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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 01-25-14, Feast, Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 01-25-14 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 01/24/2014 9:34:06 PM PST by Salvation

January 25, 2014

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

 

 

Reading 1 Acts 22:3-16

Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

“A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.’”

Or Acts 9:1-22

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, AAnanias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 117:1bc, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
or:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”



TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; ordinarytime; prayer; saints
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.


1 posted on 01/24/2014 9:34:06 PM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
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2 posted on 01/24/2014 9:43:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Acts 22:3-16

Paul Defends Himself Before the Crowd


([Paul] spoke to them [the people] in the Hebrew language, saying:) [3] “I am a
Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel,
educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous
for God as you all are this day. [4] I persecuted this Way to the death, binding
and delivering to prison both men and women, [5] as the high priest and the
whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the bre-
thren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring
them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

[6] “As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light
from heaven suddenly shone about me. [7] And I fell to the ground and heard a
voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ [8] And I answered,
‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are
persecuting.’ [9] Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the
voice of the one who was speaking to me. [10] And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’
And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told
all that is appointed for you to do.’ [11] And when I could not see because of the
brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and
came into Damascus.

[12] “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all
the Jews who lived there, [13] came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Bro-
ther Saul, receive your sight.’ And in that very hour I received my sight and saw
him. [14] And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to
see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; [15] for you will be a wit-
ness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.[16] And now why do
you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-21. St Luke gives us Paul’s address to the Jews of Jerusalem, the first of three
speeches in his own defense (cf. 24:10-21; 26:1-23) in which he tries to show that
there is no reason why Christianity should be opposed by Jew or by Roman. Here
he presents himself as a pious Jew, full of respect for his people and their sacred
traditions. He earnestly desires his brethren to realize that there are compelling
reasons for his commitment to Jesus. He is convinced that they can experience
in their souls the same kind of spiritual change as he did. However, this speech
is not a closely-argued apologia. His main intention is not so much to answer the
accusations levelled against him as to use this opportunity to bear witness to
Jesus Christ, whose commandments validate Paul’s actions. What he is really
trying to do is to get his hearers to obey the voice of the Lord.

1. “Brethren and fathers”: the “fathers” may refer to members of the Sanhedrin
present in the crowd.

3. Gamaliel (cf. 5:34) belonged to the school of the rabbi Hillel, which was noted
for a less rigorous interpretation of the Law than that of Shammai and his disci-
ples.

4. The situation described by Paul is confirmed by 1 Cor 15:9: “I am the least of
the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of
God”; Gal 1:13: “You have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted
the church of God violently and tried to destroy it”; Phil 3:6: “as to the law a Pha-
risee, as to zeal a persecutor of the church”; and 1 Tim 1:13: “I formerly blas-
phemed and persecuted and insulted him [Christ]”.

6-11. Paul describes in his own words what happened on the way to Damascus
(cf. 9:3-9; 26:6-16). This account differs in some ways from—but does not contra-
dict—the two other versions of the episode, especially that of chapter 9, which is
told in St Luke’s words.

Paul adds that the whole thing happened at midday (cf. 26:13), and he says that
Jesus referred to himself as “Jesus of Nazareth”. He also include the question
“What shall I do, Lord?”, which is not given in chapter 9.

As far as Paul’s companions were concerned, we know that they saw the light
(Acts 22:9) but did not see anyone (Acts 9:7): they did not see the glorified Jesus;
they heard a voice (Acts 9:7) but did not hear the voice of the one who was spea-
king to Paul (Acts 22:9), that is, did not understand what the voice said.

10. Paul addresses Jesus as “Lord”, which shows that this vision has revealed to
him the divinity of him whom he was persecuting. The divine voice orders him to
get up from the ground and the future Apostle of the Gentiles obeys immediately.
The physical movement of getting up is a kind of symbol of the spiritual uplift his
soul is given by God’s call. “This was the first grace, that was given to the first
Adam; but more powerful than it is the grace in the second Adam. The effect of
the first grace was that a man might have justice, if he willed; the second grace,
therefore, is more powerful, because it affects the will itself; it makes for a strong
will, a burning charity, so that by a contrary will the spirit overcomes the conflic-
ting will of the flesh” (St Augustine, “De Correptione Et Gratia”, XI, 31).

“Many have come to Christianity”, Origen says, “as if against their will, for a cer-
tain spirit, appearing to them, in sleep or when they are awake, suddenly silen-
ces their mind, and they change from hating the Word to dying for him” (”Against
Celsus”, I, 46).

Paul’s conversion is an outstanding example of what divine grace and divine as-
sistance in general can effect in a person’s heart.

12-16. This account of Ananias and his role in Paul’s conversion is much shorter
than that given in chapter 9 (cf. vv. 10-19). St Paul adapts it here to suit his au-
dience (who are all Jews). He presents Jesus as the one in whom the Old Tes-
tament prophecies are fulfilled. Like Peter (cf. 3:13ff) and Stephen (cf. 7:52) he
speaks of the “God of our fathers” and the “Just One” when referring to God and
to Jesus respectively.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 01/24/2014 9:44:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Acts 9:1-22 (Alternate)

Saul on His Way to Damascus


[1] But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest [2] and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damas-
cus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring
them bound to Jerusalem. [3] Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus,
and suddenly a light from Heaven flashed about him. [4] And he fell to the ground
and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” [5]
And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are per-
secuting; [6] but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
[7] The men who were travelling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but
seeing no one. [8] Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened,
he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damas-
cus. [9] And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Ananias Baptizes Saul


[10] Now there was a disciple at Damascus called Ananias. The Lord said to him
in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” [11] And the Lord said to
him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas
for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, [12] and he has seen
a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain
his sight.” [13] But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this
man, how much evil he has done to Thy saints at Jerusalem; [14] and here he
has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Thy name.” [15] But
the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry My
name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; [16] for I will show
him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name.” [17] So Ananias depar-
ted and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul,
the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent
me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” [18] And
immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight.
Then he rose and was baptized, [19] and took food and was strengthened.

For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.

Paul Begins His Apostolate


[20] And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, “He is
the Son of God.” [21] And all who heard were amazed and said, “Is not this the
man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he
has come here for this purpose to bring them bound before the chief priests.”
[22] But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who
lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-3. Roman authorities recognized the moral authority of the Sanhedrin and even
permitted it to exercise a certain jurisdiction over members of Jewish communi-
ties outside Palestine—as was the case with Damascus. The Sanhedrin even had
the right to extradite Jews to Palestine (cf. 1 Maccabees 15:21).

Damascus was about 230-250 kilometers (150 miles) from Jerusalem, depending
on which route one took. Saul and his associates, who would probably have been
mounted, would have had no difficulty in doing the journey in under a week. This
apparition took place towards the end of the journey, when they were near
Damascus.

2. “The Way”: the corresponding word in Hebrew also means religious behavior.
Here it refers to both Christian lifestyle and the Gospel itself; indirectly it means
all the early followers of Jesus (cf. Acts 18:25ff; 19:9, 23; 22:4) and all those who
come after them and are on the way to Heaven; it reminds us of Jesus’ words,
“The gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it
are few” (Matthew 7:14).

3-19. This is the first of the three accounts of the calling of Saul—occurring proba-
bly between the years 34 and 36—that are given in the Acts of the Apostles (cf.
Acts 22:5-16; 26:10-18); where important events are concerned, St. Luke does
not mind repeating himself. Once again the Light shines in the darkness (cf. John
1:5). It does so here in a spectacular way and, as in every conversion, it makes
the convert see God, himself and others in a new way.

