It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows.
It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness.
An abyss of mercy for the wretched.
An abyss of love to meet our every need.
Damien F. Mackey
Satan, permitted by God to test holy Job to the limit, and almost beyond it, for a greater good, has been allowed by the Almighty again, in the case of the Church, that same terrifying liberty.
Job was a much older contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, with whom he shares many noble characteristics.
The Book of Jeremiah (and Lamentations) is regarded by scholars as being the scriptural book most close in style to the Book of Job. For example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Jeremiah “Jeremiah’s “confessions” are a type of individual lament. Such laments are found elsewhere in the psalms and the Book of Job. Like Job, Jeremiah curses the day of his birth (Jer. 20:14–18 and Job 3:3–10)”.
And, https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-major-prophets/lamentations “Like the book of Job, Lamentations pictures a man of God puzzling over the results of evil and suffering in the world. However, while Job dealt with unexplained evil, Jeremiah lamented a tragedy entirely of Jerusalem’s making”.
Jeremiah, in his many sufferings, deprivations and life-threatening circumstances – and perhaps Job as well – seems to have unwittingly pantomimed, in his own person, the variety of horrors that the kingdom of Judah was shortly destined to experience.
In the case of Job, the archetypal man of affliction, he would foreshadow a modern drama of such cosmic proportions that the ancient holy man himself could not have anticipated it. On the eve of the C20th AD, Satan, once chained so that “he could not fool the nations anymore” (Revelation 20:1-3), but now “free for a while”, was right back in the mix again as in Job 1:6-7: “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it’.”
We are now in the year 1884, and Pope Leo XIII is the head of the Catholic Church. And this time it is the Church, the ‘Bride of Christ’ (Ephesians 5:25–27), and not the righteous Job, that the Lord will hold up as a model of holy excellence before Satan.
The Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII
Since an article of this same title covers most of what I want to say about this dramatic incident, I shall reproduce the main part of it below. Before that, however, I should like briefly to mention a recent and well-researched book on the subject, written by Kevin J. Symonds, as a useful supplement to this article. The book is entitled, Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael (2015), and is here reviewed by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Professor, Wyoming Catholic College
This book is not another pious exhortation to recite the Leonine prayers, although the author certainly agrees that they ought to be prayed, as do I. Rather, it is a detailed look at the history of the composition of the well-known Prayer to St. Michael and the exorcism connected with it, and especially the legends that surround these texts. Depending on the period or the author, these legends have been either too uncritically accepted (and embellished), or too hastily dismissed as sensational fabrications. With the care of an historian and the determination of a detective, Symonds shows that the reality is quite a bit more complex. It’s an intriguing book that brings the reader close to Leo XIII and his age, while equipping us better for “wrestling against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Eph 6:12). The appendices offer an array of unusual and valuable texts. All in all, a definitive work on the Prayer to St. Michael.
Now, according to “The Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII”, which has not missed out on the Job-ian parallel, as we shall read further on
The St. Michael Prayer, which was said after Low Mass until the liturgical changes in 1965, was instituted by Pope Leo XIII after he received a prophetic vision. The most widely known element of this vision is that the Holy Father overheard a debate between Our Lord and Satan, during which the Devil was granted more power and authority for a period of 75 to 100 years. According to the most widespread accounts, the events behind the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII run as following:
On October 13, 1884, after Pope Leo XIII had finished celebrating Mass in the Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasting to Our Lord: “I can destroy your Church” The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?
Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.” Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
Current research suggests that the earliest version of this story to appear in print was in 1933, in a German Sunday newspaper. The way in which this prophecy first surfaced suggests that it originally circulated in oral form amongst the Vatican staff and hierarchy who were with the pope during this encounter. As such, it is impossible to trace back to an original documented source. After its initial publication in 1933, a German writer, Fr. Bers, attempted to find the origins of this prophecy for a 1934 article titled “Die Gebete nach der hl. Messe” (Theol-Prakt. Quartalschrift 87, 162-163). During his investigation, Fr. Bers failed to find any concrete source, leaving him to conclude that the prophecy was a later invention that was “spreading like a virus”. However, 13 years after Fr. Bers had initially failed to find the original source of this prophecy, an eyewitness to the events behind the institution of the St. Michael Prayer eventually came forward. Writing in 1947, Fr. Domenico Pechenino, a priest who worked at the Vatican during the time of Leo XIII, provides a first-hand account of these events:
I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.
