January 6, 1998 vol 9, no. 4
Today is actually the traditional day for Epiphany and last day for old passwords
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In honor of Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior, reported to be astrologers/astronomers from the east, we present a new look today. We've dispensed with the traditional borders and given the background a galaxy look. Let us know what you think of it and if we should continue with it in future issues or stay with what we've been using. Also, if you have any questions let us know, Click on Webmaster.
Many have questions on why Epiphany is no longer celebrated on January 6th. After Vatican II, the liturgical calendar was changed - streamlined, if you will, and the feast of the Epiphany, once always celebrated on January 6th, was delegated to the first Sunday of January unless it falls on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, in which case it would be celebrated on the sixth. Church liturgists argue that by placing the feast on Sunday it gives it more importance and more of the faithful can celebrate the feast when the wise men arrived bearing gifts for the Christ-child. It was also traditionally the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas and the transition period to Ordinary Time beginning with the Feast next Sunday of the Baptism of the Lord leading to Lent. This will be the last issue we feature anything of Christmas for after today, creche sets are taken down and packed away for another year. Lights are stripped from the trees, ornaments neatly wrapped, and the tree discarded. It is a time to look ahead toward the Spring during this time of limbo known as winter. During this week, like the snow on the ground, the vestments are white. Today we celebrate the feast of the Canadian lay brother Blessed Andre Bissette and the miracles surrounding this holy man.
Click on LITURGY OF THE DAY.
TUESDAY, January 6, 1998
First Reading: 1 John 4: 7-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72: 1-8, 11
Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 34-44
BLESSED ANDRE BESSETTE, Religious
Credited with countless cures, Canadian-born Blessed Andre Bessette, a Holy Cross Brother was born in 1845 into a family of twelve. At the age of twelve he became an orphan when his parents died and helped care for his brothers and sisters by working in mills and farms in New England before returning to Montreal in 1870. At the age of 25 he joined the Holy Cross Order as a Lay Brother. Never educated and of poor health, Andre did not let that deter him from fulfilling God's Will in the simplest of ways. Though he was first rejected by the Holy Cross Fathers after his novitiate, the Bishop of Montreal intervened and suggested that he become a lay brother with the Order. For the next 67 years he devoted himself to the menial, but spiritually rewarding jobs of porter and gardener. Through the grace of God those who came in contact with this holy man were cured and word quickly spread of his fame. While he was helping build a shrine to Saint Joseph in Montreal - St. Joseph's Oratory, he contined as porter at the College of Notre Dame in that Canadian city. For 40 years he held this responsibility until demand was so great for Brother Andre to be at the shrine that the Holy Cross Order transferred him over there. Millions of pilgrims flooded the shrine with countless cures physically and spiritually occurring regularly when they came in contact with this holy, humble man of God. They flocked to him for spiritual direction. He received over 80,000 letters a year and insisted on corresponding with the people, but could not read or write and so he dictated the letters, many through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to a plethora of secretaries hired to handle the phenomenal responses to Blessed Andre. Through word of mouth and devotion, this shrine has since become the most well-known shrine to the protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus in the world. It was already the best known in North America when Brother Andre succumbed of old age at 92 in 1937. Eighteen years later the Oratory was solemnly dedicated and declared a minor basilica. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982.
WEDNESDAY, January 7, 1998
Wednesday, January 7:
Weekday in the Days of Christmas and
Feast of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Priest and Religious
First Reading: 1 John 4" 11-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72: 1-2, 10, 12-13
Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 45-52
SAINT RAYMOND OF PENYAFORT, Priest and Religious
Born at Penyafort in Catalonia, Spain in 1175, Saint Raymond was a scholarly genius, evident by the fact he was
teaching philosophy in Barcelona at the early age of 20. By the time he was 35 he had resigned to study law at Bologna, Italy where he acquired a doctorate in 1216. Two years later Bishop Berengarius of Barcelona, proud of Raymond's achievements, made him an archdeacon which led to Raymond's vocation as a Dominican. The ensuing years brought fame to Raymond for his preaching throughout Spain as he addressed both Moors and Christians who had been freed from Moorish slavery, an endeavor Raymond played a pivotal role in from preaching the Spanish crusade which ultimately freed the Spanish slaves. Along with Saint Peter Nolasco Raymond cofounded the Mercedarians in 1223, which was a lay order called the Order of Our Lady of Ransom and whose specific purpose was to raise money to ransom the Christian slaves. Raymond was St. Peter Nolasco's spiritual director. Raymond became spiritual confessor to Pope Gregory IX in 1230. It was there in Rome where Raymond was assigned the task of collecting and codifying papal decrees. His massive work, released in 1150, became the cornerstone for canon law. It was also during this time that he was appointed papal penitentiary which led to his writing Summa casuum and which would have an influential effect on the penial system throughout Europe during the middle ages. In 1235 Raymond was consecrated Archbishop of Tarragona, Spain. It was a position he did not want for he wanted to be with the people and felt as bishop he could not dedicate time to preaching or studies. He became very ill a year later and requested the Holy Father to rescind his appointment as bishop so he could return to his beloved Spain where, after recuperating, resumed his preaching duties. Three years later he was named Master General of the Dominican Order. In this position he wrote a revision of the Dominican constitution, one that would stand until 1924 and then, at the age of 65, resigned his position with the Dominicans. Though it was the end of his official titles with the Dominicans it was not the end of his ministry for he would go on to preach for 35 more years, living to the ripe old age of 99, passing into God's embrace on January 6, 1275 in Barcelona, just shy of becoming a centarian. In those final years Raymond not only founded friaries in Tunis and Murcia, introduced the study of Arabic and Hebrew in Dominican circles to better understand Sacred Scripture and to preach to the non-Christians of the mideast during the Crusades, but also assisted in establishing the Inquisition in Catalonia, Spain. Raymond was canonized in 1601 by Pope Clement VIII.
