Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Saint of the Day
Postulators reflect on humanity of John Paul II, John XXIII
4/23/2014 7:26:00 AM
Vatican City, Apr 23, 2014 / 06:26 am (
).- The postulators of the canonization causes for both John Paul II and John XXIII told journalists at the Vatican that the soon-to-be-saints also had faults which show their “humanity.”
At the Holy See Press Office April 22, Monsignor Slawomir Oder and Father Giovangiuseppe Califano discussed both the innate signs of holiness as well as the limitations of the pontiffs.
Msgr. Oder recalled that John Paul II “was a man with blood in his veins,” and as such “had no problem in showing his feelings” – sometimes “he was angry, which demonstrated his humanity.”
The Polish priest noted that in one of his trips, Pope John Paul II was told to use a bullet proof vest. However, the pontiff strongly and negatively rejected the move, “because he trusted in another type of protection.”
Fr. Califano indicated that Pope John XXIII, known as the “good” Pope, also had faults and “used to worry too much about things.”
But, he added, the late pontiff also “had a sense of simplicity and wisdom that helped him to be ironic with himself.”
The priest recounted how one day a newly-appointed bishop confessed to John XXIII “that he could not sleep at night due to an anxiety which was caused by the responsibility of his office.”
“The Pope told him, 'You know, I also thought the same when I was elected Pope. But one day I dreamed about my Guardian Angel and it told me not to take everything so seriously.'”
Both postulators concurred that “all of us have faults, but true holiness is the one in which man responds to the grace of God correcting their mistakes.”
The two also reflected on the saintly characteristics of both men, which they said could be seen from the time both Popes were young.
As a fifteen-year-old seminarian, Angelo Roncalli not only exhibited the qualities of his future episcopal motto – “obedience and peace” – but showed his deep humility and paternal care for others, Fr. Califano said.
University friends of Karol Woytyla were struck by the future saint's prayer habits and profound understanding of the value of human life, Msgr. Oder added.
Resurrection pours 'fresh hope' on the world, Pope reflects
4/23/2014 6:22:00 AM
Vatican City, Apr 23, 2014 / 05:22 am (
).- During his general audience Wednesday Pope Francis emphasized the certainty of Christ's presence in the world today, noting how his resurrection invites us to reject sin and open ourselves to joy and hope.
“In these days we celebrate with joy the great mystery of the Resurrection of Christ,” he told the crowds packed into St. Peter's Square April 23.
“With the resurrection, all has been made new and fresh hope has been poured out upon our world.”
During his remarks, the Pope commented on the Gospel reading from Luke chapter 24, where the angel appears to the women at Jesus' tomb and says to them: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
“Its not easy to accept the presence of the resurrected in the midst of us,” the Pope reflected. “The question that the angel directed to the women, that Easter morning, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?' we must also ask ourselves.”
Pope Francis outlined the relevance of the angel's words today, explaining that we seek the living among the dead “every time we enclose ourselves in selfishness or complacency.”
“When we are seduced by power and the things of this world, forgetting God and neighbor, when we put our hope in worldly vanities, in money or in success,” he added.
“Each time we lose hope or do not have the strength to pray, each time that we feel alone of abandoned by friends, and even God, each time we feel like prisoners of our sins.”
The pontiff said that the angel's warning “helps us to go outside of our sadnesses and to open ourselves to joy and to hope,” which remove “the stones from the grave and pushes us to announce the Good News to others.”
Pope Francis also noted how the Gospel account shows three examples “of a life-changing encounter with the Risen Lord,” – Thomas, Mary Magdalene and the travelers on the road to Emmaus – which all invite us to the same experience.
“Like Thomas, we need to grasp the reality of Christ's rising to new life,” he said. “Like Mary Magdalene, we need to hear Jesus' voice calling our name.”
“And like the travelers on the road to Emmaus, we need to find renewed joy and hope by recognizing that the Lord is ever at our side.”
The Pope observed that although these disciples “sought the living among the dead,” Jesus “led them, by different paths, to faith in him and the power of his resurrection.”
“Today he challenges each of us to seek him, the Living One, and to leave behind everything that holds us back from encountering him and sharing in the rebirth, the freedom and the hope which he alone can give.”