“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”
(Fr. Domenico Pechenino, quoted in the 1955 Roman journal Ephemerides Liturgicae V. LXIX, pp 54–60)
Although he leaves out any mention of Pope Leo hearing a conversation between God and the Devil, and the prophecy of the 100 years of Satan’s greater power, the fact that it was written 14 years after the original version of this prophecy first appeared in print would suggest that Fr Pechenino presumes that readers are already aware of the contents of the prophecy, and is merely writing to confirm what he saw that day. Fr. Bers had noted in 1934 that this prophecy was already in wide circulation, and was “spreading like a virus”, so it was certainly well-known by the time Fr. Pechenino was providing his eyewitness testimony, and we can be sure that he was aware of it. It seems that the real reason Fr. Pechenino leaves out any mention of the 100 years element of this vision is due to the simple fact that he did not actually hear or see the vision himself, but was rather relating how he witnessed Pope Leo experiencing this event. Given that Fr. Pechenino is recalling these events solely as an observer, he could not have possibly known the content of the vision at this time, since by his own admission, the Holy Father did not reveal to him exactly what he saw or heard. He only knew that the Pope had composed the St. Michael Prayer immediately after this episode ….
Mackey’s comment: I insert the following here:
The fact that Fr. Pechenino’s account confirms the later 1933 version, can be used to establish that the prophecy of the 100 years of Satan’s greater power is in fact genuine. If we compare both texts above, we can see that Fr Pechenino’s testimony concurs almost exactly with the original version of the story behind the prophecy. The only difference is that Fr. Pechenino was not told exactly what Pope Leo experienced during this vision, which suggests that the Holy Father confided what he saw to someone else – the retinue who Fr. Pechenino saw following the pope afterwards and was questioning him. Being a member of his personal entourage, the retinue would have been a close confidant of the pope, and the details of the vision were probably given to him. This would make the retinue the most likely source of this prophecy, and how it was circulated in the Vatican.
But when should this 100 year period be calculated from? Most interpreters think that the hundred years referred to the 20th century, and some later versions of this prophecy explicitly state this view. While the original version doesn’t mention a specific starting point, there are only two real options – either the year the vision was first received, which according to the first account was 1884, or the turn of the century. It seems the latter position is the most likely, since in what he himself described as the “greatest act of my pontificate”, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 11th 1899, as requested by Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart (see here). Since this was obviously a date of utmost importance to the pontiff, and it commenced at a symbolically significant turning point (the end of the century), it would be logical to assume that the dawn of the 20th century was the beginning of the 100 years allotted to Satan.
…. In Matt 12:29, Christ tells us that in order for Him to plunder the worldly realm of Satan and open the eyes of unbelievers to the Gospel, He would first have to “bind the strong man”. Although evil still exists during this period, and Satan can still interfere with human affairs, his power would be limited in order to facilitate the growth of the Gospel. As the Catechism teaches, even though Satan was definitively defeated by Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, the reign of Christ’s kingdom on earth in the Church will always be subject to the attacks of evil powers until the creation of the new heaven and the new earth after the Last Judgement:
Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.” (CCC 671)
The Book of Revelation tells us that this “millennium” or age of the Church will come to a close towards the end of the world, when Satan would once again be set loose for “a little while” to deceive the inhabitants of the earth, and gather the nations together for war. During this age of apostasy, Satan would once again have the power to blind the minds of unbelievers from the light of the Gospel, and would be able to inhibit its growth. And given that this is exactly the situation we are faced with today in the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Great Apostasy, we can only be left to conclude that the “millennium”, or age of the Church has already came to end, and that the forces of Satan have already been unbound. The Apocalypse tells us that once the forces of hell have been unleashed at the end of the “thousand years”, they will gather the nations together for war, and surround the Heavenly Jerusalem, which represents the Church:
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city… (Rev 20:7-9)
As St. Augustine elaborates:
The words, And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city, do not mean that they have come, or shall come, to one place, as if the camp of the saints and the beloved city should be in some one place; for this camp is nothing else than the Church of Christ extending over the whole world. And consequently wherever the Church shall be—and it shall be in all nations, as is signified by the breadth of the earth,— there also shall be the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and there it shall be encompassed by the savage persecution of all its enemies…
(City of God, XX:11)
Mackey’s comment: At this point, the article introduces the Book of Job connection:
During this “little while” at the end of the “thousand years”, Satan would be granted a period of greater power, much like in the Book of Job. Indeed the prophetic vision of Pope Leo XIII directly bases itself on the story of Job in the Old Testament. Here, Satan is granted greater power over Job, God’s faithful servant, in order to test his level of faith. While Satan believes that he will be able to make Job turn his back on God by heaping atrocities upon him, the Heavenly Father is certain that Job will remain faithful in patient suffering. Job then has to endure a series of trials inflicted upon him at the hand of Satan, in order to prove his faithfulness to God. But in the vision of Leo XIII, the Church itself takes the place of Job.
