January 1, 1998 vol 9,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Solemnity of the Mother of God: Spouse of the Holy Spirit in the Year of the Holy Spirit as we countdown 730 days to Jubilee 2000
Fittingly the first day of 1998 is dedicated to the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and "woman of Hope" as the second stage begins in the trilogy year celebration leading to the millennium which Pope John Paul II had proclaimed Jubilee 2000. As we complete the Year of Jesus Christ, Son and begin the Year of the Holy Spirit, we are filled with awe at God's Mercy and Love in the face of a world whose heart has collectively hardened to all the Holy Trinity asks. The year 1998 will be a pivotal year. That has been documented by many saints and visionaries over the years, and the Blessed Virgin Mary herself to Father Don Stefano Gobbi and to Saint John Bosco in a vision he received well over a hundred years ago pertaining to the final years of the twentieth century. We are indeed in those times prophesied and God's greatest emissary is His very Own Mother whose obedient maternity we celebrate today. Click on LITURGY OF THE DAY
THURSDAY, January 1, 1998
First Reading: Numbers 6: 22-27
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 67: 2-3, 5-6, 8
Second Reading:Galatians 4: 4-7
Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 16-21
SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD: January 1
Pope Paul VI pronounced this special feast in 1970 to supercede the Feast of the Circumcision, which had been in vogue since early in the 6th Century. The Holy Father changed the feast to bring the Latin Calendar more into accord with Eastern tradition in the Byzantine Church which emphasizes the Marian character of this feast as the octave of Christmas. This is, however, not a new feast for it had been celebrated as early as the 5th Century on the Sunday before Christmas. Late in the 7th Century Pope Saint Sergius I introduced four new Marian feasts into the Church calendar with the Birth of Mary, the Annunciation, the Purification of Mary and the Assumption as well as celebrating the Maternity of Mary on the Octave of Christmas. It wasn't until the 14th Century that the Feast of the Circumcision was introduced and eventually squeezed out, so to speak, the Marian celebration. His Holiness Pope Paul VI stated in his encyclical Marialis Cultus, issued in 1974 "is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the 'holy Mother...through whom we were found worthy...to receive the Author of life." The Holy Father took this occasion to also institute that a World Day of Peace be celebrated on this same day "bringing forth fruits of peace in the hearts of many." Seven years later Our Lady herself confirmed this union of her solemnity as the Mother of God and the fruits of peace when she began appearing in Medjugorje, proclaiming herself the "Queen of Peace."
FRIDAY, January 2, 1998
Friday, January 2:
Ninth Octave of Christmas and
Feast of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors
First Reading: 1 John 2: 22-28
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98: 1-4
Gospel Reading: John 1: 19-28
Feast of Saints Basil and Saints Gregory
The blood brother of Saint Basil the Great was Saint Gregory of Nyssa, but it was another Gregory whom Basil would accomplish so much with - Saint Gregory of Nazianzen, a good friend of both brothers and whom we shall detail below. First of all Basil was born in 330 into a very holy family of saints during the pontificate of Saint Sylvester I. He was one of ten children born to his father Saint Basil the Elder and his mother Saint Emmelia, residents of Caesarea in Asia Minor. He was educated by both his father and his great grandfather Saint Macrina the Elder. Two of his classmates would play a pivotal part in his life - one of course was St. Gregory of Nazianzen and the other was Julian the Apostate. In 357 Basil established a popular school of rhetoric in Caesarea. It was the beginning of the intellectual influence in the last half of the 4th Century. Basil was ordained a priest in 363 and wrote two Rules for monastic life, leading the monastic movement in the east much the same way as Saint Benedict would in the west. A two year feud between Basil and Saint Eusebius fermented for they had disagreed vehemently over something and had remained apart until 365 when Gregory of Nazianzen asked Basil to help him fight the growing heresy of Arianism. Through Gregory Basil reconciled with Eusebius. On November 22, 365 Pope Felix died and many felt the Church would unite again but Pope Liberius' attempts to reconcile hit a snag when he passed on to his Heavenly reward on September 24, 366. He was succeeded by Pope Saint Damasus I on October 1, 366. Almost immediately the Arians countered by selecting the antipope Ursinus, but he lived only one year. Three years later Damasus elevated St. Basil to Bishop of Caesarea where the people embraced him totally. But this didn't stop the emperor Valens from testing the saint to the "enth" degree. He ordered Basil to receive the Arians back into the good graces of the Church without them repenting or ceasing from spreading heresy. Naturally, Basil refused. This infuriated Valens who first tried to bribe him, then threatened seizure of his property and even death. Basil laughed in the face of the devil, remarking that he owned nothing but his clothes and a few books and that he welcomed martyrdom. Valens knew his hands were tied because to follow through on his threat would mean absolute revolt by the people which he could not afford because he was also consumed with fighting the hordes on the eastern front. It was here that Valens was fatally wounded on the battlefield in 378. His successor was the Emperor Theodosius who had seen the unrest and disharmony caused by the Arians and had grown steadfastly opposed to this heretical sect. Unfortunately Basil did not live to see the fruits for he died a year later in 379, the same year his life-long friend St. Gregory of Nazianzen was appointed Bishop of Constantinople.
