Friday, 31 July 2015

Catholic Culture of Month of August dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary

With Mary Immaculate, let us adore, thank, implore and console the Most Beloved and Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
                                                 Catholic Culture of Month of August.
August, 2015 - Overview for the Month
The month of August is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.
The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of August 2015
General: That volunteers may give themselves generously to the service of the needy.
Missionary: That setting aside our very selves we may learn to be neighbors to those who find themselves on the margins of human life and society. (See also Apostleshiop of Prayer International Website)
Feasts for August
The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of August are:
1. Alphonsus LiguoriMemorial
2. Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
4. John VianneyMemorial
5. Dedication of St. Mary MajorOpt. Mem.
6. TransfigurationFeast
7. Sixtus II and companions; CajetanOpt. Mem.
8. DominicMemorial
9. Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
10. LawrenceFeast
11. ClareMemorial
13. Pontian and HippolytusOpt. Mem.
14. Maximilian KolbeMemorial
15. AssumptionSolemnity
16. Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
19. John Eudes; St. Bernard TolomeiOpt. Mem.
20. BernardMemorial
21. Pius XSunday
22. Queenship of MaryMemorial
23. Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
24. BartholomewFeast
25. Louis of France; Joseph CalasanzOpt. Mem.
27. MonicaMemorial
28. AugustineMemorial
29. Passion of Saint John the Baptist Memorial
30. Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
Focus of the Liturgy
The Gospel readings for the Sundays in August 2015 are taken from St. John and St. Mark and are from Year B, Cycle 1.
August 2nd - 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Jesus tells the crowd that He is the Bread of Life.
August 9th - 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time 
In this Gospel Jesus says that the bread He will give is His " flesh for the life of the world."
August 16th - 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time
In today's Gospel Jesus states that His Flesh is food and His Blood is drink.
August 23rd - 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
In this Gospel Peter professes his faith that Christ is the Son of the living God."
August 30th - 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites and says "You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition".
Highlights of the Month
August is often considered the transitional month in our seasonal calendar. It is the time of the year we begin to wind-down from our summer travels and vacations and prepare for Autumn — back to school, fall festivals, harvest time, etc. The Church in her holy wisdom has provided a cycle of events in its liturgical year which allow the faithful to celebrate the major feasts in the life of Christ and Mary. Most notably, during August, we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) and the feast of the Assumption (August 15).
The other main feasts of this month are St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1), St. John Mary Vianney (August 4), Dedication of St. Mary Major (August 5), Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6), St. Sixtus II and Companions and St. Cajetan (August 7), St. Dominic (August 8), St. Lawrence (August 10), St. Clare (August 11)Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus (August 13), St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14), St. John Eudes (August 19)St. Bernard(August 20), St. Pius X (August 21), the Queenship of Mary (August 22), St. Bartholomew (August 24), St. Louis of France (August 25), St. Monica (August 27), St. Augustine (August 28) and the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (August 29).
The feasts of St. Teresa Benedicta (August 9), St. Stephen of Hungary (August 16) and St. Rose of Lima (August 23) fall on a Sunday so they are superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.
A Time to Persevere
The days of summer have provided a welcome change of pace. However, while vacations afford us the time to relax and refresh, the change of habits and routines can also have a negative impact on our spiritual lives. As if to re-ignite us, the Church offers us in the plethora of August feasts vivid examples of the virtue of perseverance: six martyrs — two who are named in Canon I of the Mass and two who were martyred during World War II; seven founders of religious congregations, as well as three popes and two kings; the apostle, St. Bartholomew; the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine and St. Monica, his mother; the humble patron saint of parish priests, St. John Vianney, and the patron of deacons, St. Lawrence, who joked with his executioners while being roasted alive.
It is never too late to begin — as the life of the reformed sinner, St. Augustine teaches us — nor too difficult to begin again, as demonstrated by the conversion of the martyr, St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein). We present-day members of the Mystical Body are certain of the reward to which we are called, for Christ’s Transfigured body (August 6) is a preview of that glory. Moreover, in the Assumption of his Mother (August 15), Our Lord has demonstrated his fidelity to his promise. Her privilege is "the highest fruit of the Redemption" and "our consoling assurance of the coming of our final hope — the glorification which is Christ’s" (Enchiridion on Indulgences).
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the most perfect example of Christian perseverance, but she is also our advocate in heaven where she is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth (August 22). Mary is the "Mother of Perpetual Help", the patroness of the Congregation founded by St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1). "No one who has fled to her protection is left unaided" is the claim of the Memorare of St. Bernard (August 20). Heretics have returned to the faith by the prayers of her Rosary, first preached by St. Dominic (August 8) in the twelfth Century, and hearts have been converted by the graces received while wearing her Miraculous Medal, promoted by St. Maximillian Kolbe (August 14) and adopted as the "badge" for the Pious Union he founded. Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!
My heart hath rejoiced in God my Savior, because He that is mighty hath done great things for me.
On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption. He solemnly proclaimed that the belief whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the end of her life on earth, was taken up body and soul, into the glory of heaven, definitively forms part of the deposit of faith, received from the apostles.
Recipe of the Month
Barbecue Pilaf
The Eastern Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration with ceremonies and processions to the Church where sheaves of wheat, baskets of fruit, and clusters of flowers decorate the altar. When the religious celebration is over, a fair is held, and a pilaf made of cracked wheat is the feature of the feasting. This recipe tastes especially good when eaten out-of doors with barbecued chicken.
Celebrate the feast day of the Assumption with a procession and the Blessing of Herbs and Flowers. Here are numerous ideas for this feast day, including an outdoor procession and tea.