However, the episode on the road to Damascus is not only a conversion. It marks
the beginning of St. Paul’s vocation: “What amazes you seems natural to me:
that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession!

“This is how He sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their
nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house.

“And—wonder of wonders!—Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of the
Christians” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 799).

The background to St. Luke’s concise account is easy to fill in. There would have
been no Hellenist Christians left in Jerusalem: they had fled the city, some going
as far afield as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. Many had sought refuge in Da-
mascus, and Saul must have realized that their evangelizing zeal would win many
converts among faithful Jews in that city. Saul genuinely wanted to serve God,
which explains his readiness to respond to grace. Like most Jews of his time, he
saw the Messiah as a political liberator, a warrior-king, a half-Heavenly, half-earth-
ly figure such as described in the apocryphal “Book of Enoch”, 46: “It is impossi-
ble to imagine how even his glance terrifies his enemies. Wherever he turns, every-
thing trembles; wherever his voice reaches everything is overwhelmed and those
who hear it are dissolved as wax in fire.” A hero of this type does not fall into the
power of his enemies, much less let them crucify him; on the contrary, he is a
victor, he annihilates his enemies and establishes an everlasting kingdom of
peace and justice. For Saul, Jesus’ death on a cross was a clear proof that He
was a false messiah; and the whole notion of a brotherhood of Jews and Gentiles
was inconceivable.

He has almost reached Damascus when a light flashes; he is thrown onto the
ground and hears a voice from Heaven calling his name twice, in a tone of sad
complaint.

Saul surrenders unconditionally and places himself at the Lord’s service. He
does not bemoan his past life; he is ready to start anew. No longer is the Cross
a “scandal”: it has become for him a sign of salvation, the “power of God”, a
throne of victory, whose praises he will sing in his epistles. Soon St. Paul will
learn more about this Way and about all that Jesus did and taught, but from this
moment onwards, the moment of his calling, he realizes that Jesus is the risen
Messiah, in whom the prophecies find fulfillment; he believes in the divinity of
Christ: he sees how different his idea of the Messiah was from the glorified, pre-
existing and eternal Son of God; he understands Christ’s mystical presence in
His followers: “Why do you persecute ME?” In other words, he realizes that he
has been chosen by God, called by God, and immediately places himself at his
service.

4. This identification of Christ and Christians is something which the Apostle will
later elaborate on when he speaks of the Mystical Body of Christ (cf. Colossians
1:18; Ephesians 1:22f).

St. Bede comments as follows: “Jesus does not say, ‘Why do you persecute My
members?’, but, ‘Why do you persecute Me?’, because He Himself still suffers
affronts in His body, which is the Church. Similarly Christ will take account of the
good actions done to His members, for He said, ‘I was hungry and you gave Me
food...’ (Matthew 25:35), and explaining these words He added ‘As you did it to
one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’ (Matthew 25:40)” (”Super
Act. Expositio, ad loc.”).

5-6. In the Vulgate and in many other translations these words are added between
the end of verse 5 and the start of verse 6: “It is hard for thee to kick against the
goad. And he, trembling and astonished, said: “Lord, what will Thou have me to
do? And the Lord said to him”. These words do not seem to be part of the original
sacred text but rather a later explanatory gloss; for this reason the New Vulgate
omits them. (The first part of the addition comes from Paul’s address in Acts
26:14).

6. The calling of Saul was exceptional as regards the manner in which God called
him; but the effect it had on him was the same as what happens when God gives
a specific calling to the apostolate to certain individual Christians, inviting them to
follow Him more closely. Paul’s immediate response is a model of how those who
receive these specific callings should act (all Christians, of course, have a com-
mon calling to holiness and apostolate that comes with Baptism).

Paul VI describes in this way the effects of this specific kind of vocation in a per-
son’s soul: “The apostolate is [...] an inner voice, which makes one both restless
and serene, a voice that is both gentle and imperious, troublesome and affectio-
nate, a voice which comes unexpectedly and with great events and then, at a
particular point, exercises a strong attraction, as it were revealing to us our life
and our destiny. It speaks prophetically and almost in a tone of victory, which
eventually dispels all uncertainty, all timidity and all fear, and which facilitates—
making it easy, desirable and pleasant—the response of our whole personality,
when we pronounce that word which reveals the supreme secret of love: Yes;
Yes, Lord, tell what I must do and I will try to do it, I will do it. Like St. Paul,
thrown to the ground at the gates of Damascus: What would You have me do?

“The roots of the apostolate run deep: the apostolate is vocation, election, inte-
rior encounter with Christ, abandonment of one’s personal autonomy to His will,
to His invisible presence; it is a kind of substitution of our poor, restless heart,
inconstant and at times unfaithful yet hungry for love, for His heart, the heart of
Christ which is beginning to pulsate in the one who has been chosen. And then
comes the second act in the psychological drama of the apostolate: the need to
spread, to do, to give, to speak, to pass on to others one’s own treasure, one’s
own fire. [...]

“The apostolate becomes a continuous expansion of one’s soul, the exuberance
of a personality taken over by Christ and animated by His Spirit; it becomes a
need to hasten, to work, to do everything one can to spread the Kingdom of God,
to save other souls, to save all souls” (”Homily”, 14 October 1968).

8-11. Straight Street runs through Damascus from east to west and can still be
identified today.

13. Ananias refers to Christ’s followers as “saints”; this was the word normally
used to describe the disciples, first in Palestine and then in the world at large.
God is THE Holy One (cf. Isaiah 6:3); as the Old Testament repeatedly says,
those who approach God and keep His commandments share in this holiness:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel,
You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy’” (Leviticus 19:1-2).

The use of this term is an example of the spiritual sensitivity of our first bro-
thers and sisters in the faith: “What a moving name—saints!—the early Chris-
tians used to address each other!...

“Learn to be a brother to your brothers” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 469).

15-16. Our Lord calls St. Paul His “vessel of election”, which is a Hebraicism
equivalent to “chosen instrument”, and He tells Ananias how much the Apostle
will have to suffer on His account. A Christian called to the apostolate is also,
by virtue of this divine vocation, an instrument in the hands of God; to be effec-
tive he must be docile: he must let God use him and must do what God tells
him.

The task God has given him is far beyond Paul’s ability—”to carry My name be-
fore the Gentiles and kings and sons of Israel”. In Acts we will see how Paul ful-
fills his mission, with the help of God’s grace and suffering a great deal on ac-
count of His name. Down through the centuries, in diverse circumstance, those
whom the Lord elects to carry out specific missions will also be able to perform
them if they are good instruments who allow grace to act in them and who are
ready to suffer for their ideals.

19. In spite of the exceptional manner in which God called St. Paul, He desired
him to mature in the normal way—to be instructed by others and learn God’s will
through them. In this case he chose Ananias to confer Baptism on Paul and
teach him the basics of the Christian faith.

