DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     June 19-21, 1998     vol. 9, no. 119


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

Friday, June 19, 1998

      First Reading: Ezekiel 34: 11-16
      Psalms: Psalm 23: 1-6
      Second Reading: Romans 5: 5-11
      Gospel Reading: Luke 15: 3-7


          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 20, 1998

      First Reading: 2 Chronicles 24: 17-25
      Psalms: Psalm 89: 4-5, 29-34
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 6: 24-34


          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 21, 1998

      First Reading: Zechariah 12: 10-11
      Psalms: Psalm 63: 2-7, 8-9
      Second Reading: Galatians 3: 26-29
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 18-24

Monday, June 22, 1998

      First Reading: 2 Kings 17: 5-8, 13-15, 18
      Psalms: Psalm 60: 3-5, 7, 12-13
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 7: 1-5


          One of the lesser known saints, Saint Paulinus of Nola shares this day with two other saints below: Saint John Fisher and the more well-known Saint Thomas More. Paulinus was a bishop born in 353 in Bordeaux, France. His life took him into politics where he became governor of Campania, Italy after extensive travels throughout France, Spain and Italy. In 381 he met and married a Spanish sweetheart Theresia. Together they vowed to live a strict evangelical life with their tutors being Saint Ambrose and Saint Martin of Tours. Because of their influence, Paulinus was baptized in 389 and moved to Spain. After the death of his first child Celsus, Paulinus decided to forsake all his worldly possessions for a monastic life. However, urged on by the people and receiving a special dispensation from Rome, he was ordained a priest in 394 in Barcelona, Spain. Shortly after that he retired to Nola, Italy south of Naples and their founded a small monastery with his wife who also had vowed a life of celibacy. Together they worked, setting up a hospice and caring for the sick and meeting the needs of pilgrims to the shrine of Saint Felix. Because of his work he was appointed Bishop of Nola in 409 and died 22 years later in the same city.


          Both saints were beheaded by the rebellious king of England Henry VIII because they refused to disobey Rome. For their obedience to God and not man they were welcomed into the Heavenly realm in 1535.

          Saint John Fisher, born in Yorkshire, England in 1469, became a priest at the age of 25 after graduating cum laude from Cambridge University. His claim to fame was his brilliant defense of the Faith against the attacks of Martin Luther. Because of his expertise in both theology and the humanistic arts, he was appointed Chancellor at Cambridge in 1504 and later became the Bishop of Rochester. Soon after he was summoned by Queen Elizabeth of York, mother of Henry VIII, to minister to the royals where he emphasized a monastic austerity in their prayer life and an insistence on the Liturgy of the Hours by all. Though he was beloved by Elizabeth, he was resented by Henry who had succumbed to the world, the flesh and the devil. When Bishop Fisher officially proclaimed Henry's first marriage valid after Henry tried to annull it, the good bishop was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1533. Given another chance by Henry to refute what he had proclaimed and to take an oath of loyalty to the King of England over the Pope of Rome, Fisher who had been appointed a Cardinal while in prison by Pope Paul III refused, condemning the king's marriage to Anne Boleyn. For this he was beheaded, receiving his crown of martyrdom.

          While John Fisher was a Cambridge grad, Saint Thomas More was an Oxford man, having studied law. Born in 1477 in London, Thomas was married twice. With his first wife he had four children. After she died, he remarried for the welfare of his children. After John Fisher had been imprisoned, Henry VIII appointed Thomas the new Chancellor, a position at that time which was second only to the king. He succeeded Cardinal Wolsey. The ribald king had thought that by placing a layman in this position he could further distance himself from Rome and better control the Church of England. But Thomas More was a holy man who owed his allegiance to the King of Kings before the king of England. More than a few times when summoned by Henry while Thomas was attending Holy Mass, Thomas replied by messenger: "As soon as my audience with the King of Heaven is ended, I will at once obey the desire of my earthly king." This did not sit well with Henry who was determined to have his own way. When Henry proclaimed himself head of the Church of England, Thomas, who also was opposed to the king's divorce, abstained from taking the oath and resigned as Chancellor, refusing to recognize Henry's spiritual supremacy before God. Like John Fisher's fate, Henry retaliated vehemently and had Thomas imprisoned in the same Tower of London where he too was beheaded shortly after St. John Fisher in 1535, joining the ranks of martyrdom for the One, True Faith.

June 19-21, 1998       volume 9, no. 119


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