Lent: March 21st
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Old Calendar: St. Benedict, abbot
Sin is the great barrier between God and man. Sin, caused the beginning of hell and made devils of the fallen angels. Sin drove Adam and Eve out of their paradise and took away their marvelous gifts of grace and of freedom from sickness and death. But only in the sufferings and death of the God-man do we see what God really thinks of sin. Before sin there existed no sickness, no death, no hatred, no discord, no ugliness. Every suffering and disorder in the world is a reflection of sin. Every Mass, continuing the atoning Sacrifice of Calvary, is God’s mercy to sinners throughout the world. Every sacrament is God’s means of restoring all things in Christ. — Daily Missal of the Mystical Body
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Benedict, “Father of Western Monasticism,” twin brother of St. Scholastica. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on July 11.
Meditation – On the Compassion of Some Women of Jerusalem
A goodly number of the women of Jerusalem (not disciples of Jesus) met this saddest of funeral processions. No doubt their weeping and sobbing and loud wailing, however sincere, was not in real accord with the sorrow that was straining Jesus’ heart to the breaking point-His sorrow, namely, over their refusal to accept the truth of His Messiahship and of His supreme royalty as the promised Christ and Savior. Still, the heart of Jesus was deeply affected by the sympathy of these women. Contrasted with all else that was poured into His ears, it was very acceptable and was gratefully received.
But what lastingly gives this incident its chief significance is the fact that, even here in His greatest misery, Jesus is thinking predominantly of the doom of the Holy City and its temple, now practically sealed. Evidently His heart is aching at the vision of the horrors that will soon overtake it and the whole Jewish race, for its criminal blindness to His divine credentials and its obstinate refusal to profit by His teaching and His Precious Blood. For the days are near, when the barren among the Jewish women will be called blessed; when death, sudden and terrible though it be, will seem preferable to life. Try, therefore, to look deep into Jesus’ Sacred Heart in its very keen sympathy for these women, and especially for their children. For of the children here present in the procession, or carried in the arms of their mothers, many no doubt were to be witnesses and victims of the abomination of desolation coming upon Jerusalem not forty years hence (Luke 19:41-44)
Excerpted from Our Way to the Father by Leo M. Krenz, S.J.
The Station today is at the church of St. Marcellus at the Corso. Legend claims that Pope St. Marcellus (308-309) was sentenced by Emperor Maxentius to look after the horses at the station of the Imperial mail on the Via Lata, where the Via del Corso now lies. He was freed by the people, and hidden in the house of the Roman lady Lucina (see also San Lorenzo in Lucina). He was rearrested, and imprisoned in the stables.
Meditation: John 8:31-42
5th Week of Lent
The truth will set you free. (John 8:32)
Shin Dong-hyuk was a prisoner in a North Korean prison camp for twenty-three years before he escaped. But for most of that time, he thought that his life was normal. You see, he was born there. “I just thought that those people who carry guns were born to carry guns,” he said. It took him so long to entertain the thought of escaping because he thought that everyone lived in a camp like his. During his incarceration, if you had asked him the meaning of the word “freedom,” he wouldn’t have known how to answer.
You can hear similarities to Shin’s story in what some Jewish leaders say to Jesus in today’s Gospel: “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone” (John 8:33). Jesus is trying to tell them that they really are slaves—to sin. But they can’t understand what he means. They are observing the Law to the best of their ability; what could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing at all. But Jesus wanted to give them something more.
Jesus wanted his listeners to remain free to obey the Law, but he also wanted them to know the freedom of the Holy Spirit. He wanted them to be free to hear the Spirit speak words of wisdom, love, and guidance; to be freed from self-centered concerns and anxieties; to be free to do the very things that Jesus was doing. In other words, he wanted to give them a freedom based on the power of God living and active in their lives.
As Easter draws near, consider what freedom looks like for you. You may find that, like Shin Dong-hyuk, you have been imprisoned for quite a while without even knowing it. God wants to give you the freedom to become the person you want to be—more patient, more considerate, and more open to the Holy Spirit. He wants to set you free from long-standing resentments and hurts. And he does this so that you can go out and build the kingdom of God with confidence and grace.
Let these truths settle deep into your heart. Then step into the freedom God has prepared for you this Lent.
“Lord, send me your light and your grace—the light to see where I need to change and the grace to make those changes.”
Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95
(Psalm) Daniel 3:52-56
In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a “shining child” who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:
“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee’ Then the voice said: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’ “
This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
Sister Catherine became Saint Catherine in 1947. The church instituted recognition of the apparition in which the Miraculous Medal first appeared for November 27, 1830. Millions of the Miraculous Medal have been distributed, and many graces and miracles have been received through this devotion to Our Lady.