During this new “trial of Job”, Satan uses the increase in lawlessness (in the horrors of war and genocide) in an attempt to destroy peoples’ faith in God, making the love of many grow cold. And in the light of the general apostasy which followed the horrors of the two World Wars and the genocides of the 20th century, it seems that this tactic has paid off spectacularly. Which isn’t at all surprising, given the fact that the exposition of the philosophical problem of evil is one of the primary weapons of modern atheism. Once the “thousand years” were over, the forces of evil really did surround the City of God, and the Church is still being besieged by the modern secular values espoused in the principles of Freemasonry.
So if the “millennium” or age of the Church really did end at the turn of the 20th century, as is suggested by the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, and indeed the actual unfolding of world events, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that the unbinding of Satan described in the Apocalypse is directly related to the two world wars. Turning back to the Book of Revelation, we find an earlier parallel reference to Satan being unbound from his prison in Rev 20, which is to be directly equated with the opening of the abyss in Rev 9. These two passages undoubtedly refer to the exact same event ….
Through Mary, “we learn to open our hearts to obey God; in her self-denial, we see the importance of tending to the needs of others; in her tears, we find the strength to console those experiencing pain,” Pope Francis said Saturday, during a special jubilee weekend dedicated to Mary.
ROME – During a special Jubilee weekend dedicated to Mary, Pope Francis said Mary was not only Christ’s mother, but also his obedient disciple and a model of concrete service to others.
In each of these moments, Mary “expresses the wealth of divine mercy that reaches out to all in their daily need.”
Pope Francis spoke to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to celebrate a special Oct. 7-9 Marian Jubilee, which is part of the Pope’s larger Jubilee of Mercy.
The Marian Jubilee opened Oct. 7 with Mass in the Roman Basilica of Saint Mary Major. The Mass was followed by the recitation of the rosary in Saint Peter’s Square and the Prayer to the Queen of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii.
Adoration and confessions were then available until midnight in the parishes of Santa Maria in Valicella, also called “Chiesa Nuova,” and San Salvatore in Lauro.
Jubilee activities continued Saturday morning with a pilgrimage to the Holy Doors of the four Major Basilicas in Rome: St. Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Wall, St. John Lateran and St. Peter’s.
Groups of various Marian delegations from national communities and shrines then participated in a special procession to St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis led pilgrims in praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary before delivering his address.
In his speech, the Pope noted how from the earliest centuries of the Church Mary has been invoked as the “Mother of Mercy,” explaining that the prayer of the rosary in many ways is a “synthesis of the history of God’s mercy, which becomes a history of salvation for all who let themselves be shaped by grace.”
By reflecting on the important moments in Jesus’ life, we see how his mercy is shown to everyone from all walks and stages of life, he said, adding that Mary always accompanies us on this journey, pointing us in the direction of her Son, “who radiates the very mercy of the Father.”
Mary guides us toward the path we are called to take “in order to be true disciples of Jesus,” he said, adding that in praying the rosary, we feel her closeness in each mystery and contemplate her role as “the first disciple of her Son, for she does the Father’s will.
Francis stressed that Mary can help teach us what it means to be a disciple of Christ, because while she was “eternally chosen to be his Mother,” she also learned how to be his disciple.
“Her first act was to listen to God,” he said, noting how she then obeyed the angel’s message and followed Jesus closely, “listening to every word that issued from his lips” and keeping them in her heart.
However, the Pope stressed, “it’s not enough simply to listen.” While this is the first step, it must be followed by concrete action.
“The disciple truly puts his life at the service of the Gospel,” he said, and, recalling Mary’s own actions, pointed to how after the Annunciation, Mary immediately went to her cousin Elizabeth to help her during her pregnancy.
Not only did she then give birth to the Son of God, but she also showed her concern for the young spouses in Cana by interceding for them. When Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, Mary “did not flee pain but stood beneath the cross of Jesus and, by his will, became the Mother of the Church.”
After Jesus rose from the dead, she then “encouraged the apostles assembled in the upper room as they awaited the Holy Spirit, who would make them fearless heralds of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said.
Francis closed his homily invoking Mary’s intercession, praying that she would be “a protection, help and blessing for us all the days of our life.”
“We fly to your protection, holy Mother of God. Scorn not our petitions in the hour of need. O glorious and blessed Virgin, deliver us always from every peril.
Celebrations for the Marian Jubilee will conclude Sunday with a special Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.
[Anglican Communion News Service] Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby have said that they are “undeterred” by the “serious obstacles” to full unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
In a Common Declaration, issued in Rome Oct. 5, the two say that the differences “cannot prevent us from recognizing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ by reason of our common baptism. Nor should they ever hold us back from discovering and rejoicing in the deep Christian faith and holiness we find within each other’s traditions.”