January 2: SAINT GREGORY NAZIANZEN, Bishop and Doctor
Like Saint Basil the Great a close friend throughout life, Saint Gregory Nazianzen was also born into a family of saints. A year older than Basil, Gregory was born in 329 at Nazianzus to his father Saint Gregory Nazianzen the Elder, then the bishop of Nazianzus, and his mother Saint Nonna. Young Gregory was more drawn to contemplation than the limelight and chose to spend most of his time in prayer with Basil in Pontus. Not really wanting to be ordained for active life but adhering the will of his saintly father, Gregory was ordained in 362 and helped his father run the diocese until two years before the elder's death when the younger Gregory was appointed Bishop of Sasima which was in Arian territory. Because of his deep love for his father he stayed on in Caesarea acting as coadjutor to his father. This seemed to be the only riff between Basil and Gregory and when Gregory's father died in 374 the son went into a state of depression, turning inward to prayer for the only answers. He suffered burn-out in 375 and, because of persecution by the Arians, spent the next five years in seclusian at Seleucia in Isauria. When the Eastern Emperor Valens died, he was asked by a group of stalwart bishops to come to Constantinople and preach to the people, revitalizing the Church in the East by restoring the proper Orthodoxy. Also like Basil, whenever he could he'd get away from the hustle and bustle of city ecclesial administration and politics, opting for the solitude of contemplative prayer for he had always wanted only that - to lead a solitary life. But the call of the Church and the people led him to an active life, including presiding at the First Ecumentical Council of Constantinople in 381. Throughout his episcopacy, just as with Basil, Arian bishops did all they could to discredit these saints and only through the grace of God were Gregory and Basil able to persevere and bear many fruits. Gregory's teaching resulted in over half the city converting to Catholicism. This, aided by Emperor Theodosius' decree that Arianism be abolished and all churches be given back to the true faith, solidly secured Constantinople as a Catholic city. With this accomplished, Gregory, noted for his brilliant writings in defending the true faith and theological brilliance on explaining the Trinity in his sermons, finally retired and settled in Asia Minor where he spent the remainder of his life in prayer, passing on peacefully in 391.
A special New Year's Message from Our Lord and Our Lady
The Blessed Mother imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart a very special New Year's message in 1992 and her Divine Son conveys a pertinent message on January 1, 1995; both are incorporated within the 632 messages from the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
Messages One Hundred Thirty Eight and Five Hundred and Eighty
Message One Hundred Thirty Eight: January 1, 1992
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Beloved Hidden Flower, I give you God's peace. Open your heart and receive this blessed peace amidst all of life's crosses. On this day all Heaven bows in adoration before the throne of God, One and Trine, and glory is given to God for the great privilege He has bestowed upon me, His Mother.
I have come to give all my little ones a guideline for this new year. I solemnly tell you, dear children, that events world-wide shall continue and accelerate according to the Father's plan which shall culminate in the fulfillment of my promises made long ago at Fatima, and even to this present day in many areas of the world. The time is nearly fulfilled when the world shall witness the Triumph of my Immaculate Heart, and then shall come, as foretold and promised, the reign of the Sacred Heart of my Divine Son.
Give praise to God that you have been chosen to bear witness to my triumph. Be of one mind and one heart through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Many of my little ones do not fully understand my words, but the day is fast approaching when the world shall witness a supernatural event whereby all divisions among men shall vanish and unity, as my Divine Son taught you, shall prevail.
Help me, my children, for the evil one - satan, knows well the hours are counted, and his pride demands more and more souls snatched from their Heavenly Father.
Therefore, I ask all of my little ones, my chosen army, my apostles of the last days to begin each day by mentally prostrating yourself before the Triune Divinity and offering every thought, word and deed of that day for God's glory and the expiation and reparation of sin in all the world.
