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March 18, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 54
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In Lesson 8 THE TRIAL OF THE SANHEDRIN our Heavenly Mother further affirms these times and reinforces the importance of the Final Dogma which will signal the beginning of the transformation from our present era to the promised new Era of Peace. None of this could have been possible without Mary's Divine Son willingly humbling Himself and submitting to the Sanhedrin which He knew would condemn Him to death. In the first part of Lesson 8, Our Lady gives the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart a vivid vision of Christ's trial as we continue this special daily series during Lent. For part one of Lesson 8, click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"
Meditative Lesson 8:
THE TRIAL OF THE SANHEDRIN
Dear Father, Our Heavenly Mother says here that in the moment when, by
God’s Mercy, we shall each see ourselves as we are seen by God; that is,
when we stand before the Truth, then shall all men known that Mary is the
Immaculate Conception, Co-Redemptrix, our Advocate, the New Eve and
Mediatrix of all graces, as God willed and allowed it to be through His
Only-Begotten Son’s Redemptive Act. This, She tells me, shall happen
before the Justice of God strikes, but not until the world has suffered
through many chastisements. But we are close to this moment, Father. Our
Lady says that by our devotion to Jesus’ passion we will be ready for the
illumination of our souls, and all that will then swiftly follow. Having
tested the voice, I proceed to write.
"Oh God, the wicked are risen up against me and the assembly of the mighty
have sought my soul; and they have not set thee before my eyes."
Psalms 85: 14
I see Jesus tied by the hands and around the waist as one might do to a
wild, insane person. He stands meekly in the center of a large room, and
already the maltreatment He has received shows plainly. He has been
brutally slapped, for His lips are swollen and blood trickles down into His
beard. There is a large bruise beneath His left eye and the flesh is
swollen. Also His nose bleeds and I wonder if it is broken. But Our Lord
utters not one sound, while I become aware of noise all around: the
scuffling of feet, the murmur of voices, the rustling of roves and mantles.
I am in the court of Annas and Caiphas; the trial before the Sanhedrin.
There are many, many nobles of the Temple present. The torches along the
wall light the room but make elongated, grotesque shadows of all those present.
I move in a full circle and see nearly every place filled. But several
are empty, the places of those who will have no part in this unjust trial
under Mosaic Law.
But everyone in attendance is watching Jesus with rabid attention. They
nearly salivate at the thought that this "man," this Nazarene is finally
theirs and will soon be dead, buried and forgotten.
All reason has left them. It shows in their eyes, upon their open,
It is as if time stands still. All movement for me is suspended. While I
long to gaze at my suffering Jesus, I must turn. Now I see the High
Priest, Caiphas. He is rotund, pompous in attire and posture. His fleshy
face and eyes are glaring at Jesus. The arteries in his thick neck pulsate
with blood and he is shaking with a rage which he can no longer hold in
check. As I look at Annas and the others, I see through the eyes of my
soul the glare of the evil one in each face. Sanity has fled. Human
emotion, human passion in all its baseness is here and the malevolence is
palpable. It tries to push me back, to bend me in half, to rip me apart.
But silently I cry out "Jesus" and the force withdraws.
At this moment Caiphas literally rips apart the expensive,
highly-decorated robe he wears as High Priest and in a voice that rises to
near-scream he shouts to all assembled:
`"He has blasphemed!" A moment of silence, as Caiphas dares to take
several steps closer to the Messiah, the Lamb of God. He would spit upon
Jesus, but rather, turns mockingly to all the scribes and elders and asks
in a ridiculous voice: "What further need have we of witnesses?
A voice, then two, three - and all: "He is liable to death!"
