 10-14 and Luke 8:8
      Second Reading: Romans 8: 18-23
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 13: 1-23

Though today's Feast is superseded by the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, it is traditionally the Feast of Saint Benedict, Abbot and religious founder of the Benedictines. He is considered the Father of Modern Monasticism.


          Known as the "Father of Western Monastic Life," Saint Benedict is the founder of the Benedictines. Born in 480 into a noble family in the village of Nursia, Italy, he studied in Rome but, fearing he would succumb to the licentious life of his peers, left it all behind in 500 to embrace the monastic life. He retreated to the deserted mountain area of Subiaco where, guided by the Holy Spirit, he took up residence in a deep and remote cave. There he remained for three years many times depending on God's providence for food as crows would bring him bread. The only human contact he had for three years was with the holy monk Romanus who brought him food, water and simple clothing. Despite his solitude, the fame of his holiness spread far and wide, drawing many disciples to Subiaco. To minister to them Benedict founded a colony of monks and, with their help, built 12 monasteries at Subiaco. He also summoned his blood sister Saint Scholastica to help and she established numerous monasteries for nuns there to accommodate the women who wished to follow Benedict. The strictness of this holy abbot's rule and the vice of jealousy played a role in rebellion by some monks who conspired to poison Benedict. One of the conspirators mixed poison into Benedict's drink bowl. As was his custom, Benedict always blessed anything before he ate it. As he made the sign of the cross over the bowl it broke into pieces and the poison spilled harmlessly into the wood. Those monks who had planned this dastardly deed repented, seeing the hand of God in the event. Shortly after, Benedict moved south to Montecassino where he founded the great abbey there which stood until World War II. There also he composed the bible of monastic life - the "Rule of St. Benedict" which has become the standard legislation for monastic life for religious men and women in the western world. Benedict held the personal love of Christ paramount for all with an emphasis on humility and prudence. His motto was Ora et labora, "Pray and work" with the insignia of a cross and a plough. He was renowned for many, many miracles and knew six days before that he was going to die. On March 21, 543 he asked his fellow monks to carry him to the abbey sanctuary where, after having received the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion, held his arms high toward Heaven and calmly left this earth with a prayer on his lips.

Monday, July 12, 1999

      First Reading: Exodus 1: 8-14, 22
      Psalms: Psalm 124: 1-8
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 34-42; 11: 1

Tuesday, July 13, 1998

    Tuesday July 13:
    Fifteenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Henry, Married man and ruler

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Exodus 2: 1-15
      Psalms: Psalm 69: 3, 14, 30-31, 33-34
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 11: 20-24


          A zealous reformer and evangelist, the Holy Roman Emperor Saint Henry dedicated his entire life to cultivating a deep love for Holy Mother Church and religious life. Born in 973, Henry married Saint Cunegundes, daughter of Sigefride and Hadeswige who had instilled in their daughter the same virtues Henry possessed. Together they strove to fulfill God's will from their positions of power. Because of their joint vow of chastity they never consummated their marriages, remaining pure virgins. Henry was a great advocate of private revelation for he was blessed with many visions and locutions. Just after the turn of the first millennium, he had a vision of his guardian Saint Wolfgang while in prayer one day. Wolfgang was pointing to the words "after six." Not sure what it meant, Henry interpreted it to mean he would die in six years and rededicated his life of prayer. After six years the meaning became evident when he was elected emperor of Germany upon the death of Otto III in 1006. In 1007 he was crowned at Magonza. Dedicating his rule to God, he brought peace to Bavaria, Poland, Bohemia, Moravia and Burgundy by defeating the pagan Slavs with only a small force. Many accounts of people seeing Henry's forces being led by the angels and saints have been passed down. He then turned his attention to Rome, rescuing Pope Benedict VIII from exile and deposing the antipope Gregory in 1012 while reinstating Benedict as the rightful successor of Peter. Benedict crowned Henry emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Whenever Henry entered a city he stopped first at a Church to pay his homage to the real King of kings - Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Once during Holy Mass, Henry was rewarded for his holiness by being blessed to see Jesus Himself celebrate Mass in St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome. Numerous saints filled the empty church as Henry knelt in prayer with Saint Lawrence and Saint Vincent assisting as deacon and sub-deacon respectively. After the Gospel, Our Lady dispatched an angel to Henry for him to kiss the holy book. Upon doing so, the angel touched him gently on his thigh, proclaiming: "Accept this sign of God's love for your chastity and justice." From that point on Henry became lame but knew it was God's will as well as a special gift and accepted it totally as a victim soul. Just before Henry died in 1024 he summoned Cunegundes' parents and, with his holy wife at his side gave her back to them proclaiming, "a virgin still, as a virgin he had received her from Christ." With that his own pure soul was taken up to Heaven. He was burried in Bamberg where he had established a diocese. Cunegundas went on to found a monastery of nuns in the diocese of Paderborn, turning it over to the Order of St. Benedict and became a consecrated religious herself after Henry's death. She died in 1040 and was buried next to Henry. They are considered the patron saints of married couples and hold for us the shining example of purity and fidelity to the duties of our state of life no matter what God has called us to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 1998

      First Reading: Exodus 3: 1-6, 9-12
      Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-4, 6-8
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 11: 25-27


          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.

Thursday, July 15, 1998

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

    White vestments

      First Reading: Exodus 3: 13-20
      Psalms: Psalm 105: 1, 5, 8-9, 24-27
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 11: 28-30


          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.

Friday, July 16, 1998

    Friday July 16: Fifteenth Friday in Ordinary time and

    White or green vestments

      First Reading: Exodus 11: 10; 12: 1-14
      Psalms: Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 12: 1-8


          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.

Saturday, July 17, 1998

    Saturday July 17:
    Fifteenth Saturday in Ordinary Time and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday (see previous Saturday for vignette)

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: Exodus 12: 37-42
      Psalms: Psalm 136: 1, 10-12, 13-15, 23-24
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 12: 14-21

SUNDAY, July 18, 1998

      First Reading: Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19
      Psalms: Psalm 85: 5-6, 9-10, 15-16
      Second Reading: Romans 8: 26-27
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 13: 24-43

Monday, July 19, 1998

      First Reading: Exodus 14: 5-18
      Psalms: Exodus 15: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 12: 38-42

July 9-18, 1999       volume 10, no. 132


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