NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)
Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Eucharist – Mystery to Be Revered
13. The Eucharist is the supernatural food that keeps us going along the difficult journey towards the Promised Land of eternal salvation: “Whoever eats my flesh has eternal life”. To see the truth of these words, we must turn to the context for which they were spoken.
I. The Mass as the new Exodus from Slavery of Sin
14. The Eucharist comes to us through the Mass. Our normal experience of the Eucharist is at Mass, the central ritual – or liturgical – celebration which takes place every day and is a weekly obligation for the faithful. What we often call the Sacrifice of the Mass is the place where the Church has always believed we eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ. The Mass must be understood within the context of the Last Supper where “Jesus took bread […] and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body’ […] Then he took a cup, […] he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant’” (Mt 26:26-28).
15. At the Last Supper, which the Church commemorates today, Jesus took part in and forever transformed the Jewish Passover ritual meal. It is here we see the context in which Jesus desires His Body and Blood to be consumed as food. This is the context where we discover the beauty of the grand mystery of the Eucharist as the fulfillment of both the Jewish Passover and the Covenant of Israel.
To be continued…
Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
ST. RITA OF CASSIA
Stay with me. Do not be AFRAID; whoever seeks your life must seek my life also. You are under my protection.”
David said this to Abiathar: the sole survivor of Eli’s household which Saul killed for giving aid to David. David now has in his service the only priest of the Lord left in the land and exclusive access to the ephod for consulting the Lord. David later appoints Abiathar co-high priest with Zadok in Jerusalem.
Yet, when I read this verse, I hear the Lord saying this to us all-Stay with me-do not be afraid. Today go to the Blessed Sacrament and spend some time with the Lord. There our Lord will pull us to Himself and transform us into warriors and conquerors. Draw near to Him and He will transform your disenchantment with the world and help you along the road to holiness and sainthood.
Our lives are songs; God writes the words and we set them to music at pleasure; and the song grows glad, or sweet or sad, as we choose to fashion the measure.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
St. Rita of Cassia
Rita's childhood was one of happiness to her parents. To satisfy her desire of a life of union with God by prayer, her parents fitted up a little room in their home as an oratory, where she spent all her spare moments. At the age of twelve, however, she desired to consecrate herself to God in the religious state. Pious though her parents were, their tearful pleadings to postpone her noble purpose prevailed on Rita, and they gave her in marriage, at the age of eighteen, to an impulsive, irascible young man, who was well fitted to try the patience and virtue of the holy girl.
Two sons were born to them, each inheriting their father's quarrelsome temperament. Rita continued her accustomed devotions, and her sanctity and prayers finally won her husband's heart so that he willingly consented that she continue her acts of devotion. Eighteen years had elapsed since her marriage, when her husband was murdered by an old enemy; both of her sons died shortly after. Rita's former desire to consecrate herself to God again took possession of her.
Three times she sought admittance among the Augustinian Nuns in Cascia, but her request was refused each time, and she returned to her home in Rocca Porrena. God Himself, however, supported her cause. One night as Rita was praying earnestly in her humble home, she heard herself called by name, while someone knocked at the door. In a miraculous way she was conducted to the monastic enclosure, no entrance having been opened. Astonished at the miracle, the Nuns received Rita, and soon enrolled her among their number.
St. Rita's hidden, simple life in religion was distinguished by obedience and charity; she performed many extreme penances. After hearing a sermon on the Passion of Christ she returned to her cell; kneeling before her crucifix, she implored: "Let me, my Jesus share in Thy suffering, at least of one of Thy thorns". Her prayer was answered. Suddenly one of the thorns detached and fastened itself in her forehead so deeply that she could not remove it. The wound became worse, and gangrene set in. Because of the foul odor emanating from the wound, she was denied the companionship of the other Sisters, and this for fifteen years. Miraculous power was soon recognized in Rita. When Pope Nicholas IV proclaimed a jubilee at Rome, Rita desired to attend. Permission was granted on condition that her wound would be healed. This came about only for the duration of the trip. Upon her return to the monastery the wound from the thorn reappeared, and remained until her death. As St. Rita was dying, she requested a relative to bring her a rose from her old home at Rocca Porrena. Although it was not the season for roses, the relative went and found a rose in full bloom. For this reason, roses are blessed in the Saint's honor.