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Two of Lesson 8: THE TRIAL BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN
Today is the Fourth Thursday of Lent and the Optional Feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church while tomorrow is the festive Feast of
Saint Joseph when we put Lent aside for the day in celebrating this glorious feast of the foster-father of Jesus and earthly-spouse and protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In most dioceses, the Lenten Fast is excused for this day and eating meat on this Friday is permitted. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on these two great saints, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Thursday, March 18, 1999
Thursday March 18:
Lenten Weekday and
Optional Feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Purple or violet vestments
First Reading: Exodus 32: 7-14
Psalms: Psalm 106: 4, 19-23
Gospel Reading: John 5: 31-47
Feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Born in Jerusalem in 315, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem was ordained by Saint Maximus and was charged to teach the
catechumens until he succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 349. However, after eight years the Arian heresy reared its ugly head and the Arian bishop of Caesarea Acacius claimed ecclesiastical charge over Jerusalem and had Cyril not only expelled, but condemned by an Arian synod on the false charges of selling Church possessions. Cyril was forced to retreat to Tarsus where he bided his time until 357 when the Council of Selucia reinstated him. But Acacius retaliated by convincing the Roman Emperor Constantius II by having him expelled again. However, when Constantius died two years later his successor Julian the Apostate recalled Cyril. This roller coaster continued in 367 when the new emperor Valens expelled all ecclesiastics who Julian had reinstated. Nine years later Cyril finally returned to Jerusalem but was still under investigation. In an effort to clear his name and the situation the Council of Antioch dispatched Saint Gregory of Nyssa to Palestine to do a thorough investigation. Gregory's findings, which unearthed the corruption within the Arian administration in Jerusalem, totally exonerated Cyril of any wrong doing and upheld him as an orthodox bishop who had been loyal to the faith throughout his life. In 381 Cyril and Gregory took an active role in the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople which officially recognized Cyril's authenticity as bishop of Jerusalem. At that same council the Nicene Creed was made official and Cyril concurred with everything within its text. A life-long opponent of Arianism, which denied Christ's divinity and the Holy Spirit, Cyril signed a document which condemned those who held to any kind of Arian thoughts, especially the peoples of Macedonia. After 35 years as a bishop, Cyril died peacefully in 386. Nearly fifteen centuries later Cyril was finally recognized as a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1882, largely because of the authenticity, clarity and truth of his 24 catechetical lessons that had been passed down through the ages.
Friday, March 19, 1999
Friday March 19:
FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH, HUSBAND OF MARY, FOSTER FATHER OF JESUS
First Reading: 2 Samuel 7: 4-5, 12-14, 16
Psalms: Psalm 89: 2-5, 27, 29, 37
Second Reading: Romans 4: 13, 16-18, 22
Gospel Reading: Matthew 1: 16, 18-21 or Luke 2: 41-51
Feast of SAINT JOSEPH, FOSTER FATHER OF JESUS, PROTECTOR OF MARY
So much has been said about this very special, holy, pure and quiet saint...and yet, so little is really known about Saint Joseph.
No one can pinpoint the exact year he died, but we do know he died a happy, peaceful death richly deserved because of his obedience to the Will of God in being the earthly guardian of God's Own Son and the Immaculate Mother Mary through whom He chose to fulfill the Act of Redemption. Saint Joseph is the saint most often invoked for the grace of a happy death and the assurance that Jesus is spiritually present at that time with every dying soul. While Mary was the heart of the Holy Family, Joseph was the head, yet always submitting to a higher Power in all things...from accepting Mary's virgin birth as truly from God to rallying the family in the cold of the night to flee from Herod's wrath into a land he knew nothing about, only that God would not abandon him or those he was charged to protect. Every virtue can be attributed to this saint who bridged the Old Law, born into the royal family of David's lineage, and the New Law and guided to maturity his foster Son Jesus Christ, our Savior. Because of his role in protecting the Holy Family he has been designated Protector of Holy Mother Church as well. Yet, it is surprising to discover that this pivotal saint was not really recognized until the fourth century and then that veneration was in the Eastern Church because of the apocryphal History of Joseph. In the Western Church only in the ninth century was there first any mention of Joseph and that was in Irish circles. It wasn't until the fifteenth century that Joseph began receiving widespread veneration in the West when his feast was introduced into the Roman Calendar in the year 1479. It took two great saints to promote his cause for universal appeal - that of Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Francis de Sales, both doctors of the Church. This recognition finally came in 1870 when Pope Pius IX declared him Patron of the Universal Church. More honors were extended to Joseph in 1889 when Pope Leo XIII made Joseph the model for all fathers in his encyclical Quanquam pluries in which he confirmed "that his pre-eminent sanctity places him next to the Blessed Virgin among the saints." Other recent Popes have also extended special titles on Joseph, among them "Protector of the worker" by Pope Benedict XV, "Patron of Social Justice" by Pope Pius XI and an additional feast day was added in 1955 by Pope Pius XII - May 1 to observe the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker.