The Common Declaration was made at a service of Vespers in the Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill in Rome, from where, in 595AD, Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the Anglo-Saxon people. Augustine became the first archbishop of Canterbury in 597.
During the service, 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from across the world were commissioned by the pope and the archbishop before being “sent out” in mission together. Among the 19 pairings are Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee John Bauerschmidt and Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore Dennis Madden.
Pope Francis told them: “Fourteen centuries ago Pope Gregory sent the servant of God, Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, and his companions, from this holy place, to preach the joyful message of the Word of God. Today we send you, dear brothers, servants of God, with this same joyful message of his everlasting kingdom.”
And Welby said: “Our Savior commissioned his disciples saying, ‘Peace be with you’. We too, send you out with his peace, a peace only he can give. May his peace bring freedom to those who are captive and oppressed, and may his peace bind into greater unity the people he has chosen as his own.”
Fifty years ago our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey met in this city hallowed by the ministry and blood of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Robert Runcie, and later with Archbishop George Carey, and Pope Benedict XVI with Archbishop Rowan Williams, prayed together here in this Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill from where Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the Anglo-Saxon people. On pilgrimage to the tombs of these apostles and holy forebears, Catholics and Anglicans recognize that we are heirs of the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the call to share that treasure with the whole world. We have received the Good News of Jesus Christ through the holy lives of men and women who preached the Gospel in word and deed and we have been commissioned, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to be Christ’s witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8). We are united in the conviction that “the ends of the earth” today, is not only a geographical term, but a summons to take the saving message of the Gospel particularly to those on the margins and the peripheries of our societies.
In their historic meeting in 1966, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey established the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission to pursue a serious theological dialogue which, “founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions, may lead to that unity in truth, for which Christ prayed”. Fifty years later we give thanks for the achievements of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, which has examined historically divisive doctrines from a fresh perspective of mutual respect and charity. Today we give thanks in particular for the documents of ARCIC II which will be appraised by us, and we await the findings of ARCIC III as it navigates new contexts and new challenges to our unity.
Fifty years ago our predecessors recognized the “serious obstacles” that stood in the way of a restoration of complete faith and sacramental life between us. Nevertheless, they set out undeterred, not knowing what steps could be taken along the way, but in fidelity to the Lord’s prayer that his disciples be one. Much progress has been made concerning many areas that have kept us apart. Yet new circumstances have presented new disagreements among us, particularly regarding the ordination of women and more recent questions regarding human sexuality. Behind these differences lies a perennial question about how authority is exercised in the Christian community. These are today some of the concerns that constitute serious obstacles to our full unity. While, like our predecessors, we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred. In our trust and joy in the Holy Spirit we are confident that dialogue and engagement with one another will deepen our understanding and help us to discern the mind of Christ for his Church. We trust in God’s grace and providence, knowing that the Holy Spirit will open new doors and lead us into all truth (cf. John 16: 13).
These differences we have named cannot prevent us from recognizing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ by reason of our common baptism. Nor should they ever hold us back from discovering and rejoicing in the deep Christian faith and holiness we find within each other’s traditions. These differences must not lead to a lessening of our ecumenical endeavours. Christ’s prayer at the Last Supper that all might be one (cf. John 17: 20-23) is as imperative for his disciples today as it was at that moment of his impending passion, death and resurrection, and consequent birth of his Church. Nor should our differences come in the way of our common prayer: not only can we pray together, we must pray together, giving voice to our shared faith and joy in the Gospel of Christ, the ancient Creeds, and the power of God’s love, made present in the Holy Spirit, to overcome all sin and division. And so, with our predecessors, we urge our clergy and faithful not to neglect or undervalue that certain yet imperfect communion that we already share.
Wider and deeper than our differences are the faith that we share and our common joy in the Gospel. Christ prayed that his disciples may all be one, “so that the world might believe” (John 17: 21). The longing for unity that we express in this Common Declaration is closely tied to the desire we share that men and women come to believe that God sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to save the world from the evil that oppresses and diminishes the entire creation. Jesus gave his life in love, and rising from the dead overcame even death itself. Christians who have come to this faith, have encountered Jesus and the victory of his love in their own lives, and are impelled to share the joy of this Good News with others. Our ability to come together in praise and prayer to God and witness to the world rests on the confidence that we share a common faith and a substantial measure of agreement in faith.
