Death of Saint Godelina, who was strangled to death by her husband during childbirth. The child was born blind, but through Godelina's Heavenly intercession was healed.
Death of Pope Gregory XV, 234th successor of Peter. During his two year reign he encouraged the Irish and assisted the Catholic restoration in France. Greatly interested in the missions, he instituted the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.
They had accepted such a child and then come to see me at the retreat. They asked if I would pray for the retarded child at home. I said yes I would but that I would like them to pray for the child as well in a sustained prayer.
"Could you pray over your child with a simple childlike faith of your own for twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes at night?" I asked them. "Nothing noticeable will probably happen within a week or even a month-it may take a long time. It's going to take a tremendous faith on your part, but God will hear your prayer." They agreed. It took a great deal of heroism for them to do it, and God must have truly loved them for that.
The couple embarked on their daily prayer vigil. When their daughter was 8 ½ years old, the faithful prayers had worked a miracle. What had been called an uneducable child was in a regular school in the appropriate grade with just slightly below average IQ, receiving B's and C's in most subjects-to all indications a normal child, through faith, perseverance, and prayer.
What is the prayer of faith? Does getting an answer depend upon how much faith I can muster? If I pray and get no recognizable answer, does that mean I have no faith or perhaps not enough faith? If I do pray and some great miracle happens, does that indicate I have great faith?
Sometimes persons who have lost their faith receive miraculous answers. Sometimes it is the faith of the healer, or the faith of the healed, and sometimes neither. Jesus haled the paralytic when he was let down through the roof because He admired the faith of the man's friends who went to all the trouble of removing the tiles from the roof and lowering him down into the midst of a crowd because they could not get in the door. Jesus responded to their faith to heal the man.
The woman who lost her house was bitter, her faith was weak. She had practically lost her faith in God because of that, and yet God answered her prayer. There is a paradox here. How much must one believe in order to get the right answer? In general, we can follow this principle of Jesus: "According to your faith be it done unto you."
In the next installment, part two of "Survival of the Spiritually Fittest.
The Lord's Day, the Holy Father writes, should be a "great school of charity, justice, and peace." He calls on Christians to demonstrate their spiritual maturity and to reinforce their Christian identity by their observance of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath rest is not a way of avoiding work, the Pope argues; rather it is a time for engaging in acts of charity, strengthening family bonds, and deepening interior life.
At the same time, the Sabbath rest is not merely a religious obligation, the Pope continues. It is a human right, which should be protected by appropriate legislation.
The 104-page apostolic letter responds to what John Paul sees as a "banalization" of the Sunday rest. He observes that in some countries the day has become simply a portion of the weekend-- stripped of its character as the day devoted especially to celebration of the Resurrection.
Earlier generations of Christians had a much better understanding of the Sabbath, the Pope writes. He points to the example of the martyrs who died at the hands of the Roman Emperor Diocletian because they refused to profane the Lord's Day. Their example led eventually to the Church's decision to make attendance at Sunday Mass a religious obligation. But in reality that obligation reflects the Third Commandment, the Pontiff continues; it is a natural expression of the obligation to "keep holy the Lord's Day."
Citing the 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum, by Pope Leo XIII, John Paul notes that the Church has always insisted on the right of workers to a day of rest. He denounced the "exploitation" practiced by employers who ignore this fundamental human need, observing that the exploitation is most common in poor countries.
Along with worship and rest, Sunday is an appropriate day for religious education, the Pope writes. In the apostolic letter, he takes pains to explain the origin of the Sunday observance. It is, he says, an expression of the lively Christian faith in the risen Christ, living in the Church.
The Pope urges all pastors to plan carefully for the Sunday liturgy, and to take the time to prepare homilies that will "deepen in the faithful the hunger for the Word of God." He also encourages the faithful to participate fully in the Eucharistic liturgy, preparing themselves through the Sacrament of Penance.
Meanwhile at a press conference in Rome announcing the publication of Dies Domini, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that the faithful should be educated in the meaning of liturgical rites, so that they are not "mute spectators" at the Mass.
Msgr. Geraldo Majella Agnelo, the secretary of the same congregation, echoed the same theme when he called upon pastors to "re-educate the faithful" in the meaning of the Sunday liturgy.
Emphasizing that the Pope's apostolic letter is another effort to safeguard the Christian identity, Cardinal Medina Estevez underlined the importance of the Sunday Mass, saying that there is "no other religious experience similar to the Sunday celebration." He emphasized the need for active participation in the liturgy.
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- More than 2,000 priests from all around the world have gathered in Mexico this week for a retreat at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The worldwide retreat for priests is the third of its kind; previous events have been held at the Marian shrines at Fatima (in 1996) and Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast (in 1997). Next year the retreat will be held in Jerusalem, and in 2000 it will be in Rome.
The worst violence since the Good Friday peace accords in April resulted after the loyalist Orange Order was turned back from Garvaghy Road on Sunday during the annual parade which marks a 300-year-old Protestant victory over a Catholic king. The Order called on supporters to offer only nonviolent protests to the parade ban, but the violence continued to spread over a second night.
The British army announced on Tuesday that it will deploy two more battalions of soldiers to Northern Ireland to quell the rioting. "Orangemen must realize that if this violence continues, it will only be a matter of time before we once again are following coffins," said David Trimble, a past defender of Portadown's Orangemen who is the newly elected minister heading Northern Ireland's power-sharing government. The parade ban elicited violence in 1996 and 1997 until the government capitulated and allowed the march to go through.
The FBI said it was investigating, and agents said they believe the medical clinic in Metarie was mistargeted as an abortion clinic. Firefighters identified the chemical as butyric acid which can cause skin and eye damage after lengthy exposure. FBI agents said the chemical could have been dumped in the clinics over the holiday weekend. In one case, it appeared the acid was poured in a mail slot at a clinic and then a water hose was allowed to run in the slot through the weekend. Investigators said the odor produced by the acid was amplified when it was mixed with water.
The vandalism is similar to incidents in May when ten Florida abortion clinics were also sprayed with butyric acid. No suspects were named in those attacks and the federal investigation is continuing. Police officials said these are the first incidents involving New Orleans-area abortion clinics.