Consecrate and dedicate yourself to my Immaculate Heart and my Divine Son's Sacred Heart. I solemnly tell you: Pray! Pray! Pray! All I have foretold shall come to pass. Pray and receive the sacraments, particularly Confession and Holy Communion. Be attentive to your faith, and ask God to strengthen it, for He will do so that you may persevere.
Children, gather beneath my Immaculate Mantle and permit me, your Heavenly Mother, to teach you the way to my Son. Do not become discouraged. Rather, trust in God and you shall not want.
The Age of Mercy is passing away. Pray! Pray! Pray! Thank you for responding to my Call.
Message Five Hundred and Eighty: January 1, 1995
Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Beloved Hidden Flower of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, I love and bless you and all of My children. I, Jesus Christ, Only-begotten Son of God, Savior and Redeemer, speak now to all of My children.
Dear little ones who are especially open to the Holy Spirit and daily strive to live the messages imparted by My Holy Mother, how much comfort and joy you give to Me. My Mercy and Peace I give to you in abundance.
To all of My children who do not yet seek Me, nor are they secure in the Refuge of My Sacred Heart, I, Jesus Christ, come especially to call you yet again. I assure you of My Infinite Love and Infinite Mercy, and to all the world I solemnly tell you, "Drink from the Font of Divine Mercy, and be at great peace."
Dear children, so very many of you welcome today a 'New Year.' You place human hope and trust that in some way a New Year will find you happier in a worldly way.
I solemnly tell you and solemnly invite you to make but one resolve. You seek a `New Year' ; I ask you to seek a new heart. You complain that you do not know how to do this; you begin and stop, convinced it is too hard and beyond reach.
No, my dear little ones. This is the priceless gift I desire to give to all mankind - in exchange for your concept of a New Year, I solemnly ask you to give Me your heart through an act of surrender of your entire being. I do solemnly tell you that I Myself shall replace your stone cold hearts, your proud, stubborn hearts with My own Sacred Heart.
Do you understand what this means, My children? I wish for you to have My Peace. To love as I love, to forgive as I forgive, to seek in total joyful obedience the Perfect Will of My Father.
Do you desire to follow Me? Do you desire for My enemy to be chained so that, according to Sacred Scripture you might bring sooner the Triumph of My Mother's Immaculate Heart?
O! Rejoice, My children that I Who Am claim you as My own and wish to exchange My Heart for your poor wounded hearts.
Will you do this, My children? If you heed My words then I solemnly tell you that even in the midst of tremendous events you shall fear nothing for I shall be with you. If you heed My words then the world shall also be awakened to a torrent of Divine Mercy by which countless souls shall be saved.
I ask you to go to Mass, daily if you can. Go to the Sacraments and give Me all respect in The Blessed Sacrament. Read Sacred Scripture daily and pray from and with your heart, for in these coming days the earth shall groan in pain, and mankind shall weep in deepest sorrow.
Look to the Heavens, My children. Be strong and persevere. I call to each of you by name. Hear Me, O My children.
I am God and I come again.
NEXT WEEK: Messages One Hundred Thirteen and One Hundred Fourteen
Today is the Eighth Day in the Octave of Christmas
The first day of the new year is also the eighth day of Christmas as we have been documenting in each issue this past week. Today we feature the eighth verse of the popular Christmas carol "Twelve Days of Christmas" which, in truth, was a mini catechism in code for Catholics who were not allowed to practice their faith openly during the time after the Reformation up to the French Revolution. The "True Love" refers to God the Father and each gift is truly a Divine Gift that helped Catholics persevere and perpetuate the tenets of the One, True Faith in the face of great harassment.
Thursday, January 1
"On the eighth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, eight maids a-milking."
The eight maids a-milking represent the Eight Beatitudes preached by Jesus Christ on His sermon on the mount and which Catholics, no matter how persecuted, could practice good deeds through the Beatitudes and gain great consolation and courage from these.
Medjugorje Monthly Message for December 25th
Dear children! Also today I rejoice with you and I call you to the good. I desire that each of you reflect and carry peace in your heart and say: I want God in the first place in my life. In this way, little children, each of you will become holy. Little children, tell everyone, I want the good for you and he will respond with the good and, little children, good will come to dwell in the heart of each man. Little children, tonight I bring to you the good of my Son Who gave His life to save you. That is why, little children, rejoice and extend your hands to Jesus Who is only good. Thank you for having responded to my call!
