DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     October 2-4, 1998     vol. 9, no. 193

DAILY LITURGY

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

Friday, October 2 1998

      First Reading: Job 38: 1, 12-21; 40: 3-5
      Psalms: Psalm 139: 1-3, 7-10, 13-14, 24
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 18: 1-5, 10

FEAST OF THE GUARDIAN ANGELS

          This devotion dates back to the Middle Ages, most probably in association with the account in Tobit of the Archangel Raphael leading Tobias which had been widely spread in art. It was specifically introduced in 1411 in Valencia, Spain to venerate the guardian angel of the city. Pope Sixtus V in 1590 allowed a special privilege to Portugal - that of a special Liturgy honoring the guardian angels. Pope Paul V added the feast universally to the Church in 1608, slotting it in the first available date after the feast of St. Michael. There are many accounts of angels, mentioned in over two thirds of the books of the Bible. They are not named specifically other than the three Archangels; the rest are referred to as "an angel" or "angels" in both the Old and New Testament. The Psalmist David makes frequent mention of the angels. The concept of "guardian" is first mentioned in Exodus 23:20--23, "See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way" as well as in Psalm 33: 8, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them" and in Matthew 18: 10 in the New Testament when Jesus said to His disciples regarding the little children, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you their angels in Heaven always behold the face of My Father in Heaven." As we all know, angels were plentiful in great numbers at the Incarnation and with Jesus throughout His mission as He confirms in John 1: 51, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you shall see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." These same angels are there in full force adoring Jesus during each and every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass universally throughout the world. Today angels have had a resurgence in secular society, but in Holy Mother Church Guardian Angels are not a superstition or "fad" but rather a reality that each soul created by God is assigned at least one Guardian Angel to them for their lifetime. Though so often the Guardian Angel is associated with children as every Catholic child is taught the beautiful Angel of God Prayer, our Guardian Angels stay with us even as we become adults for though in the eyes of the world we are grown, in God's eyes we will always be His children. It is Catholic belief that the angels are with us always and we need to lean on them more often, ask for their assistance.

Saturday, October 3, 1998

    Saturday October 3:
    Twenty-Sixth Saturday in Ordinary Time and Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday
    FIRST SATURDAY

    Green or White vestments

      First Reading: Job 42: 1-3, 5-6, 12-17
      Psalms: Psalm 119: 66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130, 135
      Gospel Reading: Luke 10: 17-24

Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

          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). 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."

SUNDAY, October 4, 1998

    SUNDAY October 4:
    TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
    RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY

    Green or White vestments

      First Reading: Hebrews 1: 2-3; 2: 2-4
      Psalms: Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9
      Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1: 6-8, 13-14
      Gospel Reading: Luke 17: 5-10

Though it is superceded by the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 4th is the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi , Religious Founder, Mystic and Stigmatist:

Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, Religious Founder, Mystic and Stigmatist

          Few saints are as beloved as Saint Francis of Assisi who founded the Franciscans in the 12th Century. No order ever grew so fast. Francis was born Francis Bernardone in 1181 to a wealthy wool dyer who encouraged Francis to follow in his footsteps. Francis was well on his way toward this avocation, spending his youth recklessly at times with an adventurous spirit, impulsively enlisting in the war between Assisi and Perugia. One night, while sleeping on the battlefield in full gear, Francis had a mystical dream in which he saw himself returning to Assisi and entered the church of St. Damian where he heard three times Christ's words to repair His Church depicted by a crucifix that had been shattered. This dream was so pronounced that Francis, upon awakening, resigned his commission in the military, then renounced his patrimony by defrocking to the waist in front of his father, bishops and the well-to-do aristocrats of Assisi as well as the townsfolk as a gesture that he was stripping himself of all worldly possessions and consecrating himself to God by turning to a life as a mendicant preacher. Around 1207 Francis put on the robes of a penitent and sought to lead a contemplative, secluded life. At first he had taken Our Lord's words literally, constructing with his own hands a one room portiuncula church that still stands today inside the large church at the base of the hills leading to the town of Assisi. While reading a passage from Luke 9: 3-5 on the mission of the Apostles, Francis knew his mission was to gather a group of like-minded men for the purpose of preaching the gospel to all, especially those who could not read. Thus, he began the Order of Friars Minor and Pope Innocent III orally approved the first Rule, but not until Francis and his men had walked all the way from Assisi to Rome in hopes of gaining an audience with his holiness only to be turned away. In a mystical dream, Innocent was shown what would happen if he turned down Francis' request and what Francis' mission truly was. Innocent sent for Francis who already was half way back to Assisi to give him word that yes, the Holy Father had approved his Holy Rule. Francis, overjoyed, shared the news with his compadres and they began to preach the gospel everywhere, fostering numerous vocations as men sought to join this holy friar, with only a brown robe, cinctured rope and sandals as their possessions. Francis had always longed to be a martyr and yearned, like his counterpart and friend Saint Anthony to go the Morocco and preach to the heathens. Francis did go to Morocco, Egypt and then Palestine and five of his Franciscans were martyred by the Muslims, but not Francis who returned to Assisi where he, along with Saint Clare founded the Poor Clares, an order of Franciscan women dedicated to a life of contemplative, cloistered life in supporting the Friars through their sacrifices and prayers. Because his order had grown so fast, not all were the "cream of the crop" and many began to fudge here and there relaxing the rigors of the rule in respect to holy poverty. Therefore Francis, not wanting to lose them and realizing not all were cut out for a life of strict poverty, began working in 1220 on a second Rule for just this purpose establishing two branches of the Franciscan Friars, catering to the more relaxed rule, while maintaining the purity of the strict rule. On September 14, 1224 with his health suffering greatly from numerous physical afflictions from the rigorous schedule he had maintained and almost blind, Francis received an extraordinary gift from Jesus - the mark of the stigmata, the holy wounds of Christ while in contemplation on Mount Alverno in Italy. It was the first authenticated case of a stigmatist in the history of the Church. He was, as it were, wounded in love, and here he composed his famous "Canticle of the Sun" as well as the beautiful St. Francis' Prayer for Peace that he is most widely known for. This dedicated saint, referred to this day as "The Most Holy Father," died on October 4, 1224 at the relatively young age of 45 years old and was mourned the world over. The Franciscans remain the largest body of religious in the Church today.

Monday, October 5, 1998

      First Reading: Galatians 1: 6-12
      Psalms: Psalm 111: 1-2, 5, 7-10
      Gospel Reading: Luke 10: 25-37

October 2-4, 1998       volume 9, no. 193
LITURGY

DAILY CATHOLIC

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