Monday, January 21, 2013

Mon, Jan 21, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Gospel, Hebrew 5:1-10 ,Psalms 110:1-4, Mark 2:18-22, St Agnes, Sant'Agnese Fuori la Mura , Sant'Agnese in Agone, Catholic Catechism Chapter 2:3-V Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church

Monday, January 21, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Gospel, Hebrew 5:1-10 ,Psalms 110:1-4, Mark 2:18-22, St Agnes of Rome, Sant'Agnese Fuori la Mura , Sant'Agnese in Agone, Catholic Catechism Chapter 2:3-V Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church

Good Day Bloggers!  Happy New Year, Bonne Annee!
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.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone 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


January 02, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
 "Dear children, with much love and patience I strive to make your hearts like unto mine. I strive, by my example, to teach you humility, wisdom and love because I need you; I cannot do without you my children. According to God's will I am choosing you, by His strength I am strengthening you. Therefore, my children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. I will give them to my Son and in return, He will give you the gift of Divine peace. You will carry it to all those whom you meet, you will witness God's love with your life and you will give the gift of my Son through yourselves. Through reconciliation, fasting and prayer, I will lead you. Immeasurable is my love. Do not be afraid. My children, pray for the shepherds. May your lips be shut to every judgment, because do not forget that my Son has chosen them and only He has the right to judge. Thank you."

December 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Our Lady came with little Jesus in her arms and she did not give a message, but little Jesus began to speak and said : “I am your peace, live my commandments.” With a sign of the cross, Our Lady and little Jesus blessed us together.

December 2, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Dear children, with motherly love and motherly patience anew I call you to live according to my Son, to spread His peace and His love, so that, as my apostles, you may accept God's truth with all your heart and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then you will be able to faithfully serve my Son, and show His love to others with your life. According to the love of my Son and my love, as a mother, I strive to bring all of my strayed children into my motherly embrace and to show them the way of faith. My children, help me in my motherly battle and pray with me that sinners may become aware of their sins and repent sincerely. Pray also for those whom my Son has chosen and consecrated in His name. Thank you." 


Today's Word:  gospel   gos·pel  [gos-puh l]

Origin: before 950; Middle English go ( d ) spell, Old English gōdspell  (see good, spell2 ); translation of Greek euangélion  good news; see evangel1 

1. the teachings of Jesus and the apostles; the Christian revelation.
2. the story of Christ's life and teachings, especially as contained in the first four books of the new testament, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
3. ( usually initial capital letter  ) any of these four books.
4. something regarded as true and implicitly believed: to take his report for gospel.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 110:1-4

1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take your seat at my right hand, till I have made your enemies your footstool.'
2 Yahweh will stretch out the sceptre of your power; from Zion you will rule your foes all around you.
3 Royal dignity has been yours from the day of your birth, sacred honour from the womb, from the dawn of your youth.
4 Yahweh has sworn an oath he will never retract, you are a priest for ever of the order of Melchizedek


Today's Epistle - Hebrews 5:1-10

1 Every high priest is taken from among human beings and is appointed to act on their behalf in relationships with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins;
2 he can sympathise with those who are ignorant or who have gone astray, because he too is subject to the limitations of weakness.
3 That is why he has to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people.
4 No one takes this honour on himself; it needs a call from God, as in Aaron's case.
5 And so it was not Christ who gave himself the glory of becoming high priest, but the one who said to him: You are my Son, today I have fathered you,
6 and in another text: You are a priest for ever, of the order of Melchizedek.
7 During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, with loud cries and with tears, to the one who had the power to save him from death, and, winning a hearing by his reverence,
8 he learnt obedience, Son though he was, through his sufferings;
9 when he had been perfected, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation
10 and was acclaimed by God with the title of high priest of the order of Melchizedek.


Today's Gospel Reading -  Mark 2:18-22

John's disciples and the Pharisees were keeping a fast, when some people came to him and said to him, 'Why is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?' Jesus replied, 'Surely the bridegroom's attendants cannot fast while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then, on that day, they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine into fresh skins!'