Armenia and India are believed to have been the areas of his missionary work. He is said to have been flayed alive and crucified.
A native of North Africa, converted by St. Ambrose and educated at Carthage, the Bishop of Hippo was the writer of his "Confessions" and the "City of God." This symbol refers to his intense zeal and devotion to Christ.
The foundress of the Order of the Poor Clares, whose emblem refers to her dispersion of Saracen invaders by facing them, bearing the Blessed Sacrament, in defense of the convent.
The archdeacon of Rome who, when ordered to deliver the treasures of the Church to pagan authorities, produced the poor and sick of the Christian community as the richest treasures of the Church. He was condemned and burned to death over a gridiron, retaining his cheerful attitude to the end.

With Mary Immaculate, let us adore, thank, implore and console the Most Beloved and Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

From cover: Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (c. 1659-1660), Rembrandt

   Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, Rembrandt
Thursday 30th July, 2015.
Gospel. Matthew 13:47-53. The dragnet, "This is how ... the ANGELS WILL APPEAR...".
Angelic Doctor - St Thomas' Summa Theologica 1A,  XIX The Role of Angels

A Strange Adventure

_______ Pierre-Mane Dumont         _
Front Cover Artwork

Faithful friends of MAGNIFICAT are invited to read the story of Jacobs struggle with the angel (Gn 32:23-31) as an allegory of their prayer life. Is it not similar to a battle of faith, crowned by the victory of perseverance? Yes, at times in our prayer we are like Jacob in his quest for God in the depths of the dark night, in his fight to know God's true name and to contemplate his true face, in Jacobs vigour and resolve to ask for God's blessing and a new name for rebirth ...

Outside the realm of the spiritual life, this combat proves difficult to interpret. "A strange adventure," writes Elie Wiesel, "mysterious from beginning to end, breathtakingly beautiful, intense to the point of making one doubt one's senses. Who has not been fascinated by it?" Modems see it as a universal symbol of the internal struggle "against all that hinders the creative fulfilment of a being: darkness, chaos, and the forces of evil." And, indeed, is not the victory over self the most necessary victory of all? Deeply Catholic, Baudelaire saw in this battle "a fight between natural and supernatural man, each ac­cording to his nature." Lamartine, inspired by the struggle between the muse and her chosen one, gives a glimpse into the great mystery:

Finally, from the dark hours! When evening battles with shadows,! At times vanquished, at times victorious,! Against this unknown rival! he fought till dawn ... .! And it was the spirit of the Lord!

Here Rembrandt chooses not to represent a particular episode in the combat, but to focus directly on the eschatological issue at stake: it is at the outcome of a decisive trial, a baptism, that one receives the grace of God. Through the strength and persistence of his faith, Jacob emerges victorious and blessed in this struggle. But contemplation of this masterpiece, particularly the placid beauty of the angel, unveils an even greater mystery: in his purple tunic, Jacob appears as the figure of the One who, conceived and begotten in the bosom of God as his eternal Wisdom, wholly deigned to be born and ever remain the son of man. Yet here, at the break of dawn, this true God, rendered handicapped-and what a handicap for a God to be mortal!-prevails over the almighty God, wresting from him, in a hand-to-hand Eucharistic battle, the perpetual blessing that revokes the original curse weighing upon humanity .

From cover:
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (c. 1659-1660), Rembrandt.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Macarius of Egypt - Spiritual Homilies is often termed 'mystical', this 'Pneumatic' thrust

The Macarian Homilies have thus influenced Pietist groups ranging from the Spiritual Franciscans (West) to Eastern Orthodox monastic practice to John Wesley to modern charismatic Christianity.

Night Office. Patristic Lectionary, 

15th Week Ord. Time
First Reading
2 Samuel 4:2 - 5:7
Responsory Ps 89:20-21.24
I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him. + My hand will be ready to help him, my arm to give him strength.
V. My faithfulness and love shall be with him. + My hand ...

