Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Penitent, Psalms 8:2-7, Luke 12:8-12, St Paul of the Cross, Passionists, Monte Argentario Italy

Saturday, October 20, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Penitent, Psalms 8:2-7, Luke 12:8-12, St Paul of the Cross, Passionists, Monte Argentario Italy

Good Day Bloggers!  Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!
Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity 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 Purgatory and/or 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:  penitent  pen·i·tent  [pen-i-tuhnt]

Origin: 1325–75; Middle English  < Medieval Latin pēnitent-, Latin paenitent-  (stem of paenitēns ), present participle of paenitēre  to regret; replacing Middle English penaunt  < Anglo-French; see penance 

1. feeling or expressing sorrow for sin or wrongdoing and disposed to atonement and amendment; repentant; contrite.
2. a penitent person.
3. Roman Catholic Church . a person who confesses sin and submits to a penance.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 8:2-7

2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in arms, you make him a fortress, firm against your foes, to subdue the enemy and the rebel.
3 I look up at your heavens, shaped by your fingers, at the moon and the stars you set firm-
4 what are human beings that you spare a thought for them, or the child of Adam that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him little less than a god, you have crowned him with glory and beauty,
6 made him lord of the works of your hands, put all things under his feet,
7 sheep and cattle, all of them, and even the wild beasts,


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples: 'I tell you, if anyone openly declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, the Son of man will declare himself for him in the presence of God's angels. But anyone who disowns me in the presence of human beings will be disowned in the presence of God's angels.

'Everyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven, but no one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven. 'When they take you before synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say, because when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say.'


• Context. While Jesus is on the way toward Jerusalem, Luke in chapter 11, that precedes our passage, presents him as having the intention to reveal the abyss of the merciful acting of God and at the same time the profound misery hidden in the heart of man and particularly, in those who have the task of being witnesses of the Word and of the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. Jesus presents such realities with a series of reflections which provoke effects in the reader: to feel attracted by the force of his Word to the point of feeling judged interiorly and detached from all desires of greatness which shake and agitate man (9, 46). Besides, the reader identifies himself with various attitudes that the teaching of Jesus arouses: above all, he recognizes himself as follower of Christ in the disciple and sent to precede him in the role of messenger of the kingdom; and also in the one who hesitates somewhat in following him; in the Pharisee or Doctor of the Law, slave of their interpretations and life style. In summary, the course of the reader in chapter 11 is characterized by this encounter with the teaching of Jesus who reveals to him the intimacy of God, the mercy of God’s Heart, but also the truth of his being a man. In chapter 12, instead, Jesus opposes the perverted judgment of man to the goodness of God who always gives with superabundance. Man’s life enters into play here.  It is necessary to be attentive to the perversion of the human judgment or better to the hypocrisy that distorts values in order to privilege only one’s own interests and advantages, more than being interested in life, that life which is accepted gratuitously. The Word of God launches the reader an appeal on how to face the question regarding life: man will be judged on his behaviour at the time of threats. It is necessary to be concerned not so much of the men who can “kill the body” but rather to have at heart the fear of God who judges and corrects. But Jesus does not promise the disciples that they will be free from threats, persecutions, but he assures them that they will have God’s help at the moments of difficulty.

• To know how to recognize Jesus. The courageous commitment to recognize the friendship with Jesus publicly implies as consequence personal communion with Him at the moment of his return to judge the world. At the same time, the betrayal “who will deny me”, the one who is afraid to confess and recognize Jesus publicly, condemns himself. The reader is invited to reflect on the crucial importance of Jesus in the history of salvation: it is necessary to decide either with Jesus or against Him and of his Word of Grace; from this decision, to recognize or to reject Jesus, depends our salvation. Luke makes it evident that the communion that Jesus gives at the present time to his disciples will be confirmed and will becomes perfect at the moment of his coming in glory (“he will come in his glory and of the Father and of the angels”: 9, 26). The call to the Christian community is very evident: even if it has been exposed to the hostility of the world, it is indispensable not to cease to give a courageous witness of Jesus, of communion with him, to value and not to be ashamed to show oneself a Christian.

• Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Here Luke understands blasphemy as offensive speaking or speaking against. This verb was applied to Jesus when in 5, 21 he had forgiven sins. The question presented in this passage may give rise in the reader to some difficulty: is blasphemy against the Son of man less grave or serious than the one against the Holy Spirit? The language of Jesus may seem rather strong for the reader of the Gospel of Luke: through the Gospel he has seen Jesus who showed the behaviour of God who goes to look for sinners, who is demanding but who knows how to wait for the moment of return to him or that the sinner attains maturity. In Mark and Matthew blasphemy against the Spirit is the lack of recognizing the power of God in the exorcisms of Jesus. But in Luke it may mean the deliberate and known rejection of the prophetic Spirit that is working in the actions and teaching of Jesus, that is to say, a rejection of the encounter with the merciful acting of salvation with the Father. The lack of recognition of the divine origin of the mission of Jesus, the direct offenses to the person of Jesus, may be forgiven, but anyone who denies the acting of the Holy Spirit in the mission of Jesus will not be forgiven. It is not a question of an opposition between the person of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, or of some contrast, symbol of two diverse periods of history, that of Jesus and that of the community after the Passover, but definitively, the evangelist wants to show that to reject the person of Christ is equal to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Personal questions
• Are you aware that to be a Christian requires the need to face difficulties, deceit, dangers, and even to risk one’s own life to give witness of one’s own friendship with Jesus?
• Do you become embarrassed of being a Christian? Are you more concerned about the judgments of men, their approval, are these more important for you or that of losing your friendship with Christ?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Paul of the Cross

Feast Day:  October20
Patron Saint: Passionists

Saint Paul of the Cross
Paul of the Cross (3 January 1694 – 18 October 1775) was an Italian mystic, and founder of the Passionists.  Saint Paul of the Cross, originally named Paolo Francesco Danei, was born on 3 January 1694, in the town of Ovada, Piedmont, between Turin and Genoa in the Duchy of Savoy in northern Italy.

Paul, a son of a wealthy merchant family experienced a conversion to a life of prayer at the age of 19, after a very normal and pious life. His early reading of the "Treatise on the Love of God" by Saint Francis de Sales and the direction he received from priests of the Capuchin Order taught him the primacy of love and at the same time the need to go beyond our own images of God. It became St Paul's lifelong conviction that God is most easily found by us in the Passion of Jesus Christ. He saw the Passion of Christ as being the most overwhelming sign of God's love and at the same time the door to union with him. His life was devoted to bringing this message to all and founding a community whose members would do the same.

"I am Paul of the Cross in whom Jesus has been crucified" -St. Paul of the Cross

When he was 26 years old, St Paul of the Cross had a series of prayer-experiences which made it clear to him that God was inviting him to form a community who would live an evangelical life and promote the love of God revealed in the Passion of Jesus. In a vision, he saw himself clothed in the habit he and his companions would wear: a long, black tunic on the front of which was a heart surmounted by a white cross, and in the heart was written "the Passion of Jesus Christ". On seeing it, he heard these words spoken to him: "This is to show how pure the heart must be that bears the holy name of Jesus graven upon it". The first name Paul received for his community was "the Poor of Jesus"; later they came to be known as the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, or the Passionists.
With the encouragement of his bishop, who clothed him in the black habit of a hermit, Paul wrote the rule of his new community (of which he was, as yet, the only member) during a retreat of forty days at the end of 1720. The community was to live a penitential life, in solitude and poverty, teaching people in the easiest possible way how to meditate on the Passion of Jesus.

His first companion was his own brother, John Baptist, who was ordained to the priesthood with Paul by Pope Benedict XIII on 7 June 1727, in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome. After ordination they devoted themselves to preaching missions in parishes, particularly in remote country places where there were not a sufficient number of priests pastorally involved. Their preaching apostolate and the retreats they gave in seminaries and religious houses brought their mission to the attention of others and gradually the community began to grow.

The austerity of life practised by the first Passionists did not encourage large numbers, but Paul preferred a slow, at times painful, growth to something more spectacular. His main aim in the community was, as he said himself, to form "a man totally God-centred, totally apostolic, a man of prayer, detached from the world, from things, from himself so that he may in all truth be called a disciple of Jesus Christ."

The first Retreat (the name Passionists traditionally gave to their monasteries) was opened in 1737 on Monte Argentario (Province of Grosseto); the community now had nine members. Paul called his monasteries "retreats" to underline the life of solitude and contemplation which he believed was necessary for someone who wished to preach the message of the Cross. In addition to the communal celebration of the divine office, members of his community were to devote at least three hours to contemplative prayer each day.

During his lifetime, Paul of the Cross was best known as a popular preacher and a spiritual director. More than two thousand of his letters, most of them letters of spiritual direction, have been preserved.

He died on 18 October 1775, at the Retreat of Saints John and Paul (SS. Giovanni e Paolo). By the time of his death, the congregation founded by Saint Paul of the Cross had one hundred and eighty fathers and brothers, living in twelve Retreats, mostly in the Papal States. There was also a monastery of contemplative sisters in Corneto (today known as Tarquinia), founded by Paul a few years before his death to promote the memory of the Passion of Jesus by their life of prayer and penance.

