Pope Francis: Corpus Domini homily

Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi on the steps of the Basilica of St. John Lateran - AP

Pope Francis celebrates Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi on the steps of the Basilica of St. John Lateran – AP

26/05/2016 19:30
********************************«Do this in remembrance of me » (1 Cor 11 :24-25).Twice the Apostle Paul, writing to the community in Corinth, recalls this command of Jesus in his account of the institution of the Eucharist.  It is the oldest testimony we have to the words of Christ at the Last Supper.

“Do this”.  That is, take bread, give thanks and break it; take the chalice, give thanks, and share it.  Jesus gives the command to repeat this action by which he instituted the memorial of his own Pasch, and in so doing gives us his Body and his Blood.  This action reaches us today: it is the “doing” of the Eucharist which always has Jesus as its subject, but which is made real through our poor hands anointed by the Holy Spirit.

“Do this”.  Jesus on a previous occasion asked his disciples to “do” what was so clear to him, in obedience to the will of the Father.  In the Gospel passage that we have just heard, Jesus says to the disciples in front of the tired and hungry crowds: “Give them something to eat yourselves” (Lk 9:13).  Indeed, it is Jesus who blesses and breaks the loaves and provides sufficient food to satisfy the whole crowd, but it is the disciples who offer the five loaves and two fish.  Jesus wanted it this way: that, instead of sending the crowd away, the disciples would put at his disposal what little they had.  And there is another gesture: the pieces of bread, broken by the holy and venerable hands of Our Lord, pass into the poor hands of the disciples, who distribute these to the people.  This too is the disciples “doing” with Jesus; with him they are able to “give them something to eat”.  Clearly this miracle was not intended merely to satisfy hunger for a day, but rather it signals what Christ wants to accomplish for the salvation of all mankind, giving his own flesh and blood (cf. Jn 6:48-58).  And yet this needs always to happen through those two small actions: offering the few loaves and fish which we have; receiving the bread broken by the hands of Jesus and giving it to all.

Breaking: this is the other word explaining the meaning of those words: “Do this in remembrance of me”.  Jesus was broken; he is broken for us.  And he asks us to give ourselves, to break ourselves, as it were, for others.  This “breaking bread” became the icon, the sign for recognizing Christ and Christians.  We think of Emmaus:  they knew him “in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35).  We recall the first community of Jerusalem:  “They held steadfastly… to the breaking of the bread” (Acts 2:42).  From the outset it is the Eucharist which becomes the centre and pattern of the life of the Church.  But we think also of all the saints – famous or anonymous – who have “broken” themselves, their own life, in order to “give something to eat” to their brothers and sisters.  How many mothers, how many fathers, together with the slices of bread they provide each day on the tables of their homes, have broken their hearts to let their children grow, and grow well!  How many Christians, as responsible citizens, have broken their own lives to defend the dignity of all, especially the poorest, the marginalized and those discriminated!  Where do they find the strength to do this?  It is in the Eucharist:  in the power of the Risen Lord’s love, who today too breaks bread for us and repeats: “Do this in remembrance of me”.

May this action of the Eucharistic procession, which we will carry out shortly, respond to Jesus’ command.  An action to commemorate him; an action to give food to the crowds of today; an act to break open our faith and our lives as a sign of Christ’s love for this city and for the whole world.

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Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/05/26/pope_francis_corpus_domini_homily/1232691

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Our Lady of Fatima, the culture of death, and signs of hope

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Our Lady of Fatima and the Midnight Appointment

As the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady tours the United States, one man has much to be grateful for

Jim didn’t always feel comfortable being in church. As a man with same-sex attraction, he felt that the regulars would sit in judgment of him.

God knows he tried. As a young man he sought help in the Charismatic Renewal movement, attending healing Masses in hopes that the Lord would take away his desires.

“God heal me from this curse,” he prayed.

“I was slain in the spirit, and that was a really nice feeling,” he said in an interview. “I got to a point where these good feelings would kind of go away and I felt like I had to choose who I was. The Catholic Church was just, you know, you couldn’t be gay and Catholic.”

So he spent the next two decades in the gay lifestyle, searching for love. “I didn’t find it.”

The experience left him feeling spiritually dead.

“I think Christ let me realize that this feeling that I had, it was like depression,” he said. “Deep down, I felt spiritually dead, so I thought I’d better come back to church.”

He picked up the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska and attended Mass. But he held onto his attachments, which in addition to unchastity also included gambling and smoking.

“I turned to Mary,” he said. “I started praying the Rosary. I was so sick of myself with this repetitive, negative behavior, I just told her, ‘I give you my life.’ I had this intense feeling that I wanted to give it to her because I had no control over this.”

Aleteia spoke to Jim (agreeing to use only his first name) in the week leading up to the 99th anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal. The World Apostolate of Fatima has begun a yearlong celebration of next year’s centennial, initiating a tour of the Pilgrim Statue of Fatima throughout the United States.

