Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wednesday July 4, 2012 Altruism, Mt 8: 38-34, St Elisabeth of Aragon, Declaration of Independence

Wednesday July 4, 2012 
Altruism,  Mt 8: 38-34, St Elisabeth of Aragon, Declaration of Independence

Good Day Bloggers! Happy 236th Birthday America!

GM FB! Wishing everyone a Blessed Independence Day! Let us remember on this "We the People" Independence day the privilege of our unalienable rights of EVERY American citizen: The Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness...

Recently and sadly across our nation over the last year, family, friends and neighbors have become foes over dissident political views...Don't let politicians and political issues divide us, respect the liberty of opinion...Our motto says: "In God We Trust" but we can't continue to rely on the blind faith we entrusted in discordant and schismatic politicians as the saying also goes "God helps those who help themselves"....Our forefather's built this country and evolved on the motto: "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" regardless of race, creed, gender or political preference ...Though our opinion on certain issues may differ, all Congressional decisions affects each citizens as an ensemble, so let's UNITE as a Nation in the most appropriate and beneficial way: Put the power of liberty back into the hands of the "We the People...REGISTER TO VOTE, today, and then EXERCISE YOUR PRIVILEGE "TO VOTE" in every election from municipal to federal....and yes, ONE VOTE DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE...if you review all the past elections over the last 25 years, voter turnout is very poor averaging 53%-65% per election which means 35-47% of our citizens are NOT Voting... America in NOT Politicians, they forget they work for us when "We, the people," voted to give them a job to represent us. Sadly, representation has evolved into a forced majeure (superior control). Day by day our Liberty (our power of choice) is being restricted. We have allowed through the escalation of nonvoters, the dwindling of voting on issues and the increased power of All Branches of Government for choices to be made and forced on us rather than "We the People" having the liberty (freedom) to vote and choose what we feel as a citizen, a community, a nation what is best for us...If continue to lose our privilege to Vote, we will risk losing our "IN" in Independence....America is "WE THE PEOPLE" - Your VOTE is your VOICE....Your VOTE is Your LIBERTY....


P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7..

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  ALTRUISM, [al-troo-iz-uhm]

  1. The principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others. The philosophical doctrine that right action is that which produces the greatest benefit to others. May God Bless America and Bless us with Altruist Leaders!



July 4th, Gospel Reading - Matthew 8: 28-34  

When Jesus reached the territory of the Gadarenes on the other side, two evil ones came towards him out of the tombs -- they were so dangerously violent that nobody could use that path. Suddenly they shouted, 'What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the time?' Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding, and the devils pleaded with Jesus, 'If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.' And he said to them, 'Go then,' and they came out and made for the pigs; and at that the whole herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water. The herdsmen ran off and made for the city, where they told the whole story, including what had happened to the evil ones. Suddenly the whole city set out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw him they implored him to leave their neighborhood.


• Today’s Gospel stresses the power of Jesus over the devil. In our text, the devil or the power of evil is associated to three things: 1) To the cemetery, the place of the dead. To death which kills life!  2) To the pig, that was considered an impure animal.  The impurity which separates from God! 3) With the sea, which was considered like the symbol of chaos before creation?  The chaos which destroys nature.  The Gospel of Mark, from which Matthew takes his information, associates the power of evil to a fourth element which is the word Legion, (Mc 5, 9), the name of the army of the Roman Empire.  The Empire oppressed and exploited the people.  Thus, it is understood that the victory of Jesus over the Devil had an enormous importance for the life of the communities of the years 70’s, the time when Matthew wrote his Gospel. The communities lived oppressed and marginalized, because of the official ideology of the Roman Empire and of the Pharisees which was renewed. The same significance and the same importance continue to be valid today.

• Matthew 8, 28: The force of evil oppresses, ill-treats and alienates persons. This first verse describes the situation of the people before the coming of Jesus.  In describing the behaviour of the two possessed persons, the Evangelist associates the force of evil to the cemetery and to death.  It is a mortal power, without a goal, without direction, without control and a destructing power, which causes everyone to fear.  It deprives the persons from their conscience, from self control and autonomy.

• Matthew 8, 29: Before the simple presence of Jesus the force of evil breaks up and disintegrates. Here is described the first contact between Jesus and the two possessed men.  We see that there is total disproportion. The power, that at first seemed to be so strong, melts and disintegrates before Jesus.  They shouted: “What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time?” they become aware that they are loosing their power.

• Matthew 8, 30-32: The power of evil is impure and has no autonomy, nor consistency.  The Devil does not have power over his movements.  It only obtains the power to enter into the pigs with the permission of Jesus! Once they enter into the pigs, the whole herd charged down the cliff into the sea and perished in the water. According to the opinion of the people, the pig was a symbol of impurity which prevented the human being to relate with God and of feeling accepted by him.  The sea was the symbol of the existing chaos before creation and which according to the belief of that time, continued to threatened life.  This episode of the pigs which threw themselves into the sea is strange and difficult to understand. But the message is very clear: before Jesus, the power of evil has no autonomy, no consistency.  Anyone who believes in Jesus has already conquered the power of evil and should not fear!