Saint Paul of the Cross was beatified on 1 October 1852, and canonized on 29 June 1867 by Blessed Pius IX. Two years later, his feast day was inserted in the Roman calendar, for celebration on 28 April as a Double. In 1962 it was reclassified as a Third-Class feast, and in 1969 it became an optional Memorial and was placed on 19 October, the day after the day of his death, 18 October, which is the feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist.

An excerpt from a letter from Saint Paul of the Cross

"It is an excellent and holy practice to call to mind and meditate on our Lord's Passion, since it is by this path that we shall arrive at union with God. In this, the holiest of all schools, true wisdom is learned, for it was there that all the saints became wise." ~Taken from a letter written by St. Paul of the Cross


  • Life of St. Paul of the Cross by St. Vincent Strambi
  • "Letters of Saint Paul of the Cross" (3 Volumes), Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2000
  • Bialas, Martin. "The Mysticism of the Passion in St Paul of the Cross" (Introduction by Jurgen Moltmann), San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990
  • Spencer, Paul Francis. "As a Seal upon your Heart - The Life of St Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists," Slough: St Paul's, 1994
  • Cingolani, Gabriele. "Saint Paul of the Cross: Challenged by the Crucified," Passionist Publications, 1994
  •  "St. Paul of the Cross". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.


    Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


    Today's Snippet I: Passionists

    The Passionists (Latin: Congregatio Passionis Iesu Christi) are a Roman Catholic religious institute founded by Saint Paul of the Cross with a special emphasis on the Passion of Jesus Christ. Professed members use the initials C.P. after their names. A known symbol of the congregation is the labeled emblem of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, surmounted by a cross and is often sewn into the clothing attire of its congregants.
    St. Paul of the Cross wrote the rules of the Congregation in December 1720; and in 1725, Pope Benedict XIII granted Paul the permission to form his congregation. Paul and his brother, John Baptist, were ordained by the pope on the same occasion. The full canonical title of the congregation is The Congregation of Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    In 1769, Clement XIV granted full rights to the Passionists as enjoyed by the other religious institutes, making them not an order but a congregation. The congregation historically has had two primary goals: missionary work and contemplative life, with an attempt to blend the two. Its founder had attempted to combine aspects of the contemplative orders, such as the Trappist monks, together with the dynamic orders, such as the Jesuits.

    There are 2,179 Passionists in 59 countries on the five continents, led by a superior general who is elected every six years. He is assisted by four consultors in governing the congregation. The present superior general is Father Ottaviano D'Egidio. The congregation is divided into provinces, vice-provinces and vicariates. The Congregation is also divided into groups of provinces, called conferences.

    There are six conferences in the world:
    • CIPI - the Inter-provincial Conference of Italian Passionists;
    • CII - The Conference of the Iberian Peninsula;
    • NECP - Northern European Conference of Passionists;
    • ASSUM - Province of the Assumption of Mary (Poland, Czech Rep., Ukraine);
    • PASPAC - Passionist Asia Pacific Conference;
    • CPA - Conference of the Passionists of Africa;
    • FORPAL - Conference of the Passionists of Latin America; and
    • the meeting of the Provincial Councils of North America.

    The official name of the institute is "The Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ." The superior general resides in Rome (Piazza Ss. Giovanni e Paolo, 13 - 00184 Roma - tel. 06 772711). The international house of studies is the place where the Congregation's founder is buried.

    Characteristics of the Congregation

    The members of the congregation are not allowed to possess land, and the congregation collectively can only own the community house and a bit of land attached to it.   They rely completely on their own labor and on contributions from the faithful in order to maintain themselves financially. The habit worn by members is a rough wool tunic bearing the words "Jesu XPI Passio", meaning "Passion of Jesus Christ" and the congregation is discalced, wearing sandals rather than shoes.

    Canonised and beatified members

    Canonised Members of the Congregation
    • Saint Paul of the Cross, founder of the congregation
    • Saint Vincent Strambi, proto-bishop
    • Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, student
    • Saint Gemma Galgani, a lay Passionist;
    • Saint Innocencio of Mary Immaculate, a martyr of the Spanish Civil War;
    • Saint Charles of Mount Argus, a Dutchman who worked and died in Dublin; and
    • Saint Maria Goretti is also considered a Passionist saint due to her Passionist spiritual directors.

    Beatified Members of the Congregation
    • Blessed Eugene Bossilkov, Bulgarian Bishop and Martyr
    • Blessed Lorenzo Maria of Saint Francis Xavier, Missionary
    • Blessed Isidore of Saint Joseph; Lay Friar
    • Blessed Dominic Barberi, notable for having received John Henry Newman into the Catholic faith;
    • Blessed Bernard Mary of Jesus, co-founder of the congregation
    • Blessed Grimoaldo of the Purification, student
    • Blessed Pius of Saint Aloysius, student
    • The twenty-six Catholic Martyrs of Daimiel.
    In addiiton, the causes for the canonisation of Father Carl Schmitz, Father Ignatius Spencer, Father Theodore Foley and Elizabeth Prout have been opened.

