DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     September 11-13, 1998     vol. 9, no. 178


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

Friday, September 11, 1998

      First Reading: 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-27
      Psalms: Psalm 84: 2-6, 8, 12
      Gospel Reading: Luke 6: 39-42

Saturday, September 12, 1998

    Saturday September 12:
    Twenty-Third Saturday in Ordinary Time
    Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or White vestments

      First Reading: 1 Corinthians 10: 14-22
      Psalms: Psalm 116: 12-13, 17-18
      Gospel Reading: Luke 6: 43-49

Observance of 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, September 13, 1998

      First Reading: Exodus 32: 7-11, 13-14
      Psalms: Psalm 51: 3-4, 12-13, 17, 19
      Second Reading: 1 Timothy 1: 12-17
      Gospel Reading: Luke 15: 1-32

Though it is superceded by the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 13 is the feast of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church:

Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

          One of the great Doctors of the Church in the 4th Century was Saint John Chyrsostom who was born into a Christian family in Antioch in 349. Shortly after his father died and his mother, a woman of great virtue, raised John in the faith. Baptized at the age of 18, John was tutored by the great Greek public orator of his day Libanius, but in 374 John gave it all up in search of a higher calling and retreated to the mountains to live the life of a hermit. Poor health forced him to return to Antioch where he was ordained a priest in 381. Utilizing all he had learned under the Greek master while incorporating the dogma of the true faith his fame soon spread and the faithful flocked to his Masses. This caught the attention of Pope Saint Siricus who appointed him to the influential bishopric as Patriarch of Constantinople. Throughout his life John was a fierce defender of the true faith against Arianism and received the name Chyrsostom which means "golden-mouthed" in Greek. Like fellow Saints Athanasius and Basil of his time, John was not only greatly cherished by the people, but also falsely accused by the Arians, in particular the Bishop of Alexandria who forced John's exile. John knew, like Basil, that the people would not stand for this and thus he called the Arian bishop's bluff by refusing to show up for the mock trial that whould condemn him. Regardless, the Arian bishops unanimously decided to exile him. However John refused, claiming they had no authority and the Arians appealed to the Roman Empress Eudoxia who was moved to side with the Arians after hearing one of St. John's sermons denouncing the pomp and luxury promulgated by the Roman rulers. It wasn't until 403 that John was allowed to return by the Emperor Arcadius. However that was short-lived for, always loyal to Christ, John objected vehemently to the unveiling of a statue of the Empress Eudoxia who had exiled him. He did not object because of the exile edict, but rather the pagan nature attributed to the statue. Once again exiled, he would not return until posthumously carried back by the Emperor's son Theodosius II thirty years after the saint's death. While John spent his last years in exile orchestrating the missionary efforts of Lebanon, Syria and Persia as well as helping in the conversion of the Goths, he continued his campaign to be reinstituted as the rightful Patriarch of Constantinople. He wrote the new pontiff Pope Saint Innocent I who had been elected the 40th Vicar of Christ on December 22, 401. Though Innocent was in favor as well as the Constantinople citizens who would accept no one else other than John as their bishop, the new Roman Emperor Theodosius was stronger and more influential. Thus he sent John even farther away. John lived a total of 63 years, dying on the feast of the Holy Cross on September 14, 407 while enroute to the village of Comana near the Black Sea to preach. He received his Heavenly reward with the words "Glory be to God for everything. Amen" on his lips. He was pronounced a Doctor of the Church by Pope Saint Leo the Great at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, 44 years after his death.

Monday, September 14, 1998

      First Reading: Numbers 21: 4-9
      Psalms: Psalm 78: 1-2, 34-38
      Second Reading: Philippians 2: 6-11
      Gospel Reading: John 3: 13-17


          In the Latin Roman Rite this feast is celebrated on September 14th each year to celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, died. Historians record that the true cross was unearthed by the Empress Saint Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine the Great in the year 326. With Constantine as emperor his mother had the funds and the visa so-to-speak to conduct an extensive expedition for the true cross for it was the sign of the cross in the sky that enabled her son to be victorious - "In hoc signo vinces." Though she was nearly 80 years old her mission was to uncover Christ's cross so that all the world could give it the reverence and veneration it deserved. On arriving in Jerusalem there was no visible sign of any evidence because the heathens had constructed pagan temples over anything Christian to show their disdain. This was the signal to Helena where to look and so she sought out where stones had been piled high, leading her to many discoveries including the sepulchre where Jesus was buried, finding the tools of torture as well after she had the pagan temples destroyed. In the process her expedition nearby uncovered three crosses with the nail holes still visible and, after more digging, discovered the crude rough iron nails that had pierced the hands and feet of our Savior, as well as the two thieves. Helena grappled with which of the three was the true cross and sought out the holy bishop Saint Macarius, who suggested to Helena that the three crosses be taken to a very influential lady who lay very ill in the city. His reasoning and faith was that God would reveal which was the true cross when it touched and healed the sick woman. Helena did just this as Macarius prayed for the miracle they sought. God answered their prayers when the third cross was placed near the woman after the first two had failed. Almost immediately the woman regained full health. Helena was so overcome with joy and gratitude that she ordered a church be built on the spot where she discovered the cross and placed the major portion of the cross in an elegant silver casing inside the church for protection, entrusting it to St. Macarius. Because this pine wood cross was shredding some, Helena took a healthy piece back with her back to Rome, placing it in another church she had delegated to be built there which was renamed Of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem or the Church of Santa Croce in Rome where it is still preserved today. Helena died peacefully in her son Constantine's arms on August 18, 326. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Macarius' successor, stated that pieces of the true cross were spreading throughout the world which later confirmed what St. Paulinus of Nola wrote: though pieces of the sacred wood were slivered off the main cross almost daily and given to the devout, the cross seemed never to diminish in size. Today these relics are indeed on every continent and we have personally seen many times crosses that contain a sliver of the true cross. As a relic the sliver of the cross is often carried beneath a covered canopy in procession. When it is presented for exposition it is customary to genuflect in veneration, and kissing the relic is a total indication of respect and veneration.

September 11-13, 1998       volume 9, no. 178


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