Reflection• The five conflicts between Jesus and the Religious authority. In Mark 2, 1-12 we have seen the first conflict. It was about the forgiveness of sins. In Mark 2, 13-17, the second conflict is on communion around the same table, with sinners. Today’s Gospel presents the third conflict concerning fasting. Tomorrow we have the fourth conflict, concerning the observance of the Sabbath (Mk 2, 13-28). Day after tomorrow, the last conflict concerning the cure on the Sabbath (Mk 3, 1-6). The conflict concerning fasting has a central place. For this reason, the words on sewing a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak and the new wine into fresh skins (Mk 2, 21-22) should be understood in the light which radiates clearly also on the other conflicts, two before and two after.

• Jesus does not insist on the practice of fasting. Fasting is a very ancient practice, practiced by practically all religions. Jesus himself practiced it during forty days (Mt 4, 2). But he does not insist with his disciples so that they do the same thing. He leaves them free. This is why the disciples of John the Baptist and those of the Pharisees, who were obliged to fast, want to know why Jesus does not insist on fasting.

• When the bridegroom is with them they do not have to fast. Jesus responds with a comparison. When the bridegroom is with the friends of the bridegroom, that is, during the wedding feast, they do not need to fast. Jesus considers himself as the bridegroom. The disciples are the friends of the bridegroom During the time in which Jesus is with the disciples, there is the wedding feast. A day will come in which the bridegroom will be absent and then, if they wish they can fast. Jesus refers to his death. He knows and feels that if he wishes to continue on this path of freedom, the religious authority will want to kill him.

• To sew a new piece of cloth on an old cloak, new wine in new skins. These two affirmations of Jesus, which Mark places here, clarify the critical attitude of Jesus before religious authority. One does not sew a piece of new cloth on an old cloak. When the cloak is washed, the new piece of cloth tears the cloak and the tear becomes bigger. Nobody puts new wine in old skins, because the fermentation of the new wine will tear the old skins. New wine in new skins! The religion defended by the authority was like an old cloak, like an old skin. It is not necessary to want to change what is new and brought by Jesus, for old customs. The novelty brought by Jesus cannot be reduced to fit the measure of Judaism. Either one or the other! The wine which Jesus brings tears the old skins. It is necessary to know how to separate things. Jesus is not against what is “old”. What he wants to avoid is that the old imposes itself on the new and, thus he begins to manifest it. It would be the same as reducing the message of the Vatican Council II to the catechism of the time before the Council, as some are wanting to do.
Personal questions • Beginning with the profound experience of God which encouraged him interiorly, Jesus had great freedom concerning the relation ship to the norms and religious practices. And today, do we have this same liberty or do we lack the freedom of the mystics?

• A new piece of cloth on an old cloak, new wine in old skins. Does this exist in my life?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St Agnes of Rome

Feast DayJanuary 21
Patron Saint: chastity, gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape victims, and virgins

Agnes of Rome (c. 291 – c. 304) is a virgin–martyr, venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and Lutheranism. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. She is the patron saint of chastity, gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape victims, and virgins.

She is also known as Saint Agnes and Saint Ines. Her memorial, which commemorates her martyrdom, is 21 January in both the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and in the General Roman Calendar of 1962. The 1962 calendar includes a second feast on 28 January,[1] which commemorates her birthday. Agnes is depicted in art with a lamb, as her name resembles the Latin word for "lamb", agnus. The name "Agnes" is actually derived from the feminine Greek adjective "hagnē" (ἁγνή) meaning "chaste, pure, sacred".


According to tradition, Saint Agnes was a member of the Roman nobility born c. 291 and raised in a Christian family. She suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve[2] or thirteen during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, on 21 January 304.

The Prefect Sempronius wished Agnes to marry his son, and on Agnes' refusal he condemned her to death. As Roman law did not permit the execution of virgins, Sempronius had a naked Agnes dragged through the streets to a brothel. Various versions of the legend give different methods of escape from this predicament. In one, as she prayed, her hair grew and covered her body. It was also said that all of the men who attempted to rape her were immediately struck blind. In another the son of the prefect is struck dead, but revived after Agnes prayed for him, causing her release. There is then a trial from which Sempronius excuses himself, and another figure presides, sentencing her to death. When led out to die she was tied to a stake, but the bundle of wood would not burn, or the flames parted away from her, whereupon the officer in charge of the troops drew his sword and beheaded her, or, in some other texts, stabbed her in the throat. It is also said that the blood of Agnes poured to the stadium floor where other Christians soaked up the blood with cloths.