    Social work

    Unlike the La Sallians or the Gabrielites, Passionists do not usually open schools and universities, except seminaries for their own students wishing to become brothers and priests. There are some schools sponsored and run by the Passionists, like the St. Gemma Galgani School, (which includes primary, junior high and high school-level education) in Santiago (Chile), but these are more the exception than the rule.

    Traditionally, their main apostolate has been preaching missions and retreats. According to Saint Paul of the Cross, they were founded in order to "teach people how to pray", which they do through activities such as retreats and missions, spiritual direction, and prayer groups. Today they often also assist local priests in pastoral works, including saying masses, hearing confessions, and visiting the sick. Due to the continuing lack of priests in the United States, the monks today are sometimes designated as pastors and assistant pastors of various parishes.

    Though Passionists are not required to work in non-Christian areas as missionaries, their Rule allows its members to be posted to missionary work, such as mainland China (before the Communists took over in 1949), India, and Japan, as dictated by the pope.

    Passionist Sisters

    House of the Passionist Sisters in Colombo (Greater Curitiba), Paraná, Southern Brazil.
    The Passionist Sisters (the Sisters of the Cross and Passion) is an institute founded in 1850 by Father Gaudentius Rossi, an early Passionist priest, as a convent for factory girls. In its infancy, it was called "Sisters of the Holy Family", and was later included under the Passionist family. Its first Mother Superior was Mother Mary Joseph Prout.

    Due to their separate raisings guided by members of the congregation, Saints Maria Goretti and Gemma Galgani are traditionally counted in the ranks of the Passionists Sisters, even though they died before they could formally enter the institute (Maria was murdered, Gemma died of tuberculosis).


        • "Passionists". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.


            Today's Snippet I: Monte Argentario Italy

            Monte Argentario Tuscany  Italy
            Monte Argentario is a comune (municipality) and a peninsula belonging to the Province of Grosseto in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 150 km south of Florence and about 35 km south of Grosseto. The peninsula is connected with the mainland by three spits of land which form two lagoons, the Laguna di Ponente on the west side and the Laguna di Levante on the east side of the middle dam. The two main villages on Monte Argentario are Porto Santo Stefano, chief town, facing north, and Porto Ercole facing south. The panoramic road Strada panoramica starts in Porto Santo Stefano allowing splendid views of the coast and the Tuscan Archipelago. Monte Argentario borders the comune of Orbetello, which is located on the middle dam between the two lagoons.


            Monte Argentario is a promontory stretching towards the Tyrrhenian Sea in correspondence of the two southernmost islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, Giglio and Giannutri. The promontory was an island in the past, but the sea currents and the Albegna river joined it with the mainland through two so-called tomboli (stretches of land), the Tombolo of Giannella and the Tombolo of the Feniglia.

            The highest peak of Monte Argentario is the Punta Telegrafo (635 m). The landscape and the coast are mainly rocky, with numerous harbors, usually with rock beaches. The municipal seat is in the northern settlement, Porto Santo Stefano. The other main settlement in the township is Porto Ercole.


            Porto Santo Stefano
            The promontory, probably already inhabited by the Etruscans, was a personal property of the Domitii Aenobarbi family, who obtained it in return for the money they lent to the Roman Republic in the Punic Wars. The current name stems probably from this origin, since Arganterii was the name of money lenders in ancient Rome.

            Later an imperial possession, it was ceded to the church by Constantine the Great in the 4th century AD. In the Middle Ages, due to the reduced traffic passing on the nearby Via Aurelia, the area was sparsely settled. Following the history of Orbetello, the promontory was a possession of the Aldobrandeschi, Orsini, King Ladislaus of Naples and Siena, until Spain acquired it in the late 16th century. The Spaniards heavily fortified the two ports, as the main stronghold of the State of Presidi. After Napoleon's defeat, in 1815 the Argentario was handed over to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, to which it remained until 1860, when it became part of the newly united Kingdom of Italy.

            The painter Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio died of a fever at Porto Ercole in 1610.

            During World War II, the settlements of Argentario were heavily bombed, with numerous losses. The port of Santo Stefano was destroyed, and was rebuilt only in the 1950s. The railway that connected Orbetello to the mainland was never rebuilt.


            • Caravaggio (1571–1610), artist
            • Paul of the Cross (1694–1775), mystic, and founder of the Passionists
            • Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004), Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
            • Angelo Cardinal Comastri (b. 1943), Bishop of Massa Marittima-Piombino, later named cardinal


            • ^ (Italian) Municipal seat: Infos on Monte Argentario official website
            • ^ All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute ISTAT.