In Ananias we can see a trace of the role of the spiritual director or guide in
Christian asceticism. There is a principle which states that “no one can be a
good judge in his own case, because everyone judges according to his own in-
clinations” (cf. Cassian, “Collationes”, XVI, 11). A person guiding a soul has a
special “grace of state” to make God’s will known to him; and even if the guide
makes a mistake, the person who is being guided will—if obedient—always do the
right thing, always do God’s will. In this connection St. Vincent Ferrer says: “Our
Lord Jesus Christ, without whom we can do nothing, will not give His grace to
him who, though he has access to an expert guide, rejects this precious means
of sanctification, thinking that he can look after on his own everything that tou-
ches on his salvation. He who has a director, whom he obeys in everything, will
reach his goal more easily and more quickly than if he had acted as his own
guide, even if he be very intelligent and have the very best of spiritual books”
(”Treatise on the Spiritual Life”, 2, 1).

On the spiritual guidance of ordinary Christians, who seek holiness and carry
out apostolate in the context of everyday life, St. Escriva, writes: “A Director.
You need one. So that you can give yourself to God, and give yourself fully...by
obedience. A director who understands your apostolate, who knows what God
wants: that way he will second the work of the Holy Spirit in your soul, without
taking you from your place, filling you with peace, and teaching you how to
make your work fruitful” (”The Way”, 62).

20-23. In his letter to the Galatians (cf. Galatians 1:16f) St. Paul tells of how he
went into Arabia after his conversion and then returned to Damascus. He spent
almost three years away, and it was on his return that he preached the divinity
of Jesus, using all his energy and learning, now placed at the service of Christ.
This surprised and confounded the Jews, who immediately began to take action
against him.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 01/24/2014 9:45:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Mark 16:15-18

Jesus Appears to the Eleven. The Apostle’s Mission


[15] And He (Jesus) said to them (the Eleven), “Go into all the world and preach
the Gospel to the whole creation. [16] He who believes and is baptized will be
saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. [17] And these signs
will accompany those who believe; in My name they will cast out demons; they
will speak in new tongues; [18] they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any
deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they
will recover.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

15. This verse contains what is called the “universal apostolic mandate” (paral-
leled by Matthew 28:19-20 and Luke 24:46-48). This is an imperative command
from Christ to His Apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world. This same
apostolic mission applies, especially to the Apostles’ successors, the bishops
in communion with Peter’s successor, the Pope.

But this mission extends further: the whole “Church was founded to spread the
Kingdom of Christ over all the earth for the glory of God the Father, to make all
men partakers in redemption and salvation.... Every activity of the Mystical Body
with this in view goes by the name of ‘apostolate’; the Church exercises it through
all its members, though in various ways. In fact, the Christian vocation is, of its
nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. In the organism of a living body no
member plays a purely passive part, sharing in the life of the body it shares at the
same time in its activity. The same is true for the body of Christ, the Church: ‘the
whole body achieves full growth in dependence on the full functioning of each part’
(Ephesians 4:16). Between the members of this body there exists, further, such
a unity and solidarity (cf. Ephesians 4:16) that a member who does not work at
the growth of the body to the extent of his possibilities must be considered use-
less both to the Church and to himself.

“In the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the apostles
and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and
governing in His name and by His power. But the laity are made to share in the
priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church
and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole people of God”
(Vatican II, “Apostolicam Actuositatem”, 2).

It is true that God acts directly on each person’s soul through grace, but it must
also be said that it is Christ’s will (expressed here and elsewhere) that men
should be an instrument or vehicle of salvation for others.

Vatican II also teaches this: “On all Christians, accordingly, rests the noble obli-
gation of working to bring all men throughout the whole world to hear and accept
the divine message of salvation” (”ibid.”, 3).

16. This verse teaches that, as a consequence of the proclamation of the Good
News, faith and Baptism are indispensable pre-requisites for attaining salvation.
Conversion to the faith of Jesus Christ should lead directly to Baptism, which
confers on us “the first sanctifying grace, by which Original Sin is forgiven, and
which also forgives any actual sins there may be; it remits all punishment due
for sins; it impresses on the soul the mark of the Christian; it makes us children
of God, members of the Church and heirs to Heaven, and enables us to receive
the other Sacraments” (”St. Pius X Catechism”, 553).

Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, as we can see from these words
of the Lord. But physical impossibility for receiving the rite of Baptism can be
replaced either by martyrdom (called, therefore, “baptism of blood”) or by a per-
fect act of love of God and of contrition, together with an at least implicit desire
to be baptized: this is called “baptism of desire” (cf. “ibid.”, 567-568).

Regarding infant Baptism, St. Augustine taught that “the custom of our Mother
the Church of infant Baptism is in no way to be rejected or considered unneces-
sary; on the contrary, it is to be believed on the ground that it is a tradition from
the Apostles” (”De Gen., Ad Litt.”, 10, 23, 39). The new “Code of Canon Law”
also stresses the need to baptize infants: “Parents are obliged to see that their
infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the
birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the
Sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it” (Canon 867).

Another consequence of the proclamation of the Gospel, closely linked with the
previous one, is that “the Church is necessary”, as Vatican II declares: “Christ
is the one mediator and way of salvation; He is present to us in His body which
is the Church. He Himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism
(cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity
of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they
could not be saved who, knowing that the Church was founded as necessary by
God through Christ, would refuse to enter it, or to remain in it” (”Lumen Gentium”,
14; cf. “Presbyterorum Ordinis”, 4; “Ad Gentes”, 1-3; “Dignitatis Humanae”, 11).

17-18. In the early days of the Church, public miracles of this kind happened
frequently. There are numerous historical records of these events in the New
Testament (cf., e.g., Acts 3:1-11; 28:3-6) and in other ancient Christian writings.
It was very fitting that this should be so, for it gave visible proof of the truth of
Christianity.

Miracles of this type still occur, but much more seldom; they are very exceptio-
nal. This, too, is fitting because, on the one hand, the truth of Christianity has
been attested to enough; and, on the other, it leaves room for us to merit through
faith. St. Jerome comments: “Miracles were necessary at the beginning to con
firm the people in the faith. But, once the faith of the Church is confirmed, mira-
cles are not necessary” (”Comm. In Marcum, in loc.”). However, God still works
miracles through saints in every generation, including our own.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 01/24/2014 9:47:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

EITHER:

First reading

Acts 22:3-16 ©

Paul said to the people, ‘I am a Jew and was born at Tarsus in Cilicia. I was brought up here in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was taught the exact observance of the Law of our ancestors. In fact, I was as full of duty towards God as you are today. I even persecuted this Way to the death, and sent women as well as men to prison in chains as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify, since they even sent me with letters to their brothers in Damascus. When I set off it was with the intention of bringing prisoners back from there to Jerusalem for punishment.

  ‘I was on that journey and nearly at Damascus when about midday a bright light from heaven suddenly shone round me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” I answered: Who are you, Lord? and he said to me, “I am Jesus the Nazarene, and you are persecuting me.” The people with me saw the light but did not hear his voice as he spoke to me. I said: What am I to do, Lord? The Lord answered, “Stand up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told what you have been appointed to do.” The light had been so dazzling that I was blind and my companions had to take me by the hand; and so I came to Damascus.

  ‘Someone called Ananias, a devout follower of the Law and highly thought of by all the Jews living there, came to see me; he stood beside me and said, “Brother Saul, receive your sight.” Instantly my sight came back and I was able to see him. Then he said, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Just One and hear his own voice speaking, because you are to be his witness before all mankind, testifying to what you have seen and heard. And now why delay? It is time you were baptised and had your sins washed away while invoking his name.”’

OR:

Alternative First reading

Acts 9:1-22 ©

Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.

  Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.

  A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’

  When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.