The world must see us witnessing to this common faith in Jesus by acting together. We can, and must, work together to protect and preserve our common home: living, teaching and acting in ways that favour a speedy end to the environmental destruction that offends the Creator and degrades his creatures, and building individual and collective patterns of behaviour that foster a sustainable and integral development for the good of all. We can, and must, be united in a common cause to uphold and defend the dignity of all people. The human person is demeaned by personal and societal sin. In a culture of indifference, walls of estrangement isolate us from others, their struggles and their suffering, which also many of our brothers and sisters in Christ today endure. In a culture of waste, the lives of the most vulnerable in society are often marginalised and discarded. In a culture of hate we see unspeakable acts of violence, often justified by a distorted understanding of religious belief. Our Christian faith leads us to recognise the inestimable worth of every human life, and to honour it in acts of mercy by bringing education, healthcare, food, clean water and shelter and always seeking to resolve conflict and build peace. As disciples of Christ we hold human persons to be sacred, and as apostles of Christ we must be their advocates.
Fifty years ago Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey took as their inspiration the words of the apostle: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3: 13-14). Today, “those things which are behind” – the painful centuries of separation –have been partially healed by fifty years of friendship. We give thanks for the fifty years of the Anglican Centre in Rome dedicated to being a place of encounter and friendship. We have become partners and companions on our pilgrim journey, facing the same difficulties, and strengthening each other by learning to value the gifts which God has given to the other, and to receive them as our own in humility and gratitude.
We are impatient for progress that we might be fully united in proclaiming, in word and deed, the saving and healing gospel of Christ to all people. For this reason we take great encouragement from the meeting during these days of so many Catholic and Anglican bishops of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) who, on the basis of all that they have in common, which generations of ARCIC scholars have painstakingly unveiled, are eager to go forward in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth”. Today we rejoice to commission them and send them forth in pairs as the Lord sent out the seventy-two disciples. Let their ecumenical mission to those on the margins of society be a witness to all of us, and let the message go out from this holy place, as the Good News was sent out so many centuries ago, that Catholics and Anglicans will work together to give voice to our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring relief to the suffering, to bring peace where there is conflict, to bring dignity where it is denied and trampled upon.
In this Church of Saint Gregory the Great, we earnestly invoke the blessings of the Most Holy Trinity on the continuing work of ARCIC and IARCCUM, and on all those who pray for and contribute to the restoration of unity between us.
Rome, 5 October 2016
HIS GRACE JUSTIN WELBY HIS HOLINESS FRANCIS
Pope Francis is looking into elevating Reverend Jean Hamel, who was murdered in the name of Islamic State, to sainthood. The pontiff has authorized the French Church to start looking into the matter. Witness testimony will now be gathered.
The pope gave a press conference on his flight back from Azerbaijan to Rome, where he told reporters he has sped up the canonization process. The pontiff had spoken to Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, and authorized the skipping of the usual five-year wait that must normally pass after a potential saint’s death.
This means the next stage will now begin: the gathering of witness testimony to back Hamel’s beatification.
“It is very important not to lose the testimonies,” he told attendees. “With time, someone may die, another forgets something,” he was quoted by the Catholic Herald as saying.
Beatification in Roman Catholicism is the declaration by the Pope that a deceased person has attained a state of bliss. This is considered the first step to canonization, and leads to the possibility of public veneration.
The five-year rule ensures that a person continues to keep their good reputation among the faithful, earning them the right to be beatified. However, it can be waived by the Supreme Pontiff. A series of formal steps are included before beatification takes place.
The most important steps concern proving that the deceased had accomplished a miracle. A scientific commission must also rule that the miracle has no natural scientific explanation. A theological commission must then rule if the miracle is a miracle in the strict sense of the word, i.e. that it could only have come from God.
The proven miracle requirement can also be waived at the beatification step, if the person is ruled to have died a martyr in service of the faith, which will likely be the case with Rev. Hamel.
The next step to canonization, however, requires proof of a second miracle.
Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Reverend Hamel’s native Rouen had earlier on Sunday begun an investigation into Hamel’s beatification following consultations with the pope.
The archbishop spoke at a Mass marking the reopening of the church where Hamel was murdered.
Mayor Hubert Wulfrance said the priest’s memory “prevails over this so special moment, split between endless emotion and hope in the future.”
“We bear the tragedy of this July 26th, 2016, as an indelible scar on our common history, our national history,” he added.
The gathered crowd included a sizeable proportion of Muslims.
Taken from: https://www.rt.com/news/361444-pope-francis-isis-saint/
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is currently on an Apostolic journey to Georgia. He flew into the nation’s capital Tbilisi on Friday 30th of September and his third and last appointment of the day took place at the Chaldean Catholic Church of Simon ‘Bar Sabbae’, dedicated to a tenth century Coptic Saint. There he met with representatives of the Assyrian Chaldean community.
Damien F. Mackey
“Some theologians have suggested that one of the two disciples
on the way to Emmaus could have been a woman”.
