Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: ascetic, Psalms 24:1-6, Luke 5:1-11, St Eleutherius, Spoleto Italy

Thursday, September 6, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
ascetic, Psalms 24:1-6, Luke 5:1-11, St Eleutherius, Spoleto Italy

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

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:  ascetic   asc·et·ic  [uh-set-ik]

Origin:  1640–50;  < Greek askētikós  subject to rigorous exercise, hardworking, equivalent to askē-  ( see askesis) + -tikos -tic

1.a person who dedicates his or her life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme self-denial or self-mortification for religious reasons.
2.a person who leads an austerely simple life, especially one who abstains from the normal pleasures of life or denies himself or herself material satisfaction.
3.(in the early Christian church) a monk; hermit.
4. pertaining to asceticism.
5. rigorously abstinent; austere: an ascetic existence.
6. exceedingly strict or severe in religious exercises or self-mortification.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 24:1-6

1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all it contains, the world and all who live there;
2 it is he who laid its foundations on the seas, on the flowing waters fixed it firm.
3 Who shall go up to the mountain of Yahweh? Who shall take a stand in his holy place?
4 The clean of hands and pure of heart, whose heart is not set on vanities, who does not swear an oath in order to deceive.
5 Such a one will receive blessing from Yahweh, saving justice from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the people that seeks him, that seeks your presence, God of Jacob.Pause


Today's Gospel Reading - Gospel Reading - Luke 5:1-11

Now it happened that Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats at the water’s edge. The fishermen had got out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats - it was Simon’s - and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ Simon replied, ‘Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled both boats to sinking point. When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely awestruck at the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land they left everything and followed him.
• In today’s Gospel we have the call of Jesus to Peter. The Gospel of Mark places the call of the first disciples after the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus (Mk 1, 16-20). Luke after that the fame of Jesus was already extended across the whole region (Lk 4, 14). Jesus had cured many people (Lk 4, 40) and had preached in the Synagogues of all the country (Lk 4, 44). The people looked for him and the crowds pushed him on all sides in order to hear the Word of God (Lk 5, 1). Luke makes more understandable the call. In the first place, Peter can listen to the words of Jesus to the people. And then he is a witness of the miraculous catch of fish. It is only after this double surprising experience that he understands the call of Jesus. Peter responds, he abandons everything and becomes a “fisherman of men”.

• Luke 5, 1-3: Jesus teaches from the boat. People look for Jesus in order to listen to the Word of God. Many persons get together around Jesus, they make a throng around him. And Jesus seeks help from Simon Peter and from some of his companions who had just returned from fishing. He goes into the boat with them and responds to the expectation of the people, communicating to them the Word of God. Sitting down, Jesus takes the attitude of a Teacher and speaks from a fisherman’s boat. The novelty consists in the fact that he teaches, not only in the Synagogue for a choice public but in any place, where there are people who wish to listen, even on the seashore.

• Luke 5, 4-5: “But if you say so, I will pay out the nets”. When he had finished speaking, he addresses himself to Simon and encourages him to fish again. In Simon’s response there is frustration, tiredness and discouragement: “Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing!” But trustful in Jesus’ word, they throw in the nets again and continue the struggle. The word of Jesus has greater force for them than the experience of frustration of that night!

• Luke 5, 6-7: The result is surprising. The catch is so abundant that the nets are about to tear and the boat begins to sink. Simon needs the help of John and of James who are in the other boat. Nobody is complete in himself, alone. One community has to help the other. The conflict among the communities, both at the time of Luke as well as today, should be overcome in order to attain a common objective, which is the mission. The experience of the force of the word of Jesus which transforms is the axis around which the differences are embraced and overcome.