  He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’ All his hearers were amazed. ‘Surely’ they said ‘this is the man who organised the attack in Jerusalem against the people who invoke this name, and who came here for the sole purpose of arresting them to have them tried by the chief priests?’ Saul’s power increased steadily, and he was able to throw the Jewish colony at Damascus into complete confusion by the way be demonstrated that Jesus was the Christ.


Psalm

Psalm 116:1-2 ©

Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.

or

Alleluia!

O praise the Lord, all you nations,

  acclaim him all you peoples!

Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.

or

Alleluia!

Strong is his love for us;

  he is faithful for ever.

Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.

or

Alleluia!


Gospel Acclamation

cf.Jn15:16

Alleluia, alleluia!

I chose you from the world

to go out and bear fruit,

fruit that will last,

says the Lord.

Alleluia!


Gospel

Mark 16:15-18 ©

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’


6 posted on 01/24/2014 9:54:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
7 posted on 01/24/2014 9:57:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

 
Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

8 posted on 01/24/2014 10:01:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Joyful Mysteries
(Mondays and Saturdays)

1. The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) [Spiritual fruit - Humility]
2. The Visitation (Luke 1: 39-56) [Spiritual fruit - Love of Neighbor]
3. The Nativity (Luke 2:1-20) [Spiritual fruit - Poverty of Spirit]
4. The Presentation (Luke 2:21-38) [Spiritual fruit - Purity of mind & body]
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52) [Spiritual fruit - Obedience ]

9 posted on 01/24/2014 10:02:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

10 posted on 01/24/2014 10:04:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


11 posted on 01/24/2014 10:05:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Feast of
the Holy Name of Jesus


Luke 2:21 "...Et vocatum est Nomen eius IESUS"
("And His Name was called JESUS")

Psalm 90:14 "Because he hoped in me I will deliver him:
I will protect him because he hath known My Name."

Zacharias 10:12 "I will strengthen them in the Lord,
and they shall walk in His Name, saith the Lord."

Apocalypse 3:8 "I know thy works. Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied My Name."

Apocalypse 15:4 "Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and magnify Thy Name?..."

 

Blessed be the most holy Name of Jesus without end!

 

January Devotion: The Holy Name of Jesus

The month of January is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. This feast is also celebrated on January 3. Here is an explanation of the devotion.

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has associated entire months to special devotions. The devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus has been traditionally associated with the month of January, due to its celebration on January 3. The name Jesus was given to the Holy Child at God's command (Luke 1:31). The Holy Name is all-powerful because of the Person who bears it; we honor it because of the command of Christ, that we should pray in His Name and because it reminds us of all the blessings we receive through our Holy Redeemer. Hence St. Paul was able to write to the Philippians: ". . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Phil. 2:10). By means of this devotion we also make amends for improper use of the Holy Name.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Prayer/Hymn in Honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus - Iesu, Dulcis Memoria

Iesu, Dulcis Memoria is a celebrated 12th century hymn attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Doctor Mellifluus. The entire hymn has some 42 to 53 stanzas depending upon the manuscript. Parts of this hymn were used for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which was formerly celebrated on the Sunday between the Circumcision and Epiphany, or failing such a Sunday, on January 2. The part below was used at Vespers. In the liturgical revisions of Vatican II, the feast was deleted, though a votive Mass to the Holy Name of Jesus had been retained for devotional use. With the release of the revised Roman Missal in March 2002, the feast was restored as an optional memorial on January 3.

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast!
Yet sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy presence rest.

No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than Jesus' name,
The Savior of mankind.

O hope of every contrite heart!
0 joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

Jesus! our only hope be Thou,
As Thou our prize shalt be;
In Thee be all our glory now,
And through eternity. Amen.

---Roman Breviary

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

O Divine Jesus, Thou hast promised that anything we ask of the Eternal Father in Thy name shall be granted.

O Eternal Father. In the name of Jesus, for the love of Jesus, in fulfillment of this promise, and because Jesus has said it, grant us our petitions for the sake of Jesus, Thy Divine Son. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

 

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Phil:2:10-11

 


 

 

The Most Holy Name
The Power of Jesus’ Name
What does IHS stand for? The meaning of the Holy Name of Jesus [Catholic Caucus]
Litany Of The Holy Name of Jesus
Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
Jesus, The Name above all Names
Devotion to the Holy Name (of Jesus) [Catholic Caucus]
Lessons In Iconography : The Chi Rho - Christ
St. Francis de Sales on the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Excerpt from a Sermon) (Catholic Caucus)
St. Francis de Sales on the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

St. Bernard on the Most Holy Name of Jesus [Ecumenical]
Saving the day in His Holy Name: St. Genevieve gets a reprieve [Catholic Caucus]
The Holy Name of Jesus
Holy Name of Jesus [San Bernadino of Siena] Ecumenical
The Holy Name of Jesus
Devotion to the Holy Name [of Jesus]
The Name of Jesus: Its Power in Our Lives
The Holy Name of Jesus
Devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus
The Holy Name of Jesus

12 posted on 01/24/2014 10:09:28 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
January 2014

Pope's Intentions

Universal: That all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples.

For Evangelization: That Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ.

13 posted on 01/24/2014 10:10:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Saturday, January 25, 2014
The Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle (Feast)
First Reading:
Psalm:
Gospel:
Acts 22:3-16 or 9:1-22
Psalm 117:1-2
Mark 16:15-18

"Pardon me, O perfections of my God, for having preferred imperfect and evil inclinations to Thee!
Pardon me, O justice of my God, for having outraged Thee by my sins.
Pardon me, O holiness of my God, for having so long stained Thy sight's purity by my sins.
Pardon me, O mercy of my God, for having despised so long Thy mercy's voice.
In deep sorrow and contrition, I cast myself at Thy feet: Have mercy on me. Amen."

-- St Ignatius of Loyola


14 posted on 01/24/2014 10:12:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

15 posted on 01/24/2014 10:13:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


16 posted on 01/24/2014 10:14:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

The Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Feast Day
January 25th

Year of Saint Paul
June 28, 2008-June 29, 2009

The Conversion of Saul
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
1542-45
Fresco, 625 x 661 cm
Cappella Paolina, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

 

The conversion of Saul of Tarsus while he was on his way to Damascus is one of the most touching miracles in the history of the early Church. It shows us how faith comes from grace and from one's free cooperation. The doctrine on the Mystical Body of Christ receives proof and a clear illustration when Christ says, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" We should realize that the best way to hasten the unity of all Christians is to foster our own daily personal conversion.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003

 

Collect:
O God, who taught the whole world
through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul,
draw us, we pray, nearer to you
through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today,
and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 22:3-16
"I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamali-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

"As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?' And I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.' Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the One who was speaking to me. And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.' And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.

"And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing by me said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And in that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, 'The God of our fathers appointed you to know His will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from His mouth; for you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'

Alternative First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 9:1-22
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to Him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine to carry My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name." So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened.

For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, "He is the Son of God." And all who heard him were amazed, and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests." But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.


Gospel Reading: Mark 16:15-18
He[Jesus] said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Related links on the Vatican Website:

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, October 25, 2006, Paul of Tarsus

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, November 8, 2006, St Paul's new outlook

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, November 15, 2006, St Paul and the Spirit

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, 22 November 2006, St Paul and the Church

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 2 July 2008, Saint Paul (part 1), Religious and Cultural Environment

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 27 August 2008, Saint Paul (2), Life of Saint Paul before and after Damascus.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 3 September 2008, Saint Paul (3), St Paul's "Conversion".