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
Today's prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer honoring Saint Cyril of Jerusalem:
Father, through Cyril of Jerusalem You led Your Church to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of salvation. Let his prayers help us to know Your Son better and to have eternal life in all its fullness.
Events that happened this day in Church History
On this date in 1227 Pope Honorius III died. He is the Roman Pontiff who at first turned down Saint Francis of Assisi in his request to begin his Order of Friars Minor, but in a dream the Pope realized the error of his ways and recalled the humble mystic back to Rome to officially approve the Franciscans. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for March 18:
Death of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. For more see DAILY LITURGY
The Greek Pope Saint Zosimus becomes the 41st successor of Peter. He would die less than two years later on December 26, 418. He had a strong personality which would fortify him in his insisting on the rights of the Church against foreign interference. Of very strict morals, this holy Sovereign Pontiff would ordain that illegitimate children could not be raised to the priesthood. He would also send apostolic vicars to the Franks.
Pope Saint Gregory III becomes the 90th successor of Peter. This Syrian-born Vicar of Christ would die ten years and ten days later on March 28, 741. He would seek the help of Charles the Hammer, king of the Franks against the Lombards. From this fact would be derived the title of "Most Christian" assumed by the monarchs of France ever since. He also would earmark charitable donations to the Holy See to be termed "Peter's Pence."
Saint Edward, King of England is martyred by an assassin.
First Lateran Council, the ninth Ecumenical Council to be held, is convened by Pope Calixtus II in Rome.
Death of Pope Honorius III, 177th successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff was elected on July 18, 1216. He defined, in the Liber Censorium the rights of the Popes and specified the ceremonial for their election. With Andrew II of Hungary, he organized the Fifth Crusade. He also received a vision in a dream about Saint Francis and recalled him to Rome to approve the Assisi saint's Order of Friars Minor.
The German Emperor Frederick II proclaims himself King of Jerusalem despite lack of support from Pope Gregory IX who eventually excommunicated Frederick for his insubordination and meddling.
King Philip IV of France, paranoid of the growing power of the Knights Templar from the spoils they gained in the Holy Lands, accuses them of heresy in his vendetta against the deceased Pope Boniface VIII and orders the burning of thirty-nine Knights, including Jacques de Molay, the last Master of the Templars.
The Catholic Queen Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, returns to Edinburgh after a time in exile.
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Italy helping unify ties between China and the Vatican during Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit to Rome this week
Speculation is ripe around Rome that Chinese President Jiang Zemin may meet with Pope John Paul II later this week during the Oriental leader's five-day trip to Italy. The subject would be China's recognizing the Roman Catholic Church, allowing the vast underground Church there to practice their faith freely. The Italian government has gone to bat for the Holy See in helping this become a reality. For more, click on Opening doors.
ITALY PUSHES FOR CHINA-VATICAN TIES
VATICAN (CWNews.com) – Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who is visiting Italy this week, has been asked by the Italian government to take "a step forward" in his country’s relations with the Holy See, according to an Italian newspaper story.
The daily La Stampa has reported that the Chinese ambassador to Italy has already received a request from the Italian government, suggesting that Beijing should move closer to diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Jiang Zemin will hear that same request during his 5-day trip to Italy, the paper reports.