• Luke 5, 8-11: “Be fishermen of men”. The experience of the closeness of God in Jesus makes Peter understand who he is: “Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man!” Before God we are all sinners. Peter and his companions are afraid and, at the same time, they feel attracted to Jesus. Jesus drives away fear: “Do not be afraid!” He calls Peter and commits him to the mission, ordering him to be a fisherman of men. Peter experiences, quite concretely, that the word of Jesus is like the word of God. It is capable to bring about what it affirms. In Jesus those rough and tough labourers will have an experience of power, of courage, of trust. And so then, “they will abandon everything and follow Jesus!” Up until now it was only Jesus who announced the Good News of the Kingdom. Now other persons will be called and involved in the mission. This way in which Jesus works, in ‘equipe’, in a team is also Good News for the people.

• The episode of the catch of fish along the lake indicates the attraction and the force of the Word of Jesus. He attracts people (Lk 5, 1). He urges Peter to offer his boat to Jesus to be able to speak (Lk 5, 3). The word of Jesus is so strong that it overcomes the resistance in Peter, it convinces him to throw the nets into the sea again and there is the miraculous catch (Lk 5, 4-6). It overcomes in him the will to leave Jesus and attracts him to become a “fisherman of men” (Lk 5, 10). This is the way the Word of God acts in us, up until now!
Personal questions
• Where and how does the miraculous catch of fish take place today; the one which takes place paying attention to the word of Jesus?
• And they leaving everything followed Jesus. What do I have to leave in order to follow Jesus?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day: St Eleutherius of Spoleto, Abbot

Feast Day:  September 6
Patron Saint: n/a

A wonderful simplicity and spirit of compunction were the distinguishing virtues of this holy man. He was chosen abbot of St. Mark's near Spoleto, and favored by God with the gift of miracles. A child who was possessed by the devil, being delivered by being educated in his monastery, the Abbot said one day: "Since the child is among the servants of God, the devil dares not approach him." These words seemed to savor of vanity, and thereupon the devil again entered and tormented the child. 

The Abbot humbly confessed his fault, and fasted and prayed with his whole community till the child was again freed from the tyranny of the fiend. St. Gregory, the Great, not being able to fast on Easter-eve on account of extreme weakness, engaged this Saint to go with him to the church of St. Andrew's and offer up his prayers to God for his health, that he might join the faithful in that solemn practice of penance. 

Eleutherius prayed with many tears, and the Pope, coming out of the church, found that he was enabled to perform the fast as he desired. It is also said that St. Eleutherius raised a dead man to life. Resigning his abbacy, he died in St. Andrew's monastery in Rome about the year 585.


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippet :  Spoleto, Italy

Spoleto Italy
Spoleto (Latin Spoletium) is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. It is 20 km (12 mi) S. of Trevi, 29 km (18 mi) N. of Terni, 63 km (39 mi) SE of Perugia; 212 km (132 mi) SE of Florence; and 126 km (78 mi) N of Rome.

Spoleto was situated on the eastern branch of the Via Flaminia, which forked into two roads at Narni and rejoined at Forum Flaminii, near Foligno. An ancient road also ran hence to Nursia. The Ponte Sanguinario of the 1st century BCE still exists. The Forum lies under today's marketplace.

Located at the head of a large, broad valley, surrounded by mountains, Spoleto has long occupied a strategic geographical position. It appears to have been an important town to the original Umbri tribes, who built walls around their settlement in the 5th century BC, some of which are visible today.

The first historical mention of Spoletium is the notice of the foundation of a colony there in 241 BC; and it was still, according to Cicero colonia latina in primis firma et illustris: a Latin colony in 95 BC. After the Battle of Lake Trasimene (217 BC) Spoletium was attacked by Hannibal, who was repulsed by the inhabitants During the Second Punic War the city was a useful ally to Rome. It suffered greatly during the civil wars of Gaius Marius and Sulla. The latter, after his victory over Crassus, confiscated the territory of Spoletium (82 BC). From this time forth it was a municipium.