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 10 September 2008, Saint Paul (4), Saint Paul's Concept of Apostolate.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, St Peter's Square, Wednesday, 24 September 2008, Saint Paul (5), Paul, the Twelve and the pre-Pauline Church.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 1 October 2008, Saint Paul (6), The "Council" of Jerusalem and the Incident in Antioch.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, St Peter's Square, Wednesday, 8 October 2008, Saint Paul (7), The Relationship with the Historical Jesus.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, St. Peter's Square, Wednesday, 15 October 2008, Saint Paul (8), Paul's Ecclesiological Dimension.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, St. Peter's Square, Wednesday, 22 October 2008, Saint Paul (9), The Importance of Christology: Pre-existence and Incarnation.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, St. Peter's Square, Wednesday, 29 October 2008, Saint Paul (10), The Importance of Christology: the Theology of the Cross.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, St. Peter's Square, Wednesday, 5 November 2008, Saint Paul (11), The Importance of Christology: the Decisiveness of the Resurrection.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, St. Peter's Square, Wednesday, 12 November 2008, Saint Paul (12), Eschatology : the Expectation of the Parusia.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, St. Peter's Square, Wednesday, 19 November 2008, Saint Paul (13), The Doctrine of Justification: from Works to Faith.

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 26 November 2008, Saint Paul (14): The Apostle's Teaching on Faith and Works In Regard to Justification

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, Wednesday, 3 December 2008, Saint Paul (15), The Apostle’s teaching on the relation between Adam and Christ

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday,10 December 2008, Saint Paul (16), Theology of the sacraments

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 7 January 2009, Saint Paul (17), Spiritual Worship

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 14 January 2009, Saint Paul (18), The Theological vision of the Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 28 January 2009, Saint Paul (19), Theological vision of Pastoral Letters

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, 4 February 2009, Saint Paul (20), St Paul's martyrdom and heritage


17 posted on 01/25/2014 7:16:17 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Information: Conversion of St. Paul

Feast Day: January 25

18 posted on 01/25/2014 7:20:25 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Interactive Saints for Kids

Conversion of St. Paul


Feast Day: January 25

Paul was born at Tarsus in Cilicia (Turkey) lived around the time of Jesus but never met Him. Paul was first called Saul. As a young man, he was a very bright student of the Hebrew religion. He was a Pharisee and a tent-maker by trade.

He hated the Christians. When he grew older he tortured and harassed the followers of Jesus. He even helped at the stoning of St. Stephen the martyr.

In the Bible's Acts of the Apostles, we read about Saul's amazing conversion (chapters 9, 22, 26). What happened?

One day, Paul was on his way to the city of Damascus to hunt down more Christians. Suddenly, a great light shone all around him and he was knocked to the ground. He was struck blind; and he heard a voice say, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"

Saul answered, "Who are you, Sir?" And the voice said, "I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting." Saul was shocked and confused. After a few seconds, he asked, "What do you want me to do?" Jesus told him to continue on to Damascus and there he would be told what to do.

At that moment, through the power of God, Saul received the gift to believe in Jesus. Weak and trembling, he reached out for help and his companions led him into Damascus. The light had blinded him temporarily. Now that he was blind he could really "see" the truth.

And Jesus had come personally to meet him, to invite him to conversion. Saul became a great lover of Jesus. He was baptized and changed his name to Paul to show that he was a changed person. Now he thought only of helping everyone know and love Jesus, the Savior.

We know Saul by his Roman name of Paul. He is called "the apostle." He traveled all over the world, preaching the Good News and led so many people to Jesus. He worked and suffered.

His enemies tried to kill him several times but nothing could stop him. When he was old and tired, he was once again put in prison and sentenced to die. Still St. Paul was happy to suffer and even die for Christ.

This great apostle wrote wonderful letters to the Christians. They are in the Bible. These letters, called epistles, are read often during the Liturgy of the Word at Mass.


19 posted on 01/25/2014 7:26:16 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Mark
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Mark 16
15 And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Et dixit eis : Euntes in mundum universum prædicate Evangelium omni creaturæ. και ειπεν αυτοις πορευθεντες εις τον κοσμον απαντα κηρυξατε το ευαγγελιον παση τη κτισει
16 He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. Qui crediderit, et baptizatus fuerit, salvus erit : qui vero non crediderit, condemnabitur. ο πιστευσας και βαπτισθεις σωθησεται ο δε απιστησας κατακριθησεται
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. Signa autem eos qui crediderint, hæc sequentur : in nomine meo dæmonia ejicient : linguis loquentur novis : σημεια δε τοις πιστευσασιν ταυτα παρακολουθησει εν τω ονοματι μου δαιμονια εκβαλουσιν γλωσσαις λαλησουσιν καιναις
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. serpentes tollent : et si mortiferum quid biberint, non eis nocebit : super ægros manus imponent, et bene habebunt. οφεις αρουσιν καν θανασιμον τι πιωσιν ου μη αυτους βλαψη επι αρρωστους χειρας επιθησουσιν και καλως εξουσιν

20 posted on 01/25/2014 12:35:12 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
15. And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.
16. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believed not shall be damned.
17. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

AUG. But how was this done the last time? The last occasion on which the Apostles saw the Lord upon earth happened forty days after the resurrection; but would He then have upbraided them for not believing those who had seen Him risen, when they themselves had so often seen Him after His resurrection? It remains therefore that we should understand that Mark wished to say it in few words, and said for the last time, because it was the last time that He showed Himself that day, as night was coming on, when the disciples returned from the country into Jerusalem, and found, as Luke says, the eleven and those who were with them, speaking together concerning the resurrection of our Lord.

But there were some there who did not believe; when these then were sitting at meat, (as Mark says,) and were still speaking, (as Luke relates,) The Lord stood in the midst of them, and said to them, Peace be to you; as Luke and John say. The rebuke therefore which Mark here mentions, must have been amongst those words, which Luke and John say, that the Lord at that time spoke to the disciples. But another question is raised, how Mark says that He appeared when the eleven sat at meat, if the time was the first part of the night on the Lord's day, when John plainly says that Thomas was not with them, who, we believe, had gone out, before the Lord came in to them, after those two had returned from the village, and spoken with the eleven, as we find in Luke's Gospel.

But Luke in his relation leaves room for supposing that Thomas went out first, while they spoke these things, and that the Lord entered afterwards; Mark however from his saying, for the last time he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, forces us to believe that he was there, unless indeed, though one of them was absent he chose to call them the eleven, because the company of the Apostles was then called by this number, before Matthias was chosen into the place of Judas. Or if this be a harsh way of understanding it, let us understand that it means that after many appearances, He showed Himself for the last time, that is, on the fortieth clay, to the Apostles, as they sat at meat, and that since He was about to ascend from them, He rather wished on that day to reprove them for not having believed those who had seen Him risen before seeing Him themselves, because after His ascension even the Gentiles on their preaching were to believe a Gospel, which they had not seen.

And so the same Mark immediately after that rebuke says, And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. And lower down, He that believes not shall be condemned. Since then they were to preach this, were not they themselves to be first rebuked, because before they saw the Lord they had not believed those to who He had first appeared?

GREG. Another reason also why our Lord rebuked His disciples, when He left them as to His bodily presence, was, that the words which He spoke on leaving them might remain more deeply impressed, upon the hearts of His hearers.

