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ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: JUNE 22

Paulinus was born in the year of salvation 353, of a most illustrious family of Roman citizens at Bordeaux and he later attained senatorial dignity. He was made consul of Nola but, struck by a ray of the divine light, he resigned the consulship and returning to Bordeaux, he was baptised by St Delphinus.

HE DISTRIBUTED HIS MONEY TO THE POOR

Then he sold his abundant property, distributed the money to the poor and retired to Spain, where he was ordained a priest. When he returned to Nola, he built a monastery near the tomb of St Felix and entered upon a most strict monastic life with some companions.

HE BECAME A PRIEST AND FOUNDED A MONASTERY 

As the fame of his sanctity spread, he was elevated to the See of Nola. In the fulfilment of his office, he left wonderful examples of piety, patience, and above all, charity. He wrote many things pertaining to sacred doctrine and was highly praised for his eloquence and poetry. When Campania was laid waste by the Goths, he devoted all his resources to feeding the poor and ransoming captives.

HE SOLD HIMSELF INTO SLAVERY IN PLACE OF SOMEONE ELSE AND WAS TAKEN TO AFRICA

And after that, when the Vandals invaded the same region, since he had nothing more to give, he sold himself into slavery in place of the son of a certain widow, and was taken to Africa. At length, being given his liberty by the help of God, he fell peacefully asleep in the Lord at Nola.

PRAYER:

O God, who promised to those who forsake all things in this world for you a hundred-fold reward in the world to come and life everlasting, mercifully grant that, following closely in the footsteps of the holy Bishop Paulinus, we may look upon earthly things as naught, and long only for those of heaven. Who live…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR

ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR

ST LOUIS IX, KING AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: AUGUST 25

Louis IX, King of France, was reared by his mother Blanche in the high ideals of sanctity. For the sake of recovering Jerusalem, he crossed the sea with a very large army and put the Saracens to flight in his first battle. But, since a great number of his soldiers perished from the plague, he was himself conquered and captured. A treaty was made and he was set at liberty.

HE RANSOMED NUMEROUS CHRISTIAN SLAVES

In the East, he ransomed many Christians who were slaves of the barbarians and also converted many of the infidels to the faith of Christ. After returning to France, he built many monasteries, and hospitals for the poor. He relieved the needy by his beneficence and frequently visited the sick, even waiting on them.

HE WAITED ON THE SICK

He wore plain garb and constantly afflicted his body with a hairshirt and much fasting. When he once more crossed over to wage war against the Saracens and had already pitched his camp in sight of them, he died of pestilence [in 1270] saying this prayer: “I will go into your house, I will worship at your holy temple and I will give glory to your name.

PRAYER:

O God, who transported your blessed Confessor, Louis, from an earthly throne to the glory of the heavenly kingdom, by his merits and intercession we beseech you to make us of the company of the King of kings, Jesus Christ your Son. Who with you…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, 1964

 

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“I WANT, I WANT…” – THE WARS AND COMBATS WITHIN SELF

Attachment to our own will

“Ah! if all men would only renounce their own will! Certainly, no one would fall into hell.

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

‘Put an end of self-will,’ says St Bernard, ‘and there will be an end of hell.’ But, in the meantime, such is the malice that it perverts even our good works. ‘Self-will is a great evil,’ he says again, ‘since through it good works are no longer good works.’

Whence come all the wars and combats within you?

How pitiable is the lot of him who is a slave to his own will! How many things he desires without being able to obtain them! And, on the other hand, how many difficult and disagreeable things he is obliged to bear with, which he would gladly avoid!

Saint James the Apostle says: ‘Whence come all the wars and combats within you?’ Does not the whole evil spring from the unruly appetites which govern you? You have a thousand desires and cannot satisfy one of them. [One of them satified briefly straight away gives rise to ten others in turn, and so forth, unless you are master of them through God’s help.]

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

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TODAY’S CONSUMERISM: ENTRAPMENT IN TOO MANY ‘CHOICES’ IS ACTUALLY A FORM OF SLAVERY

“We are more than just consumers

In an inspired remark at the Mass for All Souls Day, our parish priest Fr Paul Redmond at Christ the King, Bramley, invited us to reflect on the fact that when we die and meet God ‘face to face, the full purpose and meaning of our own mysterious lives will be revealed to us’.

When we die and meet God face-to-face, the full purpose and meaning of our lives will be revealed to us

Meanwhile, we struggle on, trying to relate to others and manage our human desires for basic material goods, for other human beings and for God.

The difficulty seems to be that we are now living in times of such ferocious reductionism that our abilities to manage our desires are constantly being diminished. No need to worry about God in our secular world, only our abuse of others is a serious problem (especially in war and sexual abuse), though we can scarcely agree on what are the basic human needs of shelter, food and clothing for each and every person.

And yet, as St Augustine spelled out, our insatiable desires have the power to burn us up if not managed properly.