Under the empire it seems to have flourished once again, but is not often mentioned in history. Martial speaks of its wine. Aemilianus, who had been proclaimed emperor by his soldiers in Moesia, was slain by them here on his way from Rome (253), after a reign of three or four months. Rescripts of Constantine (326) and Julian (362) are dated from Spoleto. The foundation of the episcopal see dates from the 4th century: early martyrs of Spoleto are legends, but a letter to the bishop Caecilianus, from Pope Liberius in 354 constitutes its first historical mention. Owing to its elevated position Spoleto was an important stronghold during the Vandal and Gothic wars; its walls were dismantled by Totila.
Under the Lombards, Spoleto became the capital of an independent duchy, the Duchy of Spoleto (from 570), and its dukes ruled a considerable part of central Italy. In 774 it became part of Holy Roman Empire. Together with other fiefs, it was bequeathed to Pope Gregory VII by the powerful countess Matilda of Tuscany, but for some time struggled to maintain its independence. In 1155 it was destroyed by Frederick Barbarossa. In 1213 it was definitively occupied by Pope Gregory IX. During the absence of the papal court in Avignon, it was prey to the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, until in 1354 Cardinal Albornoz brought it once more under the authority of the Papal States.  
After Napoleon's conquest of Italy, in 1809 Spoleto became capital of the short-lived French department of Trasimène, returning to the Papal States after Napoleon's defeat, within five years. In 1860, after a gallant defence, Spoleto was taken by the troops fighting for the unification of Italy. Giovanni Pontano, founder of the Accademia Pontaniana of Naples, was born here. Another child of Spoleto was Francis Possenti who was educated in the Jesuit school and whose father was the Papal assesor, Francis later entered the Passionists and became Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Ancient and lay buildings

Ancient Roman theatre in Spolet

  • The Roman theater, largely rebuilt. The stage is occupied by the former church of St. Agatha, currently housing the National Archaeological Museum.
  • Ponte Sanguinario ("bloody bridge"), a Roman bridge 1st century BC. The name is traditionally attributed to the persecutions of Christians in the nearby amphiteatre.
  • Roman amphitheater (2nd century AD). It was turned into a fortress by Totila in 545 and in Middle Ages times was used for stores and shops, while in the cavea the church of San Gregorio Minore was built. The stones were later used to build the Rocca.
  • The Palazzo Comunale (13th century).
  • Ponte delle Torri, a striking 13th-century aqueduct, possibly on Roman foundations: whether it was first built by the Romans is a point on which scholarly opinion is divided.
  • The majestic Rocca Albornoziana, built in 1359–1370 by the architect Matteo Gattapone of Gubbio for Cardinal Albornoz. It has six sturdy towers which formed two distinct inner spaces: the Cortile delle Armi, for the troops, and the Cortile d'onore for the use of the city's governor. The latter courtyard is surrounded by a two-floor porch. The rooms include the Camera Pinta ("Painted Room") with noteworthy 15th‑century frescoes. After having resisted many sieges, the Rocca was turned into a jail in 1800 and used as such until the late 20th century. After extensive renovation it was reopened as a museum in 2007.
  • The Palazzo Racani-Arroni (16th century) has a worn graffito decoration attributed to Giulio Romano. The inner courtyard has a notable fountain.
  • Palazzo della Signoria (14th century), housing the city's museum.
  • The majestic Palazzo Vigili (15th-16th centuries) includes the Torre dell'Olio (13th century), the sole mediaeval city tower remaining in Spoleto. 