The tour “is a nation-wide call to prayer and penance for peace in our nation and conversion of hearts,” the World Apostolate announced. “That’s because prayer is more powerful than any army on earth. Our Lady promised, ‘in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.’ The tour and your prayers will create an outpouring of grace to allow Our Lady of Fatima to claim her dominion over our country through her Immaculate Heart.”

Jim has his own reasons to give thanks. Because of his devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, he believes, he has come to understand that God “wants to free you from the prison you create by your own free will. I always felt I was imprisoned by my addictions.”

After becoming more devoted to the Rosary, he said he felt “a veil was lifted over me.” For the past several months he has been chaste and has had “no urge or desire to go gambling.”

Now approaching 57, Jim attributed another act of “being saved” to the intercession of the Blessed Mother. About nine years ago, after initially giving up the gay lifestyle, someone invited him to do a holy hour in a Eucharistic adoration chapel. “I didn’t even know what a holy hour was. I asked a friend what you do. He said you can pray or read books or whatever,” while sitting in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord.

Because his gambling addiction had turned him into a night owl—he recalls at least once staying up for 40 hours—he had no problem going to the chapel in the wee hours.

“I really liked it. I felt really close to Christ when I was doing my holy hour,” he recalled.

But one night, as he was driving to the chapel, he had very bad heartburn. “I was like, ‘Dang, what did I eat?’ It was like there was a blowtorch there.

“So I get to the chapel, and the guy before me leaves, and there was like a fire inside of me. I had no clue what it was. I felt extremely nauseated and felt I must be about to die, so I just lay down on the pew and wondered, ‘What am I supposed to do if I’m about to die?’”

He prayed to Christ for mercy—and blacked out. When he came to, he started feeling better, but when the next person came for the 3 o’clock slot, he took Jim to hospital, where doctors told him he’d had a heart attack.

“If I’d had it at home I don’t know if I would have lived,” he mused. “Did God decide I should pick this hour in order to save me? I don’t know.”

One thing he does know, however, is that Our Lady of Fatima has been there for him.

“I believe in her grace and mercy and help.”

John Burger is Aleteia’s news editor.

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2016/05/13/our-lady-of-fatima-and-the-midnight-appointment/#sthash.VaxNhzUl.dpuf

Pope Francis invokes St. John Paul II ahead of Fatima feast

Pope Francis invokes Our Lady of Fatima during last year's general audience, held on 13 May 2015. - AFP

Pope Francis invokes Our Lady of Fatima during last year’s general audience, held on 13 May 2015. – AFP

11/05/2016 11:46

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday said Our Lady of Fatima “invites us once again to turn to prayer, penance, and conversion.”

The Holy Father noted the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is commemorated this year on this Friday (13 May) during his remarks to Polish-speaking pilgrims at his General Audience.

“She asks us to never offend God again. She forewarns all humanity about the necessity of abandoning oneself to God, the source of love and mercy,” Pope Francis said.
“Following the example of St. John Paul II, a great devotee of Our Lady of Fatima, let us listen attentively to the Mother of God and ask for peace for the world,” – he continued – “Praised be Jesus Christ!”

Thirty-five years ago, Pope St. John Paul II was shot by Mehmet Ali Ağca during the General Audience, which took place on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1981.
The saint attributed his survival to Our Lady, and gave one of the bullets used in the attack to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. The bullet was placed in the crown of the statue of the Virgin Mary which is housed at the shrine.

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Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/05/11/pope_francis_invokes_st_john_paul_ii_ahead_of_fatima_feast/1228967

Pope Francis and the Satanist

 Pope Francis and the Satanist

by Deacon Nick Donnelly  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 1, 2016

Pope Francis, like a number of other modern popes, has a devotion to Bd. Bartolo Longo. Pope St. John Paul II beatified Bartolo Longo in 1980 and presented him as an exemplar of a life made holy by praying the Most Holy Rosary:

As a true apostle of the Rosary, Blessed Bartolo Longo had a special charism. His path to holiness rested on an inspiration heard in the depths of his heart: “Whoever spreads the Rosary is saved!” As a result, he felt called to build a Church dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Pompeii, against the background of the ruins of the ancient city, which scarcely heard the proclamation of Christ before being buried in 79 A.D. during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, only to emerge centuries later from its ashes as a witness to the lights and shadows of classical civilization. By his whole life’s work and especially by the practice of the “Fifteen Saturdays,” Bartolo Longo promoted the Christocentric and contemplative heart of the Rosary, and received great encouragement and support from Leo XIII, the “Pope of the Rosary.”  (Apostolic Letter on the Rosary, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae“).

However, if you type “Bartolo Longo” into a search engine you’ll get some shocking headlines: “The Satanist on the Path to Sainthood”; “Pompeii and a Satanist Turned Saint”; “Satanism, Pompeii and the Rosary — a Bizarre Tale Surrounds Francis’ Next Trip.”