St. Adalbert of Prague
4/23/2014 12:00:00 AM
Originally given the name of Wojtech, the boy who would be known as St. Adalbert was born to a family of nobility in the Central European region of Bohemia during the mid-900s. When Wojtech became seriously ill during his childhood, his parents resolved that they would offer their son to God as a priest if their prayers for his survival were granted. Wojtech survived the illness, and his parents sent him to study with Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg, a Benedictine missionary who would later be canonized in his own right. The archbishop gave the young student his own name at confirmation, setting an example that the boy would follow in his own life as a bishop, missionary and monk. The young Adalbert was 25 when his mentor died in 981. He returned to his native Bohemia, where Bishop Deitmar of Prague ordained him a priest two years later. However, the end of Bishop Deitmarâ€™s life provided the young priest with a cautionary example that would remain with him until the end of his life. During his last illness, the bishop became terrified of his impending judgment, confessing that he had neglected his spiritual duties in favor of wealth, honors and pleasure. After watching his bishop die on the verge of despair, Adalbert immediately resolved to live his own life in a more penitential spirit than before. He began wearing a hair-shirt and distributing his money to the poor. Soon, he would be chosen to replace the bishop whose agonizing death had shown him the gravity of spiritual leadership. Adalbert was consecrated as the Bishop of Prague just months after becoming a priest. â€œIt is an easy thing to wear the mitre and a cross,â€� Adalbert reflected, â€œbut it is a most dreadful circumstance to have an account to give of a bishopric to the judge of the living and the dead.â€� The bishop took steps to reform the finances of his diocese, ensuring that his own expenses made up only a small portion of the budget. Meanwhile, he slept on the floor, fasted regularly, gave sermons almost daily, and visited poor neighborhoods and prisons. But in six years of constant prayer, fasting, and preaching, Bishop Adalbert made little headway among the Bohemians. The low point came when he unsuccessfully attempted to shield a woman convicted of adultery from a mob that sought to kill her. He responded by excommunicating the murderers, but the public seemed to favor them rather than the bishop. Frustrated and dejected, Adalbert journeyed to Rome and asked Pope John XV for permission to retire from his diocese in 989. He joined a Roman monastery and purposely took on its most undesirable tasks of work and maintenance. Five years after Adalbertâ€™s departure, the Archbishop of Mentz â€“ who had consecrated him as a bishop â€“ asked the Pope to send him back to the diocese of Prague. Pope John did so, but made it clear that Adalbert was free to leave if the residents of his diocese continued to resist him. When their former bishop returned, the residents of Prague welcomed him warmly and promised to change their ways. Sadly, however, this promise proved false, and Adalbert came to fear that he might be driven to despair by the rebellious locals. In keeping with the Popeâ€™s provision, he left and became a missionary to the Hungarians. In the course of his Hungarian missions, Adalbert taught â€“ among many others â€“ King Stephen I, who would later be canonized as St. Stephen of Hungary. Afterward, he returned to the Roman monastery of St. Boniface, where he served in the office of prior. But Adalbertâ€™s consecrator remained insistent that he should return to Prague yet again. Pope Gregory V finally ordered Adalbert to resume his duties as the Bishop of Prague. This time, however, the citizens defied him openly. A Bohemian prince named Boleslaus went so far as to kill several of Adalbert's relatives and burn their homes, to make it clear how unwelcome his presence would be. Nonetheless, Adalbert attempted to obey the Popeâ€™s charge, and sent a message asking whether the other residents of Prague might allow him to return. The response he received indicated he should not come back, and would be in danger if he chose to do so. Rejected by his own people, Adalbert decided to begin a mission to the pagan tribes in Poland and northeastern Germany. He successfully converted many of them, but eventually encountered the same hostility that had driven him from his diocese. This was partly because he denounced the native practices of tree-worship and human sacrifice, but also because he was suspected of being a Polish spy. A pagan priest eventually captured Adalbert and his two companions, binding them and taking them hostage while they slept. Adalbert prayed aloud, offering his own life to God and begging forgiveness for his attackers. â€œYou had it always in your mouth that it was your desire to die for Christ,â€� he heard the pagan priest say, as he stabbed Adalbert in the chest with a lance. Six others proceeded to stab him, and he died of his wounds on April 23, 997. A Polish prince ransomed back St. Adalbert's body from the pagans, exchanging his remains for their weight in gold. His relics were transferred to the Polish city of Gniezno, and kept in the church known as Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Adalbert.
First Reading - Acts 3:1-10
4/23/2014 12:00:00 AM
1 Now Peter and John went up into the temple at the ninth hour of prayer.2 And a certain man who was lame from his mother' s womb, was carried: whom they laid every day at the gate of the temple, which is called Beautiful, that he might ask alms of them that went into the temple.3 He, when he had seen Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked to receive an alms.4 But Peter with John fastening his eyes upon him, said: Look upon us.5 But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them.6 But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.7 And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him up, and forthwith his feet and soles received strength.8 And he leaping up, stood, and walked, and went in with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God.10 And they knew him, that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him.
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