A few days after Agnes' death, her foster-sister, Saint Emerentiana was found praying by her tomb; she claimed to be the daughter of Agnes' wet nurse, and was stoned to death after refusing to leave the place and reprimanding the pagans for killing her foster sister. Emerentiana was also later canonized. The daughter of Constantine I, Saint Constance, was also said to have been cured of leprosy after praying at Agnes' tomb. Emerentiana and Constance appear in the scenes from the life of Agnes on the 14th-century Royal Gold Cup in the British Museum.

Agnes' bones are conserved beneath the high altar in the church of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura in Rome, built over the catacomb that housed Agnes' tomb. Her skull is preserved in a separate chapel in the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone in Rome's Piazza Navona.

An early account of Agnes' death, stressing her steadfastness and virginity, but not the legendary features of the tradition, is given by Saint Ambrose.[2]

In popular culture

Santa Inês (Saint Agnes)
by Francisco de Zurbarán.
An interesting custom is observed on her feast day. Two lambs are brought from the Trappist abbey of Tre Fontane in Rome to the pope to be blessed. On Holy Thursday they are shorn, and from the wool is woven the pallium which the pope gives to a newly consecrated metropolitan archbishop as a sign of his jurisdiction and his union with the pope.

Saint Agnes is the patron saint of young girls. Folk custom called for them to practice rituals on Saint Agnes' Eve (20–21 January) with a view to discovering their future husbands. This superstition has been immortalized in John Keats's poem, "The Eve of Saint Agnes".

She is represented in art as a young girl in robes, holding a palm branch in her hand and a lamb at her feet or in her arms.

In the historical novel Fabiola or, the Church of the Catacombs, written by Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman in 1854, Agnes is the soft-spoken teenage cousin and confidant of the protagonist, the beautiful noblewoman Fabiola.
Hrotsvitha, the tenth-century nun and poetess, wrote a play the subject of which was Saint Agnes. Grace Andreacchi wrote a play based on the legends surrounding the martyrdom of Saint Agnes.

Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes is a Roman Catholic religious community for women based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. It was founded in 1858, by Father Caspar Rehrl, an Austrian missionary, who established the sisterhood of pioneer women under the patronage of St. Agnes of Rome, to whom he had a particular devotion.


  1. ^ cf.
  2. ^ a b "NPNF210. Ambrose: Selected Works and Letters - Christian Classics Ethereal Library". 2005-06-01. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  • The Life of St. Agnes of Rome, Virgin & Martyr of the Catholic Church
  •, Catholic Encyclopedia: St Agnes of Rome
  •, St. Agnes of Rome
  •, St Agnes in literature
  •, "St. Agnes" in Christian Iconography
  • "Of Saint Agnes" from the Caxton translation of the Golden Legend
  • Remarks on the feast of St. Agnes from St. Ambrose of Milan, On Virgin


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane



Today's Snippet I:   Sant'Agnese Fuori la Mura

The church of Saint Agnes Outside the Wall (Italian: Sant'Agnese fuori la mura) is a titulus church, minor basilica in Rome, on a site sloping down from the Via Nomentana, which runs north-east out of the city, still under its ancient name. What is said to be the remains of Saint Agnes's are below the high altar. 

The church is over one of the catacombs of Rome, where Agnes was originally buried, and which still may be visited from the church. The church was built by Pope Honorius I in the 7th century, and largely retains its original structure, despite many changes to the decoration. 

In particular the mosaic in the apse of Agnes, Honorius and another Pope is largely in its original condition. The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Agnetis Extra moenia is Camillo Ruini.


A very large basilica was built some metres from the present church in the 4th century, to which was attached the large private mausoleum for Constantina, the daughter of Constantine I. The mausoleum was later converted into a church, which survives and is now known as Santa Costanza (she was venerated as a saint, even though she was not one officially). It contains very important 4th century mosaics, especially large areas of ceiling in a secular style, but also two small apse mosaics, one including an early depiction of Jesus in what has become the standard style of long fair hair and a halo.