• Matthew 8, 33-34: The reaction of the people of that place. The herdsmen of the pigs went to the city and told the story to the people, and they all set out to go and meet Jesus. Mark says that they saw the “possessed” man sitting down, dressed and with perfect judgment” (Mk 5, 15). But they remained without the pigs.  This is why they asked Jesus to leave from their neighbourhood. For them the pigs were more important than the person who recovered his senses.

• The expulsion of the evil ones.  At the time of Jesus, the words Devil or Satan were used to indicate the power of evil which drew persons away from the right path. For example, when Peter tried to deviate Jesus, he was Satan for Jesus (Mk 8, 33).  Other times, those same words were used to indicate the political power of the Roman Empire which oppressed and exploited people.  For example, in the Apocalypse, the Roman Empire is identified with “Devil or Satan” (Ap 12, 9).  While other times, people used the same words to indicate the evils and the illnesses.  It was spoken about devil, dumb spirit, deaf spirit, impure or unclean spirit, etc.  There was great fear! In the time of Matthew, in the second half of the first century, the fear of demons increased.  Some religions, from the East diffused worship toward the spirits.  They taught that some of our mistaken gestures could irritate the spirits, and these, in order to revenge, could prevent us from having access to God and deprived us from divine benefits.  For this reason, through rites and writings, intense prayer and complicated ceremonies, people sought to calm down these spirits or demons, in such a way that they would not cause harm to life.  These religions, instead of liberating people, nourished fear and anguish. Now, one of the objectives of the Good News of Jesus was to help people to liberate themselves from this fear.  The coming of the Kingdom of God meant the coming of a stronger power.  Jesus is “the strongest man” who can conquer Satan, the power of evil, snatching away from its hands, humanity imprisoned by fear (cf. Mk 3, 27).  For this reason the Gospels insist very much on the victory of Jesus over the power of evil, over the devil, over Satan, over sin and over death.  It was in order to encourage the communities to overcome this fear of the devil!  And today, who can say: “I am completely free?” Nobody!  Then, if I am not totally free, there is some part in me which is possessed by other powers.  How can these forces be cast away?  The message of today’s Gospel continues to be valid for us. 

Reference: Information courtesy of Order of Carmelites, Italy.

Featured Items by Litany Lane 

Saint of the Day: St Elisabeth of Aragon (Portugal)

Charity of St Elizabeth of Aragon

Feast day: July 4
Patron Saint of the Third Order of St. Francis


Elizabeth of Aragon, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, T.O.S.F.[2] (1271 – 4 July 1336; Elisabeth in Catalan, Isabel in Aragonese, Portuguese and Spanish), was queen consort of Portugal, a tertiary of the Franciscan Order and is venerated as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

She was named after her great-aunt Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, but was known in Portuguese and Spanish as Isabel. She was the younger sister of King Alfonso III of Aragon and King James II of Aragon. She was also the older sister of King Frederick III of Sicily.

Elizabeth showed an early enthusiasm for religion. She said the full Divine Office daily, fasted and did other penance, as well as attended twice-daily choral Masses. Religious fervor was common in her family, as she could count several members of her family who were already venerated as saints. The most notable example is her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, T.O.S.F., after whom she was named.


Her marriage to King Denis of Portugal was contracted in 1281 when she was 12 years old, receiving the towns of Óbidos, Abrantes and Porto de Mós as part of her dowry.[3] It was only in 1288 that the wedding was celebrated. Denis was 26 years old, while Elizabeth was 17.[3] Denis, a poet and statesman, known as the Rei Lavrador (English: Farmer King), because he planted a large pine forest near Leiria to prevent the soil degradation that threatened the region.

Elizabeth quietly pursued the regular religious practices of her youth and was devoted to the poor and sick. Naturally, such a life was a reproach to many around her and caused ill will in some quarters. A popular story is told of how her husband's jealousy was aroused by an evil-speaking page, of how he condemned the queen's supposed guilty accomplice to a cruel death and was finally convinced of her innocence by the strange accidental substitution of her accuser for the intended victim.

Elizabeth took an active interest in Portuguese politics and was a decisive conciliator during the negotiations concerning the Treaty of Alcañices, signed by Denis and Sancho IV of Castile in 1297 (which fixed the borders between the two countries).[3] In 1304, the Queen and Denis returned to Spain to arbitrate between Fernando IV of Castile and James II of Aragon, brother of Elizabeth.[3]

They had two children:
  • a daughter named Constance, who married King Ferdinand IV of Castile;
  • a son Afonso (who later became King Afonso IV of Portugal).
Elizabeth would serve as intermediary between her husband and Afonso, during the Civil War between 1322 and 1324. The Infante greatly resented the king, whom he accused of favoring the king's illegitimate son, Afonso Sanches.[3] Repulsed to Alenquer, which supported the Infante, Denis of Portugal was prevented from killing his son through the intervention of the Queen. As legend holds, in 1323, Elizabeth, mounted on a mule, positioned herself between both opposing armies on the field of Alvalade in order to prevent the combat.[3] Peace returned in 1324, once the illegitimate son was sent into exile, and the Infante swore loyalty to the king.[3]