BROWN SCAPULAR OF MT. CARMEL
shall never suffer eternal fire.”
Virgin Mary’s promise to Saint Simon Stock
July 16, 1251″Wear it devoutly and perserveringly,” she says to each soul, “it is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
THE SABBATINE PRIVELEGE
The blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular fromthe fires of Hell; She will also shorten their stay in Purgatory if they should passfrom this world still owing some temporal debt of punishment.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular said: “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
Pope Benedict XV proceeded to grant an indulgence of 500 days for each time the cloth Scapular is kissed”. On July 16th, the Scapular feast, while addressing the seminarians of Rome, Benedict XV said: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”
Pope Benedict XV, addressing seminarians in Rome:“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: The language, the sentences of the Gospel – the common armor, the Brown Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel which you ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege and protection after death.”The Brown Scapular | A Sacramental“One of the most remarkable effects of sacramentals is the virtue to drive away evil spirits whose mysterious and baleful operations affect sometimes the physical activity of man. To combat this occult power the Church has recourse to exorcism, and sacramentals” (The Catholic Encyclopedia., 1913, VXIII, p. 293).The Brown Scapular | A True StoryYou will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the brown scapular when you hear the true story of Venerable Francis Yepes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the Devil howled, “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Then and there Francis made the Devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus; theHoly Name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel.“Modern Heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.” – St. Alphonsus LigouriMary, Mother of God and Our Mother“When Mary became the Mother of Jesus, true God and true Man, She also became our Mother. In His great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” – St. John BoscoOver the years there have also been many miracles associated with wearing the brown scapular.
*If you would like a brown scapular click here:
New Catholic Radio Station serving Chittenden County
WINOOSKI – In a state identified in a national study two years ago as one of the least religious in the country, a new Catholic radio station is being hailed by the market and people of faith.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio, which can be found at 105.5 FM, transmits 24-hour daily programming of the Eternal Word Television Network from the St. Francis Xavier Church property in Winooski. The station can be heard in the greater Burlington area and started broadcasting earlier this fall.
Donna McSoley, the driving force behind WRXJ 105.5 FM, said she is eager to begin producing some local programming after she learns more about audio editing software. McSoley said one of her ambitions is to air homilies from priests who serve the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
“I wanted to bring Catholic radio to Vermont because many people here have rejected Christianity without even knowing much about church history, the early church fathers, or never having read the Bible in its entirety,” said McSoley. “Our state is in crisis over heroin and other drugs, and many people are lost and are desperately searching for freedom from addictions and a greater meaning in life.”
In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted the Religious Landscape study, and Vermont tied as the 48th most religious state. The study found 34 percent of the Green Mountain State’s adults said they are “highly religious.”
A state’s spiritual devotion was measured by factors including “absolute belief in God and daily prayer.”
McSoley, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Church, began the quest to secure a broadcast license more than five years ago when the Federal Communications Commission opened a small window to own a channel on the FM spectrum for a low-power station. It took about 18 months to secure the FCC’s approval.
McSoley accesses the station’s computers remotely from her Essex Junction home.
She said a radio station can reach people in ways other media outlets can’t. “Radio can be a great way to reach people in the privacy of their own car and where people are apt to ponder life’s great questions,” she said. “I think for that reason, radio can be a great way to explain the Catholic faith, which is largely misunderstood by the general public. … My hope is that the programs on the station can clear this up and we can foster greater unity within the Christian community here in Vermont.”
Ted Quigley, a practicing Catholic, embraces the organization. “105.5 FM is a wonderful change in my life,” he said. “I turn it on when I’m driving or when I’m home cleaning.”
The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop of Vermont’s Catholics, recorded some station identifications that play through the hour.
Coyne, who was named by Pope Francis to shepherd Vermont’s Catholics nearly two years ago, said he welcomes the station, praising McSoley’s efforts. “The Catholic community in Vermont has been very supportive of the launch of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio,” said Coyne. “Right now, this is the only Catholic radio station in Vermont. I hope to see many more begin to broadcast soon.”
Coyne’s remarks regarding the dearth of religious broadcasting in Vermont underscore what many perceive as an absence of God from the public dialogue. The FCC said it doesn’t keep track of content when license applications come in.
The program director for a Christian radio network serving Vermont said religious-oriented radio outlets are filling a much-needed niche. Bob Pierce, of The Light Radio Network, said his Christian station reaches about 15,000 listeners in Chittenden County.
In a competitive market, McSoley said she is anxious for WRXJ’s message to spread. “Although Vermont is one of the least religious states in the country, I have great faith that people will always be able to recognize truth when they hear it, so my hope is that many people will turn on the radio and start the journey toward discovering God,” she said.