In 2014 Pope Francis flew by helicopter from the Vatican to Pompeii to visit the only Church dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary built by a former satanist. The Church has been raised to the status of a pontifical basilica and is home to a miraculous image of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Pope Francis composed a special prayer dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, which he prayed before the sacred painting. His words refer to the deep wounds of sin that plague us and our society:

We entrust our miseries, the many streets of hate and blood, the thousands of ancient and new poverties and above all, our sins. To you we entrust ourselves, Mother of Mercy: grant us the forgiveness of God, help us to build a world according to your heart. O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain that ties us to God, chain of love that makes us brothers, we will not leave you again. You will be in our hands a weapon of peace and forgiveness, star that guides our path.

Bartolo Longo’s life is testimony to the power of the Most Holy Rosary to heal very serious, very deep wounds inflicted by the devil and sin. Bartolo was born on February 10, 1841, the son of devout Catholic parents who daily prayed the Rosary as a family.

Bartolo’s father died when he was only 10 years old, his mother remarried and he began to drift away from the Faith. During his studies at Naples University Bartolo became involved with the occult, taking part in séances, fortune-telling and sexual promiscuity. He was drawn deeper into occult practices, becoming a member of a satanic cult and eventually being initiated into the satanic priesthood.

Like many involved in the occult and satanism, he was afflicted with demonic oppression, which was ruining his life. People suffering from demonic oppression experience self-destructive thoughts, self-harming, the urge to actions that are damaging to themselves and others. Bartolo has been described as suffering “despair, fear, hate, anger, an inability to forgive, resentment, and thoughts of suicide.”

Sinking deeper into self-destructive darkness, one day Bartolo heard the voice of his dead father beseech him, “Return to God! Return to God!” A friend of Bartolo put him in touch with a Dominican priest, Friar Alberto Radente, who taught him about the healing power of the Most Holy Rosary. At the age of 30 on October 7, 1871, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Bartolo became a Dominican tertiary and took the name “Rosario.”

Following his conversion Bartolo returned one last time to a séance at which he held up a Rosary and declared, “I renounce spiritualism because it is nothing but a maze of error and falsehood.” But Bartolo’s struggles against occultism didn’t stop with that séance. In the town of Pompeii, Bartolo found Catholics trapped by the same superstition and dark practices. He longed to bring them the healing he had found through the Rosary. To this end Bartolo promoted devotion to the Rosary by forming a Confraternity of the Rosary, by restoring a dilapidated church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and by personally sponsoring an annual festival in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. Bartolo also established the Marian devotion the Supplication to the Queen of Victories, first prayed in Pompeii on October 1883, and which is now recited all over the world on May 8, and on the first Sunday in October.

As well as these Spiritual Works of Mercy, Bartolo Longo was inspired by his deep love for Our Lady and the Church to radical Corporal Works of Mercy, in the words of Pope St. John Paul II, transforming “Pompeii into a living citadel of human and Christian goodness.” He established orphanages, Sons of Prisoners, Daughters of Prisoners, Daughters of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii and Dominican Tertiaries.

The Miraculous Painting

Miraculous painting of Our Lady

In 1875 Bartolo received a special grace, though he didn’t know it at the time. Father Radente gave him a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary. In bad condition, the painting was also of poor artistic quality. If that wasn’t enough to put Bartolo off the painting, it had been brought to him in the back of a cart used to transport manure around the farms. However, seeing that it came as a gift from the priest who had helped him in his darkest hour, Bartolo accepted it, paid for it to be restored and placed it in the church he had renovated. The painting portrays Mary seated on a throne holding the child Jesus and handing a Rosary to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena, who are standing at her feet. The moment Bartolo hung the painting in the church, miracles began to happen. On the very first day, 12-year-old Clorinda Lucarelli was completely healed of epileptic seizures diagnosed as incurable.

A year after the first miracle, Bartolo began the construction of a larger church that was completed in 1891, becoming the Pontifical Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Pompeii. Bartolo “Rosario” Longo died in 1926 at the age of 85. His final words were “My only desire is to see Mary who saved me and who will save me from the clutches of Satan.”

Blessed Paul VI had a deep devotion to this miraculous painting of Our Lady of the Rosary, and following more restoration work, had it temporarily displayed in St. Peter’s Basilica, before its return to Pompeii. During his veneration of the sacred image Pope Paul VI said, “[J]ust as the image of the Virgin has been repaired and decorated … so may the image of Mary that all Christians must have within themselves be restored, renovated and enriched.”

In our own time, with the growing acceptance of depraved evil, satanists are becoming more brazen, raising up statues to Satan and other demons in Detroit and London. In His providence, God has given us Bd. Bartolo Longo, and the personal devotion of so many modern popes, to assist us in battling and defeating Satan through the power of the Most Holy Rosary.

Blessed Bartolo “Rosario” Longo, pray for us.

Deacon Nick Donnelly is an author based in the diocese of Lancaster, England. You can follow him at @protectthepope.

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Taken from: http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/pope-francis-and-the-satanist