The author of the Third Crusade and crusader for peace and reconciliation
As we resume our regular series this week, we pick up where we left off in our on-going megaseries on Church history, leaving Pope Urban III where we left him - forgotten - we meet Pope Gregory VIII a holy pontiff who, in less than three months righted the ship and set the course for Holy Mother Church for years to come through his decrees and exemplification. For the fifty second installment, click onHISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH
Probably no pontiff in the history of the Popes accomplished more in the shortest time. Pope Gregory VIII was only Pope for less than three months, but in this short span of time he was able to bring stability to the papacy, reconcile with the powerful German king and emperor Frederick Barbarossa convincing him to lead the Third Crusade in the aftermath of the disaster of Jerusalem. While Gregory VIIIís legacy is for launching the Third Crusade, he was first and foremost a peacemaker whose philosophy was that the only way to defeat the Saracen threat in the Mid East was through a unified Christian world. Therefore, everywhere he sought reconciliation and peace among European nations, princes, dukedoms and kings. He was hailed by many as the man who could deal with Frederick with honey rather than vinegar. It was the beginning of restoring the Holy See to prominence that would come into focus in the ensuing centuries. This holy manís short tenure marked a definite end to the dark ages and memories of popes whose agenda was not in accord with Godís Will. The Christian world rallied behind him and mourned greatly at his unexpected death in Pisa on December 11, 1187.
Pope Gregory VIIII: The start of reconciliation and restoration
As the College of Cardinals met at Ferrara the day after the death of Pope Urban III they realized they could not afford to make the same mistakes they had made in the past. Their selection of Urban had turned out to be a disaster and they looked toward the stable Cardinal Henry of Albano as their next leader, but the holy and aging prelate declined and offered in his stead his colleague from the curia - the papal chancellor Cardinal Albert de Mora. They concurred and on October 21 he was elected on the first ballot. He chose the name Pope Gregory VIII in honor of his predecessor a century ago Pope Saint Gregory VII - a saint named Hildebrand who would not be canonized until 1606 by Pope Paul V. But the new pontiff knew the saintly things Gregory VII had accomplished and sought to follow in his footsteps and distance himself and Holy Mother Church from the poor excuses for leaders the Church had suffered during the personal feuds with the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The Pope was no stranger to dealing with royalty or appeasing heads of state and investigating wrong-doing. He had been appointed Papal Chancellor by Pope Alexander III who had held that same title before becoming supreme pontiff in 1159. He had been the best papal leader up until Gregory VIII. In fact, before Alexander became Pope Cardinal de Mora had served as vice chancellor under him. It was de Mora who Alexander dispatched to look into the bizarre circumstances surrounding the murder of Saint Thomas Beckett and it was he who counseled and absolved King Henry of the deed.
In this same vein he began his papacy by calling on Frederick to be a staunch ally and to take the reins in leading the Third Crusade. Gregory had realized all of Christian Europe needed to be united in a cause and time was of the essence. The longer he waited, the more power was attributed to the Infidel forces both psychologically and in actuality. Frederick, anxious to wield his power, was only too willing to comply. Within weeks the zeal for launching a Third Crusade, one of massive forces that would crush the Moslem military, reached a fever pitch. In every country dukes, princes and their knights rallied to the cause, signing up in droves. Gregoryís call to holiness and repentance touched hearts everywhere. He had dispatched papal legates to every country with the clarion that the only way to be victorious was to repent for past sins by doing penance, alms-giving and putting on penitential garb. Through his wise advice, the people realized the defeats in the Holy Lands were because Christians were not acting Christ-like and to truly win each must strive towards holiness. Though Gregory himself may have wanted to accompany the crusaders in their quest to recover the Holy Land, he realized there was too much work at home. He also realized the value of the clergy in a peacemaker role and thus declared that clergy should devote their efforts to the people, take up alms-giving, and spend their remaining time in prayer. He assigned designated chaplains to the Crusade but instructed them not to take up arms. He was also adamant that the clergy must be the pacesetters in displaying holiness and forbade them to wear elegant clothes of any kind, lest they would cause scandal. It is much the same plea Archbishop Charles Chaput made at the recent Synod of the Americas in December at St. Peterís, entreating his fellow bishops that they could only be unified and lead by working first on their own personal holiness.