Dowager Queen

Isabella of Aragon, St Elizabeth of Hungary
After Denis' death in 1325, Elizabeth retired to the monastery of the Poor Clare nuns, now known as the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (which she had founded in 1314) in Coimbra. She joined the Third Order of St. Francis, devoting the rest of her life to the poor and sick in obscurity. During the great famine in 1293, she donated flour from her cellars to the starving in Coimbra, but was also known for distributing small gifts, paying the dowries of poor girls, educating the children of poor nobles, and was a benefactor of various hospitals (Coimbra, Santarém and Leiria) and of religious projects (such as the Trinity Convent in Lisbon, chapels in Leiria and Óbidos, and the cloister in Alcobaça.[4]

She was called to act once more as a peacemaker in 1336, when Alfonso IV marched his troops against King Alfonso XI of Castile, to whom he had married his daughter Maria, and who had neglected and ill-treated her. In spite of age and weakness, the Queen-dowager insisted on hurrying to Estremoz, where the two kings' armies were drawn up. She again stopped the fighting and caused terms of peace to be arranged. But the exertion brought on her final illness. As soon as her mission was completed, she took to her bed with a fever from which she died on 4 July, in the castle of Estremoz.

Although Denis' tomb was located in Odivelas, Elizabeth was buried in the Convent of Santa Clara (later the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha) in Coimbra, in a magnificent Gothic sarcophagus. After frequent flooding by the Mondego River in the 17th century, the Poor Clares moved her mortal remains to the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova (also in Coimbra). Her body was transferred to the main chapel, where it was buried in a sarcophagus of silver and crystal.


Miracles were said to have followed upon her death. She was beatified in 1526 and canonized by Pope Urban VIII on 25 May 1625,[5] Her feast was inserted in the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints for celebration on 4 July. In the year 1694 Pope Innocent XII moved her feast to 8 July, so it would not conflict with the celebration of the Octave of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.[6] In 1955, Pope Pius XII abolished this octave.[7] The 1962 Roman Missal changed the rank of the feast from "Double" to "Third-Class Feast".[8] The 1969 reform of the Calendar classified the celebration as an optional memorial and restored it to 4 July. Her feast is also kept on the Franciscan Calendar of Saints

References: Information courtesy of Wikipedia 


  1. ^ a b "Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist.,Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1955, p.257
  2. ^ The name given to her in the Roman Missal
  3. ^ a b c d e f g João Ferreira (2010), p.30
  4. ^ João Ferreira (2010), p.31
  5. ^ Ott, Michael T. (1912). "Pope Urban VIII". The Catholic Encyclopedia. XV. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  6. ^ "Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 96
  7. ^ General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII
  8. ^ 3rd Class
  • Ferreira, João (2010), Histórias Rocambolescas da História de Portugal [Fantastic Stories of the History of Portugal] (6 ed.), Lisbon, Portugal: A Esfera dos Livros, ISBN 978-989-626-216-7
  • Hoever, Hugo, ed. (1955), Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year, New York, New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., pp. 511
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Elizabeth of Portugal". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 
  • "Saint Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal", Butler's Lives of the Saints



Today's Snippet:   The Declaration of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Our America Forefathers of Freedom:

The Signers of the Declaration of Indepence (each link is a short biography of the signer)

Here are short biographies of all 56 signers of the Declaration. The first, largest, and most famous signature is that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. The youngest signer was Edward Rutledge (age 26). Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest. Two future presidents signed: John Adams (second President) and Thomas Jefferson (third President).
Delaware   George ReadCaesar Rodney

Thomas McKean
Pennsylvania   George ClymerBenjamin Franklin

Robert MorrisJohn Morton

Benjamin RushGeorge Ross

James SmithJames Wilson

George Taylor
Massachusetts   John AdamsSamuel Adams

John HancockRobert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry
New Hampshire   Josiah BartlettWilliam Whipple

Matthew Thornton
Rhode Island   Stephen HopkinsWilliam Ellery
New York   Lewis MorrisPhilip Livingston

Francis LewisWilliam Floyd
Georgia   Button GwinnettLyman Hall

George Walton
Virginia   Richard Henry LeeFrancis Lightfoot Lee

Carter BraxtonBenjamin Harrison

Thomas JeffersonGeorge Wythe

Thomas Nelson, Jr.
North Carolina   William HooperJohn Penn

Joseph Hewes
South Carolina   Edward RutledgeArthur Middleton

Thomas Lynch, Jr.Thomas Heyward, Jr.
New Jersey   Abraham ClarkJohn Hart

Francis HopkinsonRichard Stockton

John Witherspoon
Connecticut   Samuel HuntingtonRoger Sherman

William WilliamsOliver Wolcott
Maryland   Charles CarrollSamuel Chase

Thomas StoneWilliam Paca
Reference: Information courtesy of