Our insatiable desires have the power to burn us up if not managed properly

An editorial in the recent Concilium theology magazine asked: ‘How can we humans order our desires rightly when we are bombarded with advertising that constantly tells us that we need more of everything all the time?’

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded

We are all increasingly reduced to being regarded as consumers today. All values are reduced to monetary measures as the ‘economy now rules all’. Parents are even being urged by government to ask first and foremost ‘can they afford to have another child’? Students, patients and passengers are all called ‘consumers’. Personal contribitions, even of charitable volunteers, are now measured in quantitative cash values. As Pope Francis spells out in Evangelii Gaudium : ‘human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a throwaway culture which is now spreading’.

Everything human is being given a price tag

Not only are humans being regarded as literally ‘disposable’, increased consumerism is being driven by economic globalism, which is leading to a widening divide between those getting richer and those becoming poorer. Trade and commerce are driven by a continuing commodification of human life where nearly everything that human beings can be or do is increasingly a marketable product. Everything human is being given a price tag. This is far from the mysterious meaning and purpose of the human vocation, that personal ‘calling by God’ of each and every person whose human dignity is sacred from the outset.

Resisting the tyranny of market domination

Resisting this ‘tyranny’ of market domination, as Pope Francis labels it, is a huge challenge. Notably, the new supermarkets of Aldi and Lidl are overtaking the ‘big four’. In Leeds, Morrisons in Kirkstall offers 28,000 choices of goods on the shelves; the new Aldi store in Bramley only 8,000. St Augustine warned that entrapment in too many ‘choices’ is actually a form of slavery which diminishes our capacity to make really important choices.

I find myself hard to grasp (St Augustine)

When he wrote ‘I find myself hard to grasp’ he was challenging that  reduction of our lives to the economy of ever-expanding choices and inviting us to open up to God’s mysterious purposes.

– This article by John Battle was published in the Catholic Universe newspaper, issue 7th November, 2014. (Bold and headings added afterwards.) For subscriptions to the Catholic Universe newspaper please contact http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link)

 

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21st MARCH, RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 104)

R. Remember the wonders the Lord has done.

1. God called down a famine on the land;
he broke the staff that supported them.
He had sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave. (R.)

2. His feet were put in chains,
his neck was bound with iron,
until what he said came to pass
and the Lord’s word proved him true. (R.)

3. Then the king sent and released him;
the ruler of the peoples set him free,
making him master of his house
and ruler of all he possessed. (R.)

ACCLAMATION

God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son;
everyone who believes in him has eternal life.

 

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21st MARCH, BIBLE READING (GENESIS 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28)

HERE COMES THE MAN OF DREAMS. COME ON, LET US KILL HIM.

Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.

His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. “Here comes the man of dreams,” they said to one another. “Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.”

But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. “We must not take his life,” he said. “Shed no blood,” said Reuben to them, “throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him” – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with the long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat.

Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.

Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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“BE GOOD, LOVE THE LORD, PRAY FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW HIM”

WHAT A GREAT GRACE IT IS TO KNOW GOD!

“St Josephine Bakhita (Memorial: February 8) was born in Sudan in 1869 and was sold in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum as a slave after traders kidnapped her when she was a young girl.

KIDNAPPED AND SOLD AS A SLAVE

The terror that slavery provoked in her was so strong that she actually forgot the name her parents gave her and so she adopted the name that her kidnappers gave her: ‘Bakhita’, meaning ‘fortunate’.

ENDING UP IN ITALY, WHERE SLAVERY WAS FORBIDDEN

Bakhita was eventually bought by an Italian consul, Augusto Michieli, who treated her well. Eventually they moved to Italy and settled with his family in Zianigo, a hamlet in the province of Venice.

SHE BECAME A CHRISTIAN AGED 21

When Micheli had to move away with his wife he entrusted Bakhita and his daughter Mimmina to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of Catechumens in Venice. Bakhita was baptised Josephine in January 1890. On the same day she was also confirmed and received Communion from Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto, the Patriarch of Venice and future Pope Pius X. She became a nun on December 8 1896 and lived with the Schio community for the next 50 years.

LOVE THE LORD!

During her life Josephine was renowned for her love of children who attended the Canossian schools daily. She was known to say to others around her: ‘Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know him. What a great grace it is to know God!’

‘AS THE MASTER DESIRES’

St Josephine’s later years were marked by sickness and disability. She was confined to a wheelchair, but remained cheerful. When asked how she was, she would reply, ‘As the Master desires.’ In her final moments she had flashbacks to her days as a slave and exclaimed: ‘The chains are too tight, loosen them a little, please!’

SAINTHOOD

St Josephine died at 8.10pm on February 8 1947. For three days her body lay on display while thousands of people arrived to pay their respects. The petitions for her canonisation began immediately.

In December 1978 John Paul II declared Josephine Venerable and in May 1992 beatified her. On October 1 2000 she was eventually canonised, becoming St Josephine Bakhita. Her feast day is celebrated on February 8.”
– This article was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue February 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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