After St. Rita's death, in 1457, her face became beautifully radiant, while the odor from her wound was as fragrant as that of the roses she loved so much. The sweet odor spread through the convent and into the church, where it has continued ever since. Her body has remained incorrupt to this day; the face is beautiful and well preserved. When St. Rita died the lowly cell was aglow with heavenly light, while the great bell of the monastery rang of itself. A relative with a paralyzed arm, upon touching the sacred remains, was cured. A carpenter, who had known the Saint, offered to make the coffin. Immediately he recovered the use of his long-stiffened hands.
As one of the solemn acts of his jubilee, Pope Leo XIII canonized St. Rita on the Feast of the Ascension, May 24, 1900.
Patron: Abuse victims; against loneliness; against sterility; bodily ills; DESPERATE CAUSES; difficult marriages; forgotten causes; IMPOSSIBLE CAUSES; infertility; lost causes; parenthood; sick people; sickness; sterility; victims of physical spouse abuse; widows; wounds.
Things to Do:
- From the Catholic Culture library: St. Rita of Cascia and A Life of Heroic Humility and Obedience.
- Visit the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cassia and read this life of St. Rita
- Watch this videos of St. Rita's life here and here
- Visit the Shrine of Santa Rita in the Desert in Vail, Arizona
International Day for Biological Diversity
The International Day for Biological Diversity aims to raise awareness and understanding of biological diversity and issues surrounding it. The day also serves to highlight possible strategies to protect biodiversity, which refers to the variety of life on the planet. Today, habitats are degrading and leading to a reduction in biodiversity, a problem that directly affects human well-being, poverty reduction and global sustainable development. The International Day for Biological Diversity was proclaimed in December of 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is celebrated annually on May 22, a day that commemorates the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992.
International Day for Biological Diversity Facts & Quotes
· According to the UN, more than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods and 1.6 billion people rely on forests and non-timber forest products for their livelihoods.
· Habitat degradation and the loss of biodiversity are currently threatening the livelihood of over 1 billion people who live in dry and subhumid climates.
· Over 50% of the world’s plant species and 42% of all terrestrial vertebrate species are native to a specific country and do not naturally exist elsewhere.
· We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity. – E. O. Wilson, American biologist, researcher, theorist and author.
Day for Biological Diversity Top Events and Things to Do
· Watch a movie or documentary on the importance and irreplaceability of the world’s biodiversity. Some suggestions are: The Cove, Oceans, Plastic Planet and the 11th hour.
· Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtags #InternationalDayForBiologicalDiversity, #IDBD and #BiologicalDiversity.
· Join the international Day for Biological Diversity Google Hangout where you can video stream yourself and with other people to discuss biological diversity with like-minded individuals.
· Organize or participate in a local cleanup effort. Biodiversity is very negatively impacted by human trash and pollution.
· Donate to the center for biological diversity. All funds are put towards securing a future for all species hovering on the brink of extinction with a focus on protecting lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. Consider funds like WWF, the Animal Project and Defenders of Wildlife.
· Visit Biosphere 2 is an American Earth system science research facility located in Oracle, Arizona.
Why should Catholics care?
The Church’s social teaching calls on Catholics to uphold the life and dignity of every human person, to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters worldwide, and to care for God’s creation. Since the extraction of oil, gas, minerals, and timber affects the poor most acutely, the Church has been addressing issues related to extractive industries around the world. Catholic agencies and affected people have been engaged in advocacy with their own governments, international financial institutions, and extractives companies, urging them to become more transparent, to reduce the negative impacts of resource extraction on people and the environment, and to increase benefits for the poor most especially.
In the U.S. bishops’ first statement on environmental matters, renewing the Earth (1991), they draw attention to the ethical dimensions of the ecological crisis, exploring the link between ecology and poverty and the implications for human life and dignity. Bishops of every part of the world have expressed concern regarding extractive industries. Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI, expanding on the issue of the environment in Caritas in Veritate, stated: Let us hope that the international community and individual governments will succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment. It is likewise incumbent upon the competent authorities to make every effort to ensure that the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations: the protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate obliges all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet (No. 50).