PSEUDO-JEROME; But He rebukes their want of faith, that faith might take its place; He rebukes the hardness of their stony heart, that the fleshy heart, full of love, might take its place.

GREG. After rebuking the hardness of their hearts, let us hear the words of advice which He speaks. For it goes on: Go you into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. Every man must be understood by every creature; for man partakes something of every creature; he has existence as have stones, life as trees, feeling as animals, understanding as have Angels. For the Gospel is preached to every creature, because he is taught by it, for whose sake all are created, whom all things are in some way like, and from whom therefore they are not alien. By the name of every creature also every nation of the Gentiles may be meant. For it had been said before, Go not into the way of the Gentiles. But now it is said, Preach the Gospel to every creature, so that the preaching of the Apostles which was thrust aside by Judea, might be an assistance to us, since Judea, had haughtily rejected it, thus witnessing to her own damnation.

THEOPHYL. Or else; to every creature, that is, whether believing or unbelieving. It goes on: He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. For it is not enough to believe, for he who believes and is not baptized, but is a catechumen, has not yet attained to perfect salvation.

GREG. But perhaps some one may say in himself, I have already believed, I shall be saved. He says what is true, if he keeps his faith by works; for that is a true faith, which does not contradict by its deeds what it says in words. There follows: But he that believes not shall be damned.

BEDE; What shall we say here about infants, who by reason of their age cannot yet believe; for as to older persons there is no question. In the Church then of our Savior children believe by others, as also they drew from others the sins which are remitted to them in baptism. It goes on: And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents.

THEOPHYL. That is, they shall scatter before them serpents, whether intellectual or sensible, as it is said, you shall tread upon serpents and scorpions, which is understood spiritually. But it may also mean sensible serpents, as when Paul received no hurt from the viper. There follows: And if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. We read of many such cases in history, for many persons have drank poison unhurt, by guarding themselves with the sign of Christ. It goes on: They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

GREG. Are we then without faith because we cannot do these signs? Nay, but these things were necessary in the beginning of the Church, for the faith of believers was to be nourished by miracles, that it might increase. Thus we also, when we plant groves, pour water upon them, until we see that they have grown strong in the earth; but when once they have firmly fixed their roots, we leave off irrigating them. These signs and miracles have other things which we ought to consider more minutely.

For Holy Church does every day in spirit what then the Apostles did in body; for when her Priests by the grace of exorcism lay their hands on believers, and forbid the evil spirits to dwell in their minds, what do they, but cast out devils? And the faithful who have left earthly words, and whose tongues sound forth the Holy Mysteries, speak a new language; they who by their good warnings take away evil from the hearts of others, take up serpents; and when they are hearing words of pestilent persuasion, without being at all drawn aside to evil doing, they drink a deadly thing, but it will never hurt them; whenever they see their neighbors growing weak in good works, and by their good example strengthen their life, they lay their hands on the sick, that they may recover. And all these miracles are greater in proportion as they are spiritual, and by them souls and not bodies are raised.

Catena Aurea Mark 16
21 posted on 01/25/2014 12:35:35 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


The Conversion of St Paul

Parmigianino (1503 – 1540)

Oil on canvas, 177,5 x 128,5 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

22 posted on 01/25/2014 12:36:03 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: All
CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Saturday, January 25

Liturgical Color: White

Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St.
Paul. He persecuted Christians until a vision
of Jesus caused him to convert. He went on
to be one of the greatest missionaries of the
Church. Many of his letters have become
books in the Bible.

23 posted on 01/25/2014 3:51:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

 

Daily Readings for:January 25, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, who taught the whole world through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul, draw us, we pray, nearer to you through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today, and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

RECIPES

o    Insalata Di Tarocci

o    Almond Horseshoe Cakes

o    Apostle Cookies

o    Crown Cake

o    Genoise Book Cake

o    Hobby Horse Cake

o    Horseshoe Cookies

o    St. Martin's Horseshoes

ACTIVITIES

o    Apostle Cookies

o    Nameday Prayers and Ideas for St. Paul the Apostle

o    St. Paul and the Epistle Charades

o    St. Paul's Day, St. Paul's Cathedral, London

o    St. Paul's Family Tree

o    The Veneration of Saints

PRAYERS

o    Litany of Saint Paul the Apostle

o    Novena for Church Unity

o    Novena for Purification

o    Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity

o    Prayer to St. Paul the Apostle

o    A Prayer to St. Paul for the Printing of Good Books

o    The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

LIBRARY

o    Life of Saint Paul before and after Damascus | Pope Benedict XVI

o    St Paul and the Church | Pope Benedict XVI

o    St. Paul and the Apostles | Pope Benedict XVI

o    St. Paul Apostle to the Gentiles | Unknown

o    St. Paul's New Outlook | Pope Benedict XVI

o    The Keys of Forgiveness: The Loving Power of the Successor of Peter | Sandro Magister

o    The Life of St. Paul | Salvatore J. Ciresi

o    Ut Unum Sint (That They May Be One) | Pope John Paul II

·         Ordinary Time: January 25th

·         Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle

Old Calendar: Conversion of St. Paul

St. Paul, named Saul at his circumcision, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, was born at Tarsus, the capitol of Cilicia. He was a Roman citizen. He was brought up as a strict Jew, and later became a violent persecutor of the Christians. While on his way to Damascus to make new arrests of Christians, he was suddenly converted by a miraculous apparition of Our Lord. From a fierce persecutor he became the great Apostle of the Gentiles. He made three missionary journeys which brought him to the great centers of Asia Minor and southern Europe, and made many converts. Fourteen of his Epistles are found in the New Testament. He was beheaded in Rome in 66, and his body is kept in the Basilica of St. Paul near the Ostian Way.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity


St. Paul
St. Paul was born at Tarsus, Cilicia, of Jewish parents who were descended from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a Roman citizen from birth. As he was "a young man" at the stoning of Stephen and "an old man" when writing to Philemon, about the year 63, he was probably born around the beginning of the Christian era.

To complete his schooling, St. Paul was sent to Jerusalem, where he sat at the feet of the learned Gamaliel and was educated in the strict observance of the ancestral Law. Here he also acquired a good knowledge of exegesis and was trained in the practice of disputation. As a convinced and zealous Pharisee, he returned to Tarsus before the public life of Christ opened in Palestine.

Some time after the death of Our Lord, St. Paul returned to Palestine. His profound conviction made his zeal develop to a religious fanaticism against the infant Church. He took part in the stoning of the first martyr, St. Stephen, and in the fierce persecution of the Christians that followed.

Entrusted with a formal mission from the high priest, he departed for Damascus to arrest the Christians there and bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was nearing Damascus, about noon, a light from heaven suddenly blazed round him. Jesus with His glorified body appeared to him and addressed him, turning him away from his apparently successful career.

An immediate transformation was wrought in the soul of St. Paul. He was suddenly converted to the Christian Faith. He was baptized, changed his name from Saul to Paul, and began travelling and preaching the Faith. He was martyred as an Apostle in Rome around 65 AD.

— Excerpted from Lives of the Saints

Patron: Against snakes; authors; Cursillo movement; evangelists; hailstorms; hospital public relations; journalists; lay people; missionary bishops; musicians; poisonous snakes; public relations personnel; public relations work; publishers; reporters; rope braiders; rope makers; saddlemakers; saddlers; snake bites; tent makers; writers; Malta; Rome; Poznan, Poland; newspaper editorial staff Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Diocese of Covington, Kentucky; Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama; Diocese of Las Vegas, Nevada; Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island; Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Symbols: Book and sword; three fountains; two swords; scourge; serpent and a fire; armour of God; twelve scrolls with names of his Epistles; phoenix; palm tree; shield of faith; sword; book.

