Sunday within Octave of the Ascension (7th S aft Easter)
MOTHERS DAY-FATIMA ANNIVERSARY
Matthew, Chapter 10, verse 26
26 “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.
Christ’s message here is to have courage under persecution. Yes, if they killed Christ what will they do to us. Look at what is going on in the Middle East, there is no doubt it will be here but Christ reassures us to do not be afraid. In Acts 8:1-8 we see that there was a severe persecution of the followers of Christ in Jerusalem promulgated by Saul; who by the grace of God was converted and became the apostle to the gentiles Paul. We must not give up hope and we must pray for our persecutors; perhaps Christ will send us another Paul.
Therefore do not be afraid, for everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, and Christ has told us the He will raise us on the last day. (John 6:40)
Pope Francis asks us to pray that our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord. Though physically distant from us, they are spiritually close. Suffering because they are Christians, they have a special place in the Heart of Jesus, and, if we are united to that Heart, they will have a special place in our hearts as well.
Pope Francis believes persecution should bring Christians of all denominations together. “The blood of Jesus,” he said, “poured out by many Christian martyrs in various parts of the world, calls us and compels us towards the goal of unity. For persecutors, we are not divided. We are one in their eyes! For persecutors we are Christians! This is the ecumenism of blood that we experience today.”
May our prayerful solidarity with persecuted Christians help them know they are not alone nor abandoned. May it help to bring us together as the One Body of Christ.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.
The Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension
This Sunday is a joyous preparation for Pentecost. Because this Sunday eagerly awaits the coming of the Holy Spirit (see the Mass propers), it is not surprising that there was once a special papal ceremony to foreshadow the Pentecost event. On this day the Pope would celebrate Mass in the church of Santa Maria Rotonda, the former Pantheon in Rome with its large opening in the ceiling. After his sermon, roses were thrown from the opening as a symbol of the Paraclete's imminent arrival. From this custom comes the original name of the Sunday: Dominica de Rosa.
Sunday within the Octave of Ascension
"When. . .the Spirit of truth. . .has come, He will bear witness concerning Me. And you also bear witness. . .The hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering worship to God" (Gospel).
The Apostles make the first Novena, recommended by Christ Himself, in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Introit presents their Novena prayer, and ours, too.
In the background St. Stephen is shown being stoned to death. The cross upside down, indicates how St. Peter was crucified. We are to "bear witness" to Christ and His Church against a world that will condemn us to death. thinking that they are "offering worship to God" (Gospel).
A witness! Yes, interiorly, to "be watchful in prayers;" exteriorly, by "mutual charity among yourselves" (Epistle). For this we now offer "this. . .sacrifice" (Secret), to "purify us' from past disloyalties and to "strengthen" us for future testimony.
Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood
In honor of Mother’s Day, here are a few quotes from John Paul II’s apostolic letter On the Dignity of Women (Mulieris Dignitatem) about the unique vocation of motherhood.
John Paul II: “Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the mother’s womb. The mother is filled with wonder at this mystery of life, and ‘understands’ with unique intuition what is happening inside her. In the light of the ‘beginning’, the mother accepts and loves as a person the child she is carrying in her womb. This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings – not only towards her own child, but every human being – which profoundly marks the woman’s personality.”
“Motherhood implies from the beginning a special openness to the new person: and this is precisely the woman’s ‘part’. In this openness, in conceiving and giving birth to a child, the woman ‘discovers herself through a sincere gift of self’.”
“Human parenthood is something shared by both the man and the woman. Even if the woman, out of love for her husband, says: ‘I have given you a child’, her words also mean: ‘This is our child’. Although both of them together are parents of their child, the woman’s motherhood constitutes a special ‘part’ in this shared parenthood, and the most demanding part. Parenthood – even though it belongs to both – is realized much more fully in the woman, especially in the prenatal period. It is the woman who ‘pays’ directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul. It is therefore necessary that the man be fully aware that in their shared program of parenthood he owes a special debt to the woman.”
John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (1988), no. 18
Mother's Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Take mom out to brunch or dinner. Be sure to book in advance as Mother's Day brunches are always very busy.
· Clean the house for your mother or grandmother.
· Send mom and grandma flowers. You can either pick them up or deliver them yourself if you are nearby or use one of many online services that ship directly to her door.
· Give mom a gift she will really appreciate - a day at the spa or a weekend off.
· A simple phone call to mom will suffice. Let her know that you love her and think about her.
May 13 is the anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady to three shepherd children in the small village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. She appeared six times to Lucia, 9, and her cousins Francisco, 8, and his sister Jacinta, 6, between May 13, 1917 and October 13, 1917. The story of Fatima begins in 1916, when, against the backdrop of the First World War which had introduced Europe to the most horrific and powerful forms of warfare yet seen, and a year before the Communist revolution would plunge Russia and later Eastern Europe into six decades of oppression under militant atheistic governments, a resplendent figure appeared to the three children who were in the field tending the family sheep. “I am the Angel of Peace,” said the figure, who appeared to them two more times that year exhorting them to accept the sufferings that the Lord allowed them to undergo as an act of reparation for the sins which offend Him, and to pray constantly for the conversion of sinners. Then, on the 13th day of the month of Our Lady, May 1917, an apparition of ‘a woman all in white, more brilliant than the sun’ presented itself to the three children saying “Please don’t be afraid of me, I’m not going to harm you.” Lucia asked her where she came from and she responded, “I come from Heaven.” The woman wore a white mantle edged with gold and held a rosary in her hand. The woman asked them to pray and devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to “say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.” She also revealed that the children would suffer, especially from the unbelief of their friends and families, and that the two younger children, Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven very soon but Lucia would live longer in order to spread her message and devotion to the Immaculate Heart. In the last apparition the woman revealed her name in response to Lucia’s question: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.” That same day, 70,000 people had turned out to witness the apparition, following a promise by the woman that she would show the people that the apparitions were true. They saw the sun make three circles and move around the sky in an incredible zigzag movement in a manner which left no doubt in their minds about the veracity of the apparitions. By 1930 the Bishop had approved of the apparitions and they have been approved by the Church as authentic. The messages Our Lady imparted during the apparitions to the children concerned the violent trials that would afflict the world by means of war, starvation, and the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father in the twentieth century if the world did not make reparation for sins. She exhorted the Church to pray and offer sacrifices to God in order that peace may come upon the world, and that the trials may be averted. Our Lady of Fatima revealed three prophetic “secrets,” the first two of which were revealed earlier and refer to the vision of hell and the souls languishing there, the request for an ardent devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the prediction of the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism. The third “secret” was not revealed until the year 2000, and referred to the persecutions that humanity would undergo in the last century: “The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated'”. The suffering of the popes of the 20th century has been interpreted to include the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, which took place on May 13, the 64th anniversary of the apparitions. The Holy Father attributed his escape from certain death to the intervention of Our Lady: “... it was a mother's hand that guided the bullet's path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death.” What is the central meaning of the message of Fatima? Nothing different from what the Church has always taught: it is, as Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict the XVI, has put it, “the exhortation to prayer as the path of “salvation for souls” and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.” Perhaps the most well-known utterance of the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima was her confident declaration that “My Immaculate Heart will triumph”. Cardinal Ratzinger has interpreted this utterance as follows: “The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.
(7th Sunday of Easter)
Thou, of all consolers best, visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.
The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.
Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
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