The large basilica decayed during the decline of Rome, and was replaced in the 7th century by the present much smaller church, commissioned by Pope Honorius I. The lower part of the walls from about half of one side of the Constantinian basilica, and its apse, can still be seen. The new church was over what was believed to be Agnes' grave. The floor level of the 7th century church is some two metres above the level of the catacomb floor, and the public street entrances are at the level of the 2nd floor gallery. A long wide internal set of steps, lined with inscriptions from the catacombs and other ancient buildings set into the walls, leads down from the street level to the floor level of the church. The apse mosaic from Honorius' time is still present, and less affected by restoration than most mosaics of this date. On a gold ground, a central standing figure of Agnes in the costume of a Byzantine empress is flanked by Honorius, offering a model of the building, and another pope, whose identity is uncertain. The church was also built with a separate upper gallery for women (matronaeum), similar to that of San Lorenzo fuori le mura. Saint Emerentiana was also buried here.

The catacombs are on three levels, dating from the 2nd to the 5th centuries; part of the highest level dating to the 2nd century can be visited by a guided tour. Though no paintings remain in place, there are a number of inscriptions and engraved images of interest. Many more inscriptions line the large staircase leading from the main convent above to the church.

It is in this church that on the feast day of St. Agnes (January 21), two lambs are specially blessed, usually by the pope after a pontifical high Mass; their wool is later woven into pallia, ceremonial neck-stoles sent by the popes to newly-elevated Metropolitan-archbishops to symbolise their union with the papacy.

The church is currently administrated by a French traditionalist order, the Canons Regular of San Giovanni in Laterano.

In legend and literature

A popular local legend says that every lord mayor of Rome secretly comes to pray at this church, on the third night after his election; in fact, there is little evidence that new sindaci really do so.

The church is the topic of Canadian author and anthropologist Margaret Visser's book The Geometry of Love, published in 2000, which describes it in exhaustive detail and discusses aspects of history, theology, architecture, symbolism and the emotional and aesthetic effects of visiting the church.


    • Visser, Margaret (2001). The Geometry of Love : Space, Time, Mystery, and Meaning in an ordinary church (1st American ed. ed.). New York: North Point Press. ISBN 0-86547-618-7.


    Today's Snippet II:   Sant'Agnese in Agone

    Sant'Agnese in Agone is a 17th century Baroque church in Rome, Italy. It faces onto the Piazza Navona, one of the main urban spaces in the historic centre of the city and the site where the Early Christian Saint Agnes was martyred in the ancient Stadium of Domitian.

    The rebuilding of the church was begun in 1652 at the instigation of Pope Innocent X whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faced onto the piazza and was adjacent to the site of the new church. The church was to be effectively a family chapel annexed to their residence (for example, an opening was formed in the drum of the dome so the family could participate in the religious services from their palace).[1]

    A number of architects were involved in the construction of the church, including Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi, and two of the foremost Baroque architects of the day; Francesco Borromini and the sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini[2]

    The name of this church is unrelated to the ‘agony’ of the martyr: in agone was the ancient name of Piazza Navona (piazza in agone), and meant instead, from the Greek, ‘in the site of the competitions’, because Piazza Navona was built on the form of an ancient Roman stadium on the Greek model, with one flat end, and was used for footraces. From ‘in agone’, the popular use and pronunciation changed the name into ‘Navona’, but other roads in the area kept the original name.[3]

    The current Cardinal Priestpro hac vice of the Titulus S. Agnetis in Agone is Lorenzo Antonetti.


    The first designs for a centralised Greek Cross church were prepared by the Pamphili family architect, Girolamo Rainaldi, and his son Carlo Rainaldi in 1652. They were commissioned by Pope Innocent X, whose funerary monument was later housed within the church.[4] They reorientated the main entrance to the church from the Via Santa Maria dell’Anima, a street set one urban block away from the piazza, to the Piazza Navona, a large urban space that Innocent was transforming into a showcase associated with his family. It had been the intention to build the new church over the old church which would become the crypt; this meant the new church was to be raised well above piazza level, but this idea was abandoned once construction started. The original drawings are lost but it is thought that the Piazza Navona facade design included a narthex between two towers and broad stairs descending to the piazza.[5]

    Harsh criticism was made of the design, including the steps down to the piazza which were thought to project excessively, so Carlo Rainaldi eliminated the narthex idea and substituted a concave facade so that the steps would not be so intrusive.[6] The idea of the twin towers framing a central dome may be indebted to Bernini's bell towers on the facade of Saint Peter's basilica. Nonetheless, Rainaldi's design of a concave facade and a central dome framed by twin towers was influential on subsequent church design in Northern Europe.[7] In 1653, the Rainaldis were replaced by Borromini.