For more on Medjugorje, Click on MEDJUGORJE
NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Holy Father ushers out 1997 with promise of hope for 1998
Finishing up 1997, the Pope made his traditional year-end address as the Bishop of Rome to a packed congregation in the center of the city of Rome attended by many Roman political dignitaries, in which he once again expressed hope and joy as the journey towards Jubilee 2000 grows shorter every day. Click on Bishop of Rome to read more.
POPE SEES PROGRESS IN ROME'S MISSION
VATICAN (CWN) -- In a traditional accounting of the blessings of the passing year, Pope John Paul II today gave thanks for the progress that has been made in realizing the mission of the city of Rome.
At a Te Deum prayed at St. Ignatius church, in the center of the city, as the first ceremony connected with tomorrow's celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of God, the Holy Father pointed to the importance of the city's role in preparing for the Jubilee Year. His homily, delivered to a congregation which included many of the leading public officials of Rome, focused on that theme as well as on the Incarnation of Christ.
The Pope noted that this year, a copy of St. Mark's Gospel has been delivered to all of the households of Rome, as a first step in an ambitious evangelization effort. That mission, he continued, "invites us to look to the future, and prepare the ground for the evangelization of our city in the perspective of the third millennium."
He also recalled his own instructions, delivered to the young people of Rome: that they should be "active participants in the proclamation and the witness of Christ among other young people."
Pope John Paul also mentioned his own pastoral visits to the parishes around the city. Since ascending the throne of Peter, he has made 265 such visits, and he mentioned that he looked upon these parishes as "a resource of inestimable value" in the city's mission. In Rome, he said, the Church contributes an enormous amount to the life of the society through "the education of adolescents and young people as well as the moral force of families, the aid to those who live on the margins of society, and to people who live alone and those who suffer." The Pope also gave thanks for the ordination of 30 new priests for the Rome diocese.
Poles run into obstacle on sex ed: It's called politics Polish-style
No sooner had Poland celebrated the fact abortion would be banned than another vice reared its ugly head and was given new life by political hardliners much to the dismay of concerned parents who do not want sex education taught in their schools. Click on angry Poles to read more.
SOLIDARITY LOSES POLISH PARLIAMENT VOTE ON SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOL
WARSAW (CWN) - Poland's Parliament rejected a key vote on Tuesday supported by the majority Solidarity Election
Alliance that would have reversed mandatory sex education in schools, an issue emphasized by the country's bishops.
The two-party coalition defeated President Aleksander Kwasniewski's ex-Communist party in September parliamentary elections, but fell short of the three-fifths vote necessary to overturn a presidential veto. The Solidarity government had proposed plans to end distinct sex education classes in schools. Kwasniewski argued that the classes are the best way to prevent teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and abortions. Opponents countered that the classes have the opposite effect and in fact encourage sexual experimentation and promiscuity.
Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek told reporters after the defeat: "I can only regret what has happened. The president's decision was political in character."
Cuba Caritas receives much needed medical supplies via American Cardinal on New Year's Eve
The first flux of US Bishops heading to Cuba for this month's papal visit began just before the year ended when Baltimore's Cardinal William Keeler, on a humanitarian mission, brought a substantial amount of antibiotics for Caritas in Cuba. He was welcomed by Cuba's head prelate Cardinal Jaime Ortega. Click on Cuba to read more.
US CARDINAL VISITS CUBA AHEAD OF PAPAL VISIT
HAVANA (CWN) - Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore arrived in Havana on Tuesday to bring more attention to Pope John
Paul's upcoming January visit to Cuba, bringing with him almost $200,000 worth of antibiotics to give to Caritas Cuba.
Cardinal Keeler, arriving on a chartered plane from Florida along with Catholic Relief Services' director Kenneth Hacket, was greeted by Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana. "Any time Pope John Paul visits a place it's an occasion for people of faith to be reminded of what the basic Gospel message of Jesus is," Cardinal Keeler said. He added the impact of papal visits was "very energizing."
The cardinal is expected to travel to the western province of Pinar del Rio for a New Year's eve Mass on Wednesday and then return to Havana on Thursday. A sizable group of US bishops are expected to visit the Communist nation during the Holy Father's visit January 21-25.
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
In honor of Mary, Mother of God
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence I fly unto to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you do I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"Observe, My son, your Father's bidding, and rejeact not your Mother's teaching; keep them fastened over your heart always, put them around your neck."
Proverbs 6: 20-21
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January 1, 1998 volume 9, no. 1   DAILY CATHOLIC
January 1, 1998