The “Two” Disciples
Mr and Mrs Cleopas
There are those today who argue that one of the two disciples who encountered Jesus along the way from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus was probably a woman.
Some of these base their conclusion upon the parallels they believe to exist (and with good reason) between this Gospel story and the Genesis account of Adam and Eve in the Garden. This view is nicely encapsulated in a terrific article (https://liftingjesus.org/2015/03/03/the-road-to-emmaus-a-love-story-from-the-garden-of-eden-restored/):
…. by John & Aileena Lu The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-36) contains many Gold-nuggets to discover, we are about to discover a Restoration process of what was lost in the Garden of Eden by the First Adam. The story begins with two disciples of Jesus, who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. There were two disciples but the bible only mentioned one name: Cleopas, and the other one unnamed. We may have assumed that they were both male disciples, but actually the bible does not say anything about this. I submit to you that they were husband and wife, Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas.
It is the Jews culture during the time to mention only the name of the man (husband). For instance, when Jesus was feeding the multitude of 5000 man with five loaves of bread and two small fish; it only mentioned the man. Five thousand men were accounted, excluding (not counting) woman and children (Mat 14:21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children).
This is not just the culture, but this is how God sees a married couple, as ONE. We see this evidenced even in the creation of mankind Adam & Eve. (Gen 5:2 KJV. Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.) God addressed them both as one person, and God named them Adam. Wait a minute! How about Eve? Well, read your Bible, God did not name Eve, It was Adam who named his wife’s as Eve, and It was just Adam who called her Eve. While, God has been calling both of them as Adam (Mr. & Mrs). Although, it was Eve who was first deceived by the serpent and it was Eve who misled Adam to eat the wrong fruit, but whoever made the mistake, God treated them as equally responsible, because God sees them as ONE.
This is also evidenced in many countries’ social culture, to call a married couple by the husband’s name, eg. Mr. & Mrs. Smith. So, now we know that the two disciples, who walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus, were husband & wife, Mr. & Mrs. CLEOPAS. As they were walking and talking about what had just happened in Jerusalem “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth”, suddenly Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him (Luk 24:14-16).
Why did Jesus restrained their eyes not to know Him? Likewise to ask, why Jesus did not walk around in Jerusalem after His Resurrection showing off His NAILED PIERCED HANDS? Is it not going to astound people of His Deity identity? No, obviously God did not think like human, this is not the way of God. He wants all of us to stand equal chance to see Him by FAITH. In that Emmaus Journey we know that Jesus expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. He wanted them to see Him in the Scriptures by FAITH NOT BY SIGHT. Because, without faith it is impossible to please God.
It is a beautiful picture of them in the EVENING WALKING together with Jesus on the day of His first bodily Resurrection. It is like referring to the first Adam usually walking in the evening with God in the Garden of Eden.
Gen 3:8 …God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, (EVENING time) – Adam & Eve walking with God.
Luk 24:29 … Abide with us, for it is toward EVENING,… (Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas walking with Jesus)
And this is significant because this event corresponded to and restored the creation story in the Garden of Eden, whereby the first created couple (husband & wife) Adam & Eve had failed by committing the high treason of partaking from the forbidden tree, which was the only commandment that God had given them. There were two special TREEs in the middle of the Garden. hey partook from the wrong tree, the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD & EVIL (the first tree). While, God actually gave them a choice to partake from the TREE OF LIFE.
Both trees would open the eyes of man, the first tree opened their eyes to their nakedness. When Eve took of its fruit and ate and she also gave it to Adam who was with her, and he ate it; what happened?
Gen 3:7 Then the EYES of both of them were OPENED, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Their eyes were opened to see their Lack, and shortcomings, and they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, which is a picture of Self Righteousness, trying to justify themselves with their work & self-effort to achieve God’s Favor. Apparently, they realized whatever their self-work to cover themselves did not measure up to God’s standard, and as a result, they were afraid, they were in fear and they hid themselves from God (Gen 3:8-10).
God did not want them to partake from this tree but God cannot violate His own creation of Free Will. Likewise, God cannot force you to love Him. It must come from your free will. Thus, a free will to be a free will, there must be a choice. God put both trees in the middle of the Garden for them to choose.
Jesus showed us in this event, that He is faithful and has restored the failures of first Adam partaking from the wrong tree, with what? With the Lord Supper of Breaking the bread.
Luk 24:30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He TOOK BREAD, BLESSED and BROKE it, and GAVE it to them.
Luk 24:31 Then their EYES WERE OPENED and they KNEW Him; and He vanished from their sight.
The breaking of Bread is the holy communion between believers and Christ Jesus, a union in the body and soul. In other word, the Breaking of Bread is the TREE OF LIFE, the tree that Adam had missed it in the Garden of Eden. We have partaken this Tree through our continuous Holy Communion with Christ that rendered to infuse Life into our body, making us more healthy and adding years to our age, and energy to our body.