The Italian government’s intervention, La Stampa says, is the result of the February 11 meeting between the country’s new president, Massimo d’Alema, and the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. During that meeting, the two reportedly discussed the upcoming visit of Jiang Zemin, and the possibility of ties between Beijing and the Vatican. President d’Alema also assured Cardinal Sodano that he would bring up the sensitive topic of human rights in China.
The Holy See does not currently have any diplomatic relationship with the Beijing government. Theoretically, the papal nuncio stationed in Taiwan is the Pope’s representative to all of China. The Vatican envoy has been stationed in Taiwan since Catholics were expelled from China in 1951. Recently the Vatican has indicated a willingness to move the nuncio to Beijing, if the Communist government accepts such a move.
Pope John Paul II is understood to prefer "direct conversations" with Beijing, with a view to eventually establishing full diplomatic relations. However, the Pontiff has also indicated that diplomatic relations cannot be established until China recognizes the religious liberty of its people, and particularly of the loyal Roman Catholics there.
Serious talks underway in Hanoi between Vatican and Vietnamese government
While talks are being planned between China and the Holy See, talks are well underway between the Vatican and Vietnam in establishing diplomatic relations between the two and recognizing the Vietnamese bishops appointed by the Holy Father. Meanwhile a UN envoy preparing a report on human rights in Vietnam cautions that the communist regime is opening up merely because of pressures from their own people and other governments and doubts the sincerity of the officials in Hanoi. For more, click on Vatican-Vietnam venue
VATICAN DELEGATION IN TALKS WITH VIETNAM WHILE UN
ENVOY SAYS VIETNAM STILL TOO RESTRICTIVE OF RELIGION
VATICAN (CWNews.com) - A delegation from the Vatican is in Hanoi this week, continuing talks with the government of Vietnam.
Msgr. Celestino Migliore is the head of the Vatican diplomatic mission, which is seeking to strengthen relations with the Vietnamese government and at the same time expand the freedoms of Vietnamese Catholics. His delegation has met with members of the government commission charged with supervising religious affairs, and with the foreign ministry.
The Vatican representatives are pressing the government to accept the bishops named by the Holy See—a topic which has produced several conflicts in recent years, and left major sees without a bishop for months when the government has rejected a Vatican nominee. But this week’s discussions will also explore the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations between Hanoi and the Holy See.
The possibility of diplomatic ties was first mentioned by the Vietnamese foreign minister. While Vatican officials are reacting cautiously, there has been some speculation in Rome that the precarious political position of the Hanoi regime may be forcing the government to take a more open posture toward foreign contacts.
In a related story out of Geneva, a UN special envoy to Vietnam on
religion said in his report on Tuesday that while the
Communist government has lifted some restrictions on the
practice of religion, they still have much work to do to
ensure real religious freedom.
Abdelfattah Amor said the government's tight control over
religion was intended to prevent the emergence of any group
that might become a rival to the Communist Party in
controlling the population. "Religion appears as an
instrument of policy rather than a component of society ...
something which is ultimately contrary to freedom of
religion or belief as governed by international law," said
Amor, who visited the country last October. The report will
be presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights when it
opens its six-week session on Monday.
The majority of Vietnamese are Buddhist, but there are also
many Catholics -- from the country's days as a French colony
-- as well as Protestants, Muslims, and smaller sects. "The
current situation of the religious communities, in which
circumscribed areas of freedom are emerging within a
general framework of controls ... appears to be valid for
all religious denominations," Amor said.
He added that since 1990, the government has made some
positive changes, moving away from "an anti-religious
policy towards the authorization, within a framework that
is well defined ... by authorities, of religious practice
and the building of places of worship."
Can Kosovo be saved? Religious leaders not readily optimistic while debating that issue during meetings in Vienna.