Second Reading
From a homily attributed to Saint Macarius of Egypt

Mature Christians who are deemed worthy to attain perfection, and to come close to the King, are always consecrated to the cross of Christ. As in prophetic times anointing was regarded as a most honourable rite, since kings and prophets were anointed, so now spiritual people are anointed with a heavenly unction and become Christians by grace so that they too may be kings, and prophets of heavenly mysteries. They are sons and lords and gods, bound, held captive, overwhelmed, crucified and consecrated.

Anointing with oil from a visible plant, a tree that could be seen, had such virtue that those anointed received an undisputed dig­nity, for this was the recognized way of appointing kings. David, for example, after his anointing, was immediately exposed to persecutions and afflictions, and then after seven years he became king. How much more, then, do those who are anointed in mind and heart with the sanctifying and cheering oil of gladness, the heavenly and spiritual unction, receive the seal of that kingdom of incorruptible and eternal power, namely the pledge of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit? And this Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete because of the encouragement and grace he gives to those who suffer.

Anointed with ointment from the tree of life, Jesus Christ, the heavenly plant, these people are counted worthy to attain perfection, to become kings and adopted children of God, sharing in the secrets of the heavenly King and enjoying free access to the Al­mighty. Even while still in this world they enter his palace, the dwelling-place of the angels and the spirits of the saints. For although they are not yet in possession of that perfect inheritance prepared for them in the age to come, they are as fully assured of it through the pledge they have received here on earth as though they were already crowned, already reigning.

Christians find nothing strange in the fact that they are destined to reign in the world to come, since they have known the mysteries of grace beforehand. When man transgressed the commandment, the devil shrouded the soul with a covering of darkness. But with the coming of grace the veil is entirely stripped away, so that with clear eyes the soul, now cleansed and restored to its true nature, which was created pure and blameless, ever clearly beholds the glory of the true light, the true Sun of Righteousness, brilliantly shining in its inmost being.

Responsory   JI 2:28-29
I shall pour out my spirit upon all humankind. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy; + your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions.
V. Even upon slaves, men and women, in those days, I shall pour out my spirit. + Your old men ...

1995 Augustine Press, Year I, A WORD IN SEASON, 
Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours

 Sent: Tuesday, 14 July 2015, 13:20
Subject: Macarius
Copy from Wiki
Sent from my iPad.  
St. Macarius the Great standing next to a Cherub.
Fifty Spiritual Homilies were ascribed to Macarius a few generations after his death, and these texts had a widespread and considerable influence on Eastern monasticism and Protestant pietism. [5] This was particularly in the context of the debate concerning the 'extraordinary giftings' of the Holy Spirit in the post-apostolic age, since the Macarian Homilies could serve as evidence in favour of a post-apostolic attestation of 'miraculous' Pneumatic giftings to include healings, visions, exorcisms, etc. The Macarian Homilies have thus influenced Pietist groups ranging from the Spiritual Franciscans (West) to Eastern Orthodox monastic practice to John Wesley to modern charismatic Christianity.
However, modern patristic scholars have established that it is not likely that Macarius the Egyptian was their author.[6] Exactly who the author of these fifty Spiritual Homilies was has not been definitively established, although it is evident from statements in them that the author was from Upper Mesopotamia, where the Roman Empire bordered the Persian Empire, and that they were not written later than 534.[7]
In addition to the homilies, a number of letters have been ascribed to Macarius. Gennadius(De viris illustribus 10) recognizes only one genuine letter of Macarius, which is addressed to younger monks. The first letter, called "Ad filios Dei," may indeed be the genuine letter by Macarius the Egyptian that is mentioned by Gennadius (Vir. Ill.10), but the other letters are probably not by Macarius. The second letter, the so-called "Great Letter" used the De instituto christiana of Gregory of Nyssa, which was written c. 390; the style and content of the "Great Letter" suggest that its author is the same anonymous Mesopotamian who wrote the fifty Spiritual Homilies.[8]
The seven so-called Opuscula ascetica edited under his name by Petrus Possinus (Paris, 1683) are merely later compilations from the homilies, made by Simeon the Logothete, who is probably identical with Simeon Metaphrastes (d. 950). The teachings of Macarius are characterized by a strong Pneumatic emphasis that closely intertwines the salvific work of Jesus Christ (as the 'Spirit of Christ') with the supernatural workings of the Holy Spirit. This 'Pneumatic' thrust in the Spiritual Homilies is often termed 'mystical' and as such is a spiritual mode of thought which has endeared him to Christian mystics of all ages, although, on the other hand, in his anthropology and soteriology he frequently approximates the standpoint of St. Augustine. Certain passages of his homilies assert the entire depravity of man, while others postulate free will, even after the fall of Adam, and presuppose a tendency toward virtue, or, in semi-Pelagian fashion, ascribe to man the power to attain a degree of readiness to receive salvation.