Joh 6:51 I am the living BREAD which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My FLESH, which I shall give for the LIFE (Greek: Zoe) of the world.”
“Zoe” of the world is the Physical life, NOT Eternal (spiritual) life which in Greek is “Zoe Ionos”
And, look what happened to Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas? After their eyes were opened? (Luk 24:33 So they ROSE UP that very hour and RETURNED to Jerusalem,…)
Their heart was burning with the warmth of Christ’s Love, and it energized them to immediately walk back from Emmaus to Jerusalem again, which is total walk of 14 Km just during that evening alone, wow what a strong body?!. Their Heart burning with the Passion of Christ Revelation, and they wanted to share it with the rest of the disciples in Jerusalem.
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Now, James Boice has arrived at the very same identification of the two disciples, Cleopas and his wife, but, in Boice’s case, his argument has arisen entirely from New Testament information
Who Were the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus?
The answer to this question is not as uncertain as most people, who are accustomed to referring merely to the “Emmaus disciples,” are likely to assume. For one thing, the story itself gives the name of one of them. If you turn to Luke 24:18, you will find that one of the disciples was called Cleopas. Moreover, if you will then use any good concordance of the words occurring in the New Testament and look up the word “Cleopas,” you will find a second mention of his name in another account of the Resurrection. The reference is John 19:25. There we read, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.” It is true that John spells the name a bit differently. But the spelling of names often varied in antiquity, and here the two names undoubtedly refer to the same person. Thus, we learn that the wife of Cleopas was also present in Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. And we may, therefore, assume that she was the one returning to Emmaus with him on the morning of the Resurrection.
Moreover, I believe that we can know even more than this. For it seems clear to me that John has given us her name when he writes of “his [Jesus’] mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.” I must admit that because of the way John has written this verse it is not at once obvious whether John is identifying the first Mary he mentions as the sister of the virgin Mary or as the wife of Cleopas. But a little thought shows that the second of these should be preferred.
For one thing, John seems to be distinguishing between two different Marys in the second part of the verse—Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. At least this is the most natural way of interpreting the sentence. Second, if this is not the case, then either there is an unidentified Mary in the story (making five persons) or else there is a Mary who is the sister of the Virgin Mary. The first case is unlikely in itself as well as unlike John’s literary style. And the second is unlikely simply because it would mean there were two sisters, both named Mary. These reasons seem to point to the wife of Cleopas being named Mary, a woman who (we are told elsewhere) was also the mother of James the less and Joses and who had been a follower of Jesus as well as a helper of Jesus and His immediate disciples (Mark 15:40, 41: cf. Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10).
The whole of the argument means that, after His appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden early in the morning, Jesus next appeared (not counting a private, unrecorded appearance to Peter) to a man and his wife, Cleopas and Mary, and this before He appeared to any of the so-called “regular” disciples. ….
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The first time that I ever heard mention of this view, expressed as (from memory) “Some theologians have suggested that one of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus could have been a woman”, I was attending a lecture given by a Cardinal with the exotic name of Martini, and he – as far as I was then concerned – brilliantly debunked the suggestion. I refer to a talk back in 1996 by the Archbishop of Milan, Jesuit Maria Cardinal Martini, given at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill (Sydney) – a biblical reflection on the Emmaus incident. At question time a nun got up and hopefully put it to the Cardinal that one of the two disciples may have been a woman.
To this the Cardinal brilliantly (though not necessarily correctly) replied that he, too, had heard of this view, but he had one good reason why he thought that it could not have been the case. Jesus, he said, had rebuked the two disciples, saying [a reference to Luke 24:25]: ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe’, and He never ever said that about any woman.
The nun quickly sat down as the audience applauded the Cardinal’s response.
From a Catholic point of view as I have recently heard the Emmaus account interpreted by Andrew Wood (St. John Centre for Biblical Studies), lecturing on the Gospel of Luke, the most marvellous thing that happened at Emmaus was the Mass, with its scriptural readings followed by Jesus himself becoming the Eucharist. Now, Wood’s mentor is Dr Scott Hahn, who has written along similar lines https://stpaulcenter.com/blog/emmaus-and-us-scott-hahn-reflects-on-the-third-sunday-of-easter
…. We should put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples in today’s Gospel. Downcast and confused they’re making their way down the road, unable to understand all the things that have occurred.
They know what they’ve seen – a prophet mighty in word and deed. They know what they were hoping for – that He would be the redeemer of Israel. But they don’t know what to make of His violent death at the hands of their rulers.