Often portrayed as: Thin-faced elderly man with a high forehead, receding hairline and long pointed beard; man holding a sword and a book; man with 3 springs of water nearby.


The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Day Eight: Together... we proclaim the gospel

Together we proclaim anew the good news prophesied in Isaiah, fulfilled in our Lord Jesus, preached by the Apostle Paul, and received by the Church. Facing honestly the differences we have and the labels of denomination we embrace, we must never lose sight of the common mandate we have in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul is sent "to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power" (1 Cor 1:17). The path to unity is to be found in the power of the cross.

The Gospel we proclaim is made tangible and relevant to us as we bear witness to the work of Jesus Christ in our own lives and the life of the Christian community.

Vatican Resources


24 posted on 01/25/2014 4:02:24 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Acts 22:3-16

The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? (Acts 22:7)

The Scriptures are filled with miraculous stories about people whose lives were changed when they had a personal encounter with God. Most of these people were introduced to the Lord by someone else. Andrew took his brother, Peter, to Jesus. Peter reached out to Cornelius. Samuel anointed Saul and David. Philip evangelized an Ethiopian official. And the list goes on and on.

But Paul didn’t have a middle-man. Jesus miraculously appeared to him on the road to Damascus. And what a conversion it was! Paul must be the patron saint of dramatic conversions because his is one of the most dramatic before-and-after stories in the whole Bible.

So what is conversion? First and foremost, it is a grace from God. People experience conversion because the Holy Spirit reveals God’s love, his mercy, and his holiness to their hearts. But there is a human dimension to conversion as well. Conversion happens as a person decides to turn away from sin and turn to the Lord.

Paul’s conversion came when he realized that what he thought was a good thing—persecuting believers in Christ—was really a sin. God made it clear that he had been persecuting Jesus as well as innocent Christians. And that revelation moved him to devote his whole life to spreading the good news that he had just experienced. From that moment on, the primary goal of Paul’s life was to bring as many people as possible to conversion.

If St. Paul were here today, he would not hesitate to ask us if we have given our lives to Christ. But he wouldn’t stop there. He would also urge us to run the race every day, living a life of holiness and service to the Lord (2 Timothy 4:7). He wouldn’t stop there, either. He would also tell us to get out into the world and share our faith with everyone we meet. It’s how Paul lived, and it’s how God wants us to live.

“St. Paul, pray for us. May we all become like you, disciples who witness to Jesus everywhere we go.”

Psalm 117:1-2; Mark 16:15-18


25 posted on 01/25/2014 4:39:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

HIS NAME WAS PAUL [ACTS 9:1-22] – CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL, 25 JANUARY

Conversion_of_Saul_28-440

Of all the women and men we read about in the Bible, who more fully lived Jesus’ command in today’s reading than Paul? He went from hating Jesus to loving Him and giving his life so that everyone would come to know His wonderful love.

The story of Paul’s conversion can fill us with great hope. He was guilty of a very serious wrongdoing, i.e. persecuting the followers of Jesus. Yet Jesus showed him mercy and turned him into one of the greatest saints of all time. If He could do that for the “Terror of Tarsus”, imagine what He can do for us! Today we celebrate the conversion of a man who was arrogant, pushy, stubborn, and sometimes violent. His conversion is an encouraging sign that the mercy and grace of Jesus can change the worst of sinners.

With Paul, however, we celebrate not only the dramatic conversion at the beginning of his walk with Jesus but also the ongoing work of conversion in his life. We might imagine Paul as a man who never lost his temper, was always kind and gentle, and never made a mistake. But the New Testament gives us a rather different picture. Paul publicly confronted Peter in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14). He got into a fight with Barnabas over John Mark that led to a division between these once-close brothers (Acts 15:36-40). He even called the Galatians – people he was called to pastor with the love of Christ – “foolish” (Galatians 3:1).

Like all of us, Paul had some character faults that took years for God to iron out. He was not always a model of perfection. Rather, he was a real human being who developed from “self-love” to “love for Jesus”. It may have taken a lifetime, but God remained faithful. And Paul kept fighting, pressing on to become more like Jesus. No matter where we are in our walk with the Lord, even if we fail miserably over and over again, God will work in us if we keep turning back to Him. We can all be transformed just as powerfully as Paul was.

26 posted on 01/25/2014 4:44:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Marriage=One Man and One Woman 'Til Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for January 25, 2014:

Today we celebrate the conversion of St. Paul. Conversion is an ongoing process for all of us. Talk with your beloved today about “conversion moments” you’ve experienced – big or small.

27 posted on 01/25/2014 8:00:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Vultus Christi

Led on by God’s Providence

Saturday, 25 January 2014 17:42

In Doubt Go to Mary

Catherine de Bar, now Sister Saint John the Evangelist, novice in the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annonciade, turns to Our Lady and asks to be enlightened with regard to her true vocation. Catherine is troubled by persistent doubts.  It is noteworthy that, already, whenever Catherine is troubled, or in crisis, or doubt, or fear, she turns spontaneously to the Blessed Virgin Mary as to her ordinary recourse. She speaks to the Mother of God with a brutal honesty:

Would it not have been better for me to remain in the world, if I am not going to find here the means to serve you with more purity and holiness?

In the grip of her crisis, Catherine ponders in her heart what manner of response Our Lady might make to her; with intense devotion she prays the Ave Maria. She waits for light to be given her. Shall she make profession or return to the world? As she meditates the Ave Maria, Catherine discovers spiritual benefits of the religious life that, until this point, she had not seen. The Angelic Salutation (the Ave Maria, or Hail Mary) seems to be illumined for her from within.

Staying the Course

Paradoxically, Catherine is also haunted by something her parents said when she, as a small girl, hesitated to obey: “You will never be a religious!” Is this, in fact, coming true? Is she not suited to this way of life?  Should she perhaps content herself with being a laysister? In any event, her eyes are giving her some trouble again; will she be able to read the Divine Office? Is she not too vivacious for the monotony of claustral life? All of these contradictory thoughts confuse her. She opens up to her her superior. “What? A laysister? Certainly not. Monotony? My dear child, would that you might have the luxury of always doing the same thing!”

Sister Saint John the Evangelist has to make up her mind. She obtains permission to spend forty days in solitary retreat! (Today this would be considered most extraordinary for a novice. It might even be seen as a sign of eccentricity, or imbalance, or a ploy for attention.) During this time Sister Saint John prays almost constantly; she adds the hairshirt and other austerities to her supplications. Finally, on the night before she is to pronounce her vows, she has a dream that she will later relate to her director, Father John Chrysostom.  She sees herself led by angels into the presence of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, seated upon a throne. Humbly she pays her respects to the Mother of God, who, in turn, offers them to the Most Holy Trinity. Christ Jesus receives  her as His spouse and signs the contract of this alliance in His own Blood. Sister Saint John wakes up, hurries to the monastic church, and spends the rest of the night there, her heart all ablaze with love.