Duomo (Cathedral) of S. Maria Assunta
  • The Duomo (Cathedral) of S. Maria Assunta, begun around 1175 and completed in 1227. The Romanesque edifice contains the tomb of Filippo Lippi, who died in Spoleto in 1469, designed by his son Filippino Lippi. The church also houses a manuscript letter by Saint Francis of Assisi.
  • San Pietro extra Moenia was founded in 419 to house Peter's relics over an ancient necropolis. It was rebuilt starting from the 12th century (though the work dragged on until the 15th century), when a remarkable Romanesque façade was added: this has three doors with rose-windows, with a splendid relief decoration by local artists, portraying stories of the life of St. Peter. Together with S. Rufino in Assisi, it is the finest extant specimen of Umbrian Romanesque. The church is preceded by a large staircase. In the 17th century the interior, having a basilica plan with a nave and two aisles, was remade in Baroque style; also in Roman Baroque style is the elliptical dome.
  • The basilica of San Salvatore (4th-5th century) incorporates the cella of a Roman temple and is one of the most important examples of Early Christian architecture. It was remade by the Lombards in the 8th century. In 2011, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy. Places of the power (568-774 A.D.).
  • San Ponziano is a notable complex lying outside the city's walls, dedicated to the patron saint of Spoleto. The church was built in the 12th century in Romanesque style, but was later modified by Giuseppe Valadier. The crypt, however, has remained untouched, with its five small naves and small apses with cross-vault, ancient Roman spolia columns and frescoes of the 14th-15th centuries.
  • Santa Maria della Manna d'Oro, is an edifice on an octagonal plan sited near the Cathedral. It was built in the 16th-17th century to thank the Madonna for her protection of Spoletine traders.
  • San Domenico (13th century) is a Gothic construction in white and pink stone. The interior has notable frescoes and a painting by Giovanni Lanfranco. The crpyt is a former church dedicated to St. Peter, with frescoed walls.
  • San Gregorio Maggiore (11th-12th century), is a Romanesque church which has been restored to original lines only in recent times. The façade has two slopes and a porch of the 16th century that includes the Chapel of the Innocents (14th century) with a noteworthy font. The main external feature is the high belfry, finished only in the 15th century. The interior has three naves with spolia columns and pillars.
  • The former church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo is a Romanesque edifice featuring, on the exterior, a 13th century fresco portraying Madonna with Saints. The interior frescoes, from the 13th-15th centuries, include some of the most ancient representations of the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, by Alberto Sotio, and of St. Francis.
  • Santa Eufemia (12th century), a striking example of Romanesque architecture with influences from Lombardy and Veneto. The interior has three naves with spolia columns.
  • San Paolo inter vineas (10th century) is a typical Spoletine Romanesque church. Its main feature is the rose-window of the façade.
  • The former church and Augustinian convent of San Nicolò (1304) is a rare example of Gothic style in Spoleto. The small church has a single nave with a splendid polygonal apse with mullioned windows. Under the apse is the church of Santa Maria della Misericordia. There are two cloisters, the more recent one pertaining to the 15th century.
  • San Filippo Neri is a Baroque construction of mid-17th century, designed by the Spoletine Loreto Scelli and inspired by churches in Rome of the same period.
  • Sant'Ansano was created in the 18th century over a series of former buildings including a Roman temple (1st century AD) and the Mediaeval St. Isaac's crypt. It has a cloister from the 16th century.


The Albornozian Castle in Spoleto
The Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) was founded in 1958. Because Spoleto was a small town, where real estate and other goods and services were at the time relatively inexpensive, and also because there are two indoor theatres, a Roman theatre and many other spaces, it was chosen by Gian-Carlo Menotti as the venue for an arts festival. It is also fairly close to Rome, with good rail connections. It is an important cultural event, held annually in late June-early July.

The festival has developed into one of the most important cultural manifestations in Italy, with a three-week schedule of music, theater and dance performances. For some time it became a reference point for modern sculpture exhibits, and works of art left to the city by Alexander Calder and others are a testimony to this.
In the United States, a parallel festival — Spoleto Festival USA — held in Charleston, South Carolina was founded in 1977 with Menotti's involvement. The twinning only lasted some 15 years and, after growing disputes between the Menotti family and the Spoleto Festival USA board, in the early '90s a separation was consummated. However, following Menotti's death in February 2007, the city administrations of Spoleto and Charleston started talks to re-unite the two festivals which would climax in Spoleto mayor Massimo Brunini's attending the opening ceremony of Spoleto Festival USA in May 2008. The mayor of Charleston, Joseph P. Riley, returned the visit and attended the opening ceremony of the festival in Italy, on 27 June 2008.
For a short period of time, a third parallel festival was also held in Melbourne, Australia.

In 1992, the Spoleto Arts Symposium was initiated with the purpose of bringing talented people from all around the world to study in Spoleto. The program apparently ceased in 2009, to be replaced by a similar program, started by the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) of the University of Cincinnati in 2010.


  • Courtesy of Wikipedia
  • Communi di Spoleto.