They can’t even recognize Jesus as He draws near to walk with them. He seems like just another foreigner visiting Jerusalem for the Passover.
Note that Jesus doesn’t disclose His identity until they … describe how they found His tomb empty but “Him they did not see.” That’s how it is with us, too. Unless He revealed himself we would see only an empty tomb and a meaningless death.
How does Jesus make himself known at Emmaus? First, He interprets “all the Scriptures” as referring to Him. In today’s First Reading and Epistle, Peter also opens the Scriptures to proclaim the meaning of Christ’s death according to the Father’s “set plan” – foreknown before the foundation of the world.
Jesus is described as a new Moses and a new Passover lamb. He is the One of whom David sang in today’s Psalm – whose soul was not abandoned to corruption but was shown the path of life.
After opening the Scriptures, Jesus at table took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples – exactly what He did at the Last Supper (see Luke 22:14-20).
In every Eucharist, we reenact that Easter Sunday at Emmaus. Jesus reveals himself to us in our journey. He speaks to our hearts in the Scriptures. Then at the table of the altar, in the person of the priest, He breaks the bread.
The disciples begged him, “Stay with us.” So He does. Though He has vanished from our sight, in the Eucharist – as at Emmaus – we know Him in the breaking of the bread.
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As Andrew Wood explained it, Jesus’s ‘vanishing from our sight’ did not mean that He suddenly shot through on his two disciples. No, at the moment of the Consecration (“blessing of the bread”), Jesus disappeared from their sight because He had become the Eucharist.
A priest has throat slit in Normandy Play! 01:04
“He accepted his martyrdom there on the altar,” the Pope said. “He is a martyr and martyrs are beatified.”
The remarks strongly suggested that the Pope intends to make Father Hamel a saint. Beatification is the first major step in the path towards sainthood.
For a person to be beatified, the Catholic Church normally requires that a miracle be attributed to them. But that condition appears to have been waived by the Pope, who has established a reputation for “jumping over procedural hurdles”, as one Vatican insider put it.
Hundreds gather to mourn murdered priest Father Jacques Hamel Play! 00:50
Pope Francis declares Mother Teresa a Saint Play! 00:34
“The word ‘redemption’ is little used, yet it is important because it indicates the most radical liberation that God could perform for us, for all of humanity and the entire creation,” Francis said.
Often, the Pope said, we deny that our sins have any power over us, when in reality they are another type of slavery.
“By becoming one of us, the Lord Jesus not only takes on our human condition, but he raises us to the possibility of being children of God,” Pope Francis said. “By his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish, has conquered death and sin to free us from their domain.”
The Sept. 10 gathering at the Vatican was the latest in a series of special audiences for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which are being held throughout the year in addition to the weekly general audiences on Wednesdays.
In addition to the audience, on his way to St. Peter’s square Saturday, Pope Francis stopped to greet and confirm as Catholic Giuseppe Chiolo, a young man in a wheelchair, L’Osservatore Romano reported.
Our unwillingness to open ourselves to salvation keeps us from receiving the true freedom provided by God’s forgiveness, Pope Francis preached.
“We need God to deliver us from all forms of indifference, selfishness and self-sufficiency,” he continued.
Francis noted that life is often difficult and filled with suffering, however, we are invited to turn our gaze on the crucified Jesus, “who suffers for us and with us, as certain proof that God does not abandon us.”
Even in persecution and distress, or in the pain of daily life, God’s merciful hand lifts us up to him and gives us a new life, he said.
“God’s love is boundless: we discover new signs indicating his attention towards us and especially its willingness to reach and go before us.”
“Beautiful are these three words: forgiveness, love and joy. All that He has taken has also been redeemed, liberated and saved,” the Pope continued.
“Our whole life, though marked by the fragility of sin, is placed under the gaze of God who loves us,” he said. “The more we are in need, the more his gaze on us is full of mercy.”
Iconic nun and missionary Mother Teresa is set to become a Catholic saint next week, in a ceremony and Mass led by Pope Francis.
The open-air ceremony will be held on September 4 in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, and is expected to draw a crowd of hundreds of thousands.
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910 in the Macedonian capital of Skopje, she became a nun and spent several years in Kolkata, India after training with the Sisters of Loreto.
She worked as a teacher, and started an order called The Missionaries of Charity in 1950 to look after less-fortunate people.
In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace” and donated the fund to the poor.
She continued to travel the world visiting various branches of the Missionaries of Charity despite ailing health problems, right up until her death in 1997. She donated the prize’s funds to the poor in India.
She was officially beatified within the Catholic church in 2003 by Pope John Paul II – the first step to sainthood.
While she was one of the 20th century’s most iconic and beloved figures, her hardline opposition to contraception and abortion drew controversy among her followers and critics.