Professed as an Annonciade

The next day — was it 25 March 1633? We are not certain — Catherine de Bar makes her profession as an Annonciade, amidst the customary solemn rites. A multitude of people, attracted by the beauty of the ceremony, are in attendance. The curé of the parish of Bruyères assists at the celebration.  He relates that, at a certain moment, the sun shone through the stained–glass windows of the church, causing a wonderful light to surround the head of the newly–professed Annonciade, and to reflect on the wall. The Venerable Henri–Marie Boudon, later archdeacon of Évreux, spoke of it in 1654 as an extraordinary mark of the graces that God held in reserve for His handmaid.

The Broken Ring

Immediately after her profession, Catherine, now Mother Saint John the Evangelist, enters into ten days of retreat; in the Order of the Annonciade, these days of profound recollection are known as The Silence of the Bridegroom. It is a time of spousal intimacy with Christ. During Catherine’s post–profession retreat something happens that, once again, troubles her sensitive soul. Inexplicably, the ring of profession, placed on her finger as a sign of her bridal covenant with Christ, breaks apart. Not wanting to violate her sacred silence, Catherine shows the broken ring to her superior, Mother Angélique, indicates by signs that she is not responsible for its being broken. Newly professed, Catherine’s peace is already perturbed; she imagines that the broken ring signifies that God has rejected her. Wisely, Catherine’s superior suggests that the broken ring may well signify that this profession is not Catherine’s final one. Could it not perhaps mean that she will pass into another Order? When Mother Angélique hands the ring back to Catherine, it is once again intact. It is the same ring, broken for a time, and now effortlessly put back together.

Ups and Downs

Any reader who has taken the time to follow Catherine’s journey thus far will have noticed the richness and complexity of her personality, as well as her weaknesses. Catherine de Bar is given, in some way, to extreme emotions. She wants certain things intensely and, once she has them, experiences dissatisfaction and ennui. Only months before her profession she wonders if she is not to return to the world. She passes from consolations to desolation and back again. She goes back and forth between wanting the life of an Annonciade in Bruyère and craving the solitude of a recluse. She can be winning and cheerful and, just as easily, disconcerting and troubled. She believes in dreams and premonitions. She sees very few things as mere happenstance.

The Gift of Authority

It would seem that Catherine de Bar is her best self when she is in charge of things. Responsibility does not crush her; it seems to stimulate her creativity. Responsibility brings out her best qualities as it did when, for example, while still a novice, she assumed the care of the community struck down by the plague, and assured the regularity of the Hours. This trait of personality is often found in those whom God has destined to undertake a new work in the Church. One can hardly imagine Saint Teresa of Avila, or Mother Yvonne–Aimée, or someone like Abbot Marmion in a subsidiary position with naught to do but execute orders from above. This is not to say that such holy people are not obedient; it is, rather, to affirm that they flourish most when invested with authority and able to organise their own energies, time, and initiatives while, at the same time, stimulating others and calling forth their gifts.

This does not mean that Catherine de Bar is not humble.  Her humility is profound and real; with the passing years it will become an uninterrupted indentification with the humble Jesus, silent and hidden in the Sacred Host. She will protest, even into the last years of her life that she wants to be freed from the burden of authority. At the same time, being in authority gives her the space, and time, and freedom to bow beneath the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost and to be extraordinarily fruitful for souls.

In the Care of Lady Abbess Mary

The one constant that emerges from Catherine’s life thus far is her confidence in the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In every crisis she goes to Mary. Mary is Catherine’s counselor, her comforter, her teacher and, already, her Lady Abbess, the mother, gentle and wise, to whom she can, and does, tell everything.


28 posted on 01/25/2014 8:07:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Regnum Christi

Caught by the Mission
| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, apostle

Mark 16:15-18

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I renew my faith in the power of your word. I come to you today to listen to you and allow you to lead me. I renew my trust in your mercy: You are constantly looking upon me and the world with love. I want to love you in return and lead others to love you.

Petition: Fill me with the power of your good news, Lord.

1. The World Needs Messengers of Hope: Jesus Christ is the message that everyone vitally needs. He is God’s message to man, the message that tells people that God loves them deeply and offers them a way to true life and salvation. Our world often looks for love in the wrong places; it needs to find the answer to its deepest desires in Christ. But who will spread this message? Those like St. Paul who take Christ’s love seriously and see that they, too, can become messengers of hope. Am I meant to be a messenger of hope?

2. God Acts Powerfully in Those Who Trust Him: St. Paul is an example of what God can do through someone who trusts in him. St. Paul valued the grace Christ gave him. He put his life totally in the hands of Christ and was not afraid to proclaim him to everyone he met. Even though Paul faced many difficulties, his work produced enormous fruit and helped extend the number of Christian communities. Do I believe that Christ can work through me as I participate in the New Evangelization? In what ways can I trust him more?

3. Our Opportunity Is Now: St. Paul and the first apostles did not wait until all the circumstances were right before beginning evangelization. Once Christ had touched their lives and once he had given them the command to begin, they began right away. The Church has asked us to begin again today. Like St. Paul, we must feel that the fire of Christ’s love impels us (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14). We cannot wait until the circumstances are favorable; we must do whatever we can now. We have already experienced Christ’s love. Why are we waiting to share it? What holds me back from a greater surrender to the work of evangelization?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, like Saint Paul I have been touched by your love, and I have heard your command to go out and spread the good news. I renew my trust in your companionship, and I resolve to do all I can to bring your Gospel to others. Help me to keep my eyes on you.

Resolution: Today I will share a thought from the Gospel or from the Holy Father’s teaching with at least two people whom I encounter.


29 posted on 01/25/2014 8:10:24 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Bread One Body

One Bread, One Body

Language: English | Español

All Issues > Volume 30, Issue 1

<< Saturday, January 25, 2014 >> Conversion of St. Paul
 
Acts 22:3-16 or
Acts 9:1-22

View Readings
Psalm 117:1-2 Mark 16:15-18
Similar Reflections
 

MAKE MY DAY

 
"Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation. The man who believes in it and accepts baptism will be saved; the man who refuses to believe it will be condemned." —Mark 16:15-16
 

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the conversion of St. Paul. Are you thrilled or at least happy to celebrate Paul's conversion or anyone's conversion? How much do you want all "to be saved and come to know the truth"? (1 Tm 2:4) Are you willing to become "the slave of all so as to win over as many as possible"? (1 Cor 9:19) Will you make yourself "all things to all men in order to save at least some of them"? (1 Cor 9:22)

Most people are more interested in who wins the Super Bowl than in who is converting to Christ. Most people desire to watch the news on TV more than hear the good news of the Bible. How many Catholics prefer to eat breakfast rather than to receive Holy Communion?

If you suffer tragedy after tragedy like Job did, do you still consider the sufferings of the present as nothing (see Rm 8:18) compared to the joy of seeing one sinner repent? (see Lk 15:7, 10) Or does one little problem outweigh in importance all the conversions in the world, even your own conversion? Paul's conversion, or anyone's conversion, is so important that we should rejoice in it forever — even in the midst of all kinds of sufferings.

What makes your day? Is it conversion or perversion?

 
Prayer: Father, convert me. Use me to convert many others.
Promise: "Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized." —Acts 9:18
Praise: St. Paul sent many Christians to prison and death (Acts 26:10). Jesus changed him from persecutor to evangelist. Praise You, Jesus! "He who was formerly persecuting us is now preaching the faith he tried to destroy" (Gal 1:23).

30 posted on 01/25/2014 8:23:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

31 posted on 01/25/2014 8:29:51 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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