&nbps; Having clearly sent his message to all corners of the Christian world, Gregory then set out to bring peace between Genoa and Pisa. He realized that if he could get these two feuding cities to reconcile, they could be a valuable asset to the Crusades. Enroute to Pisa, Gregory VIII called a council in Parma specifically for making final preparations for the Third Crusade. While there he traveled to the nearby village of Lucca where he commanded the local bishop to remove the remains of the antipope Victor IV from the cathedral there at once and give it a common burial, nothing special. He announced that no one who was not loyal to Godís Will would be afforded any honor in Godís Church. Because of the holiness, sincerity and determination this supreme pontiff exemplified, his efforts met with success. He was able to bring the heads of the Genoese families and Pisan clans to the peace table, but he was not able to complete the peace settlement for he caught the fever in early December and within days it took its toll and this beloved and popular pontiff from the people. Gregory expired on December 17, 1188. The entire Christian world mourned their loss of this holy leader and resolved to dedicate the Third Crusade to the memory of Gregory VIII. It would be left to Gregoryís successor to bring this to reality and further the reform begun by Gregory in finally bringing peace to Rome as well.
NEXT ISSUE: Pope Clement III: The realization of the Third Crusade and Roman peace.
To review all past installments of this on-going series, go to Archives beginning with the inaugural A CALL TO PEACE internet issue in January 1996. volume 7, no. 1.
Loving the Revealer
In the twentieth column entitled Loving the Revealer (part two) by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. he hits home today on the essence of love and true faith exhibited by Jesus, present with us always in the Holy Eucharist. Yet there were many who rejected Him and His teaching and Fr. John warns us all we need to have "primary" and "secondary" faith in order to truly understand the truths the Revealer reveals to us and reap the rewards He has promised. Click on KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL
KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL
Faith: Key to the Heart of God
Twentieth installment: Loving the Revealer part two
In John 8: 47, Jesus says, "Anyone whose Father is God listens gladly to the words of God, and since you don't, it proves you aren't His children." Hence, accepting the Revealer implies accepting the revealed truth He presents. Primary and secondary faith constitute a "package deal."
The doctrine of the Eucharist shows how this is done. According to Cardinal Neumann, in the last century there have been 157 interpretations of the words, "This is My Body." Of those, 90 interpretations are currently in use by different Christian denominations. Four times in John 6 Jesus gives the promise of the rapture for those who partake of the Eucharist. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood, I will raise him up on the last day; he who does not eat My flesh and drink My blood will not have life in him." 1 Corinthians 11: 29 tells us that anyone who eats the bread and drinks the wine not discerning therein the body and blood of the Lord is guilty of death of the Lord. That makes it very real, very sacred.
After stressing the importance of this doctrine in John 6, Jesus went on to say we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. It sounded like cannibalism! The Jews were turned off by it. His very disciples, who had believed in Him, watched the miracles and just been been involved in an audience-participation miracle (eating the multiplied bread), said: "That's a hard saying. Who can take it?" and walked away. Jesus did not call them back and try to explain it away. He just turned to His apostles and asked, "Will you also go away?" He was not going to change His doctrine. If He had to lose them, He would. He was not going to compromise the truth He was revealing.
Peter, speaking up for the apostles as usual, said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life." They had primary faith in Him, therefore they had to have secondary faith in what He was saying. Peter did not understand the doctrine because he accepted Christ; accepting the Revealer, he accepted the truth revealed by that Revealer. If it was explained how it could be done, it would not be faith, it would be knowledge, science. Faith transcends science.
Faith is believing without evidence but relying on the validity of the testimony of someone who is reliable. It is person-based, not evidence-based. It is person-based, not evidence-based.
The intensity of adherence to doctrine flows from the intensity of adherence to the revealer who reveals the doctrine. We can reverse the process and ask how strongly we believe a truth that is revealed; that will tell us how much faith we have in Jesus, the Revealer. It will tell us the level of our personal commitment.
Another example is found in John 11 when Jesus came to raise Lazarus from the dead. Martha went out to meet Him and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother Lazarus would not have died." So Jesus then challenged her to secondary belief. "Don't you believe in the resurrection of the body (the rapture)?" He asked her. She replied, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God." Again the connection is established between secondary and primary faith. She believed in the truth of the resurrection because she believed in Jesus the Messiah, the Revealer.
In John 5: 24, Jesus says, "Anyone who listens to My message" - secondary faith - ""believes in God Who sent Me" - primary faith.
Next Week: Steak and Potatoes Faith part one
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January 6, 1998 volume 9, no. 4   DAILY CATHOLIC