DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     June 11-13, 1999     vol. 10, no. 113


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Friday, June 11, 1999

      First Reading: Deuteronomy 7: 6-11
      Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-8, 10, 17
      Second Reading: 1 John 4: 7-16
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 11: 25-30


          This special feast set aside to honor the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a tribute to the devotion to the Sacred Heart which illustrates Christ's love, divine and human for all his children symbolized in His Own physical Heart. It is also a symbol of His Divine Triune Love where Jesus shares with the Father, Holy Spirit and through the Son, with mankind, manifesting this love so that He became man, subjecting Himself to the weakness of man so that we could have life and have it more abundantly (cf. John 10:10) for Colossians 2: 9 sums it up, "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him Who is the Head of every Principality and Power you have received of that fullness." Devotion to His Sacred Heart can be traced to many mystics over the years beginning with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th Century then Saints Bonaventure and Gertrude in the 13th Century, followed by Saint Frances of Rome in the 15th Century and Saint Francis de Sales, Saint John Eudes and Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque in the 17th Century. It was the latter who received apparitions and locutions while in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament that gave the greatest impetus to this devotion and passed down the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart. This led to the establishment of the Nine First Friday devotion which promises final penitence to those who receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months.

Saturday, June 12, 1999

      First Reading: 2 Corinthians 5: 14-21
      Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-4, 8-9, 11-12
      Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 41-51


          This feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was established by Pope Pius XII on December 8, 1945 and assigned to August 22. However, in more recent times it was moved to immediately follow the Feast of the Sacred Heart in concordance with the fact that wherever Jesus is, there is His Mother and wherever the Blessed Virgin Mary is, there also is her Divine Son. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart dates back to Saint John Eudes in the 17th Century who is known as the apostle of the devotion to the Two Hearts. He petitioned the Popes often during his life to institute special feasts honoring the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. At each time he met with resistance, but Our Lady had other plans and promoted this devotion to her Immaculate Heart at Fatima when she said, "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph." Just as the Feast of the Sacred Heart is always celebrated on Friday to commemorate the First Fridays, so also the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is always celebrated on the Saturday immediate following to commemorate the First Saturday Devotion begun after the Fatima apparitions when Our Lady promised her intercession at the hour of a person's death if they received Holy Communion of the First Saturday of five consecutive months and promise to offer reparation to her Divine Son through her Immaculate Heart. This feast also helped establish Saturday as special to Our Lady with the Church establishing optional memorials to the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday during Ordinary Time.

SUNDAY, June 13, 1999

      First Reading: Exodus 19: 2-6
      Psalms: Psalm 100: 1-3, 5
      Second Reading: Romans 5: 6-11
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 9: 36-38; 10: 1-8

Though Sunday in Ordinary Time supersedes the feast, June 13th is traditionally the Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua:


          Very few saints are as well-loved as Saint Anthony of Padua. Born in Portugal in the city of Lisbon in 1195 with the Christian name Ferdinand, he was well educated by the Augustinians. Though he had intended to become an Augustinian Friar, the deeply moving experience of seeing the returned bodies of five martyred Franciscan Friars from Morocco prompted him to join the Franciscans where he took the name "Anthony." Eagerly anxious to go to Morocco to be a martyr for his faith, God had different ideas as Anthony became very sick just a few weeks after arriving in Morocco. On his return trip storms at sea forced his ship to Sicily where he returned via land through Italy. While in Italy he endeared himself to the poor, shunning everything he owned in the true Franciscan spirit. In 1221 he took part in the General Chapter of the Franciscans at Portiuncula. There he met the founder Saint Francis of Assisi. Deeply inspired, Anthony was ordained. Though meek and humble, God granted Anthony a powerful talent of preaching which Francis could see and assigned him as a lector to defend the faith against Albigensianism which was spreading. He was sent to northern Italy and southern France, returning to Italy in 1227 where he was assigned to Padua. The fame of his fruits had spread throughout Italy where reports of many miracles and countless conversions were attributed to this simple, but dynamic Franciscan and close friend of Francis, who Francis called his "bishop"...so great was Anthony's knowledge of theology and Sacred Scripture. Many were aware that evenings, after he had spoken to so many about the Divine Son, Jesus would come as a little child to be held in Anthony's arms where Our Lord would encourage the saint and tell him how much He loved this faithful Franciscan. This encouraged Anthony to preach ever more zealously for Jesus and about Jesus. To this day Anthony is always depicted holding the Scriptures in one hand with a lily for purity and the Christ Child in the other. Anthony died at the early age of 36 on June 13, 1231 and church bells rang throughout Italy, in many with no human person ringing the bells. People attributed the bellringers to the angels who had come to earth to ring them as children wailed in the streets crying aloud, "Our dear father, Anthony is dead." But his spirit and on-going miraculous wonders have lived on for nearly eight centuries. He is the patron saint of the poor and oppressed and the one to whom so many pray to when something or someone is lost.

Monday, June 14, 1999

      First Reading: 2 Corinthians 6: 1-10
      Psalms: Psalm 98: 1-4
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 5: 38-42

June 11-13, 1999       volume 10, no. 113


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