Kosovo religious leaders are not very optimistic that peace can be achieved in this Yugoslav region where ethnic fighting between Serbs and Albanians has garnered the world's attention. The conference in Vienna in which major religious luminaries of Kosovo including the Church's Bishop Marko Sopi have been meeting this week is one of the last ditch hopes to iron out an amicable treaty between Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics in the region where all can live in harmony. If not, violence and war are inevitable. More than 2,000 people have been killed and 600,000 displaced because of the ethnic conflict. For more, click on Working and praying for peace in Kosovo.
KOSOVO RELIGION PEACE MEETING MAKING SLOW PROGRESS
VIENNA (CWNews.com) - A peace meeting between the several
religions represented in the breakaway region of Kosovo
this week has been cordial, but little progress was made,
according to the sponsor of the talks.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the New York-based Appeal of
Conscience Foundation said the ethnic Albanian Islamic and
Serbian Orthodox leaders are talking, but have not moved
toward reconciliation. The Kosovo region, mainly populated
by ethnic Albanians -- the majority of whom are Muslim --
broke away from Serbia last year, and fighting since then
has left at least 2,000 people dead and 600,000 people
homeless. The meeting also includes the Catholic bishop of
Kosovo, Marko Sopi.
"We have spoken out against massacres, against violence
regardless of which side committed them. We have never made
a distinction between crimes committed by Albanian
terrorists or the Serbian security forces," Serbian
Orthodox Bishop Kyr Artemije said outside the meeting. "The
conference was convened to overcome hatred and to establish
confidence between national communities in Kosovo. But I
have a feeling not all of us are competent enough to work
for the goal for which this conference was convened," he
Schneier said the goal of the meeting, which ends on
Thursday, is to find a way for people of various religions
to leave together peacefully in Kosovo, whatever the result
of peace talks now going on in Paris. "Whatever happens at
the negotiating table in Paris, these religious leaders
still have to live under the same skies, in the same space.
They have to find a way to coexist," he said.
Ancient church discovered in Israel, dating back to sixth century and dedicated to St. John the Baptist
In the spirit of Indiana Jones, archeologists have uncovered an ancient edifice dating back to 550 that is believed to have been a Byzantine church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Experts surmise that it was abandoned in the early part of the seventh century when Saracens conquered the area, causing parishioners to abandon their church out and flee, leaving it in the hands of Arabs who could have turned it into a mosque around 630 since the Islam religion founded by Mohammed was gaining full steam at this time. For more, click on ancient sanctuary.
SIXTH CENTURY BYZANTINE CHURCH DISCOVERED IN HOLY LAND
ROME, 17 (NE) A Byzantine church belonging to the mid sixth century
has been recently discovered by archeologists in Gaza, Israel.
Measuring 25 by 13 meters, foundations of the building were laid
in 544, being completed by the year 550. This was affirmed by
Ya´acov Huster, project archeologist, who began the search of
the Christian temple based on testimony and photographs from the
1970s, when bits of mosaics were found during road work.
Although a large part of mosaics covering the floor and the more
than 1.500-year-old foundations of the church have been
uncovered, excavations cannot be completed because of an Israeli
army emplacement located on top of the remains. "The army can
move such a small position", says Huster, who has already asked
army officials to move it. But nothing has been done yet.
According to the archeologist, the most impressive find until
now is a mosaic found at the entrance to the church. The mosaic
said the church was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, stating
the year construction began and ended. The inscription also
praised those who donated money for the mosaic. Huster believes
the church served a small village. Evidence suggests that the
church was abandoned 80 years after its construction with Arab
conquest in 634.
SITE OF THE DAY
Today we feature the oldest regular Catholic publication in existence, the official publication of the Vatican since 1861 and weekly newspaper that provides a special internet site tied in with the Vatican web site to
L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO. In the past it would take a week or more to get one's copy of L'Osservatore Romano, but today, with the Information Highway one can tap in and read most of the latest issue as you'll see by reading this week's edition released yesterday.
Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
March 18, 1999 volume 10, no. 54 DAILY CATHOLIC