    Borromini had to work with the Rainaldi ground plan but made adjustments; on the interior for instance, he positioned columns towards the edges of the dome piers which had the effect of creating a broad base to the dome pendentives instead of the pointed base which was the usual Roman solution.[8] His drawings show that on the façade to Piazza Navona, he designed curved steps descending to the piazza, the convex curvature of which play against the concave curvature of the façade to form an oval landing in front of the main entrance. His façade was to have eight columns and a broken pediment over the entrance. He designed the flanking towers as single storey above which there was to be a complex arrangement of columns and convex bays with balustrades.

    By the time of Innocent's death in 1655, the façade had reached the top of the lower order. Innocent's nephew, Camillo Pamphili, failed to take interest in the church and Borromini became disheartened, eventually leading to his resignation in 1657.

    Carlo Rainaldi was reappointed and made a number of modifications to Borromini's design including an additional storey to the flanking towers and simplifying their uppermost parts. On the death of Camillo, his wife Olympia (Aldobrandini), commissioned Bernini to take over. He was responsible for the straightforward pediment above the main entrance and for the emphatic entablature in the interior.

    In 1668, Olympia's son, Camillo, took over responsibility for the church. He reinstated Carlo Rainaldi as architect and engaged Ciro Ferri to fresco the interior of the dome. Further decorations were added; there were large scale sculptures and polychrome marble effects. None of these are likely to have been intended by Borromini.

    The interior of the dome has paintings portraying the Assumption (begun 1670) by Ciro Ferri was unfinished on his death in 1689 and completed by Sebastiano Corbellini. The pendentives were painted with the cardinal virtues by Bernini's protégée, Giovanni Battista Gaulli from 1662-72.

    Other interior decorations

    Main altar
    There are a number of large scale sculptures in this church, including the marble relief in the main altar, placed in a setting installed by Carlo Rainaldi and Ciro Ferri, that depicts the Miracle of Saint Agnes, initially commissioned from Alessandro Algardi and completed by Ercole Ferrata and Domenico Guidi in 1688, under constraints that their product must remain in conformity with the original Algardi design. The Sacred Family altarpiece (third to the right) is also by Domenico Guidi.

    The altar dedicated to Saint Alexius, depicting his death, was completed by Giovanni Francesco Rossi. The stucco decoration of angels by Ferrata with the symbols of the Saint: pilgrim's staff and flower crown. The altar depicting the Martyrdom of Sant’Emerenziana is by Ercole Ferrata. He also completed Sant’Agnese and the flame, Leonardo Retti completed the superior portions. The altar depicting the Death of Santa Cecilia was executed by Antonio Raggi. Stucco angel decorations (with musical instruments) by Ercole Ferrata with fresco designs by Ciro Ferri. The altarpiece of the Martyrdom of St. Eustace was commissioned to Melchiorre Caffà, but generally completed after Caffà's early death by Ferrata and Giovanni Francesco Rossi. The statue of Saint Sebastian Martyr is by Pietro Paolo Campi.


    Shrine for Saint Agnes
    Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers lies in front of the church. It is often said that Bernini sculpted the figure of the "Rio de la Plata" cowering as if he thought the facade designed by his rival Borromini could crumble atop him. This story, like many urban legends, persists because it has a ring of authenticity, despite the fact that Bernini's fountain predates the facade by some years.

    Borromini and Bernini became rivals, and more, for architectural commissions. Most prominently, during the Pamphili papacy, an official commission was established to study defects that had arisen in the foundations of the belltowers (built under Bernini's guidance) in the facade of Saint Peter's Basilica. In testimony before the commission, Borromini was one of many harsh critics that assailed the project's engineering.

    Ultimately, in a severe blow to Bernini's prestige as an architect, the facade bell-towers were torn down, and never rebuilt.


    1. ^ The Doria-Pamphili family own the church to this day
    2. ^ For the building history of the church see Eimer G. La Fabbrica di S. Agnese in Navona, Stockholm, 1970
    3. ^ As, for example, the Corsia Agonale, a short road that connects the piazza with the Palazzo Madama.
    4. ^ Innocent had planned to have a grand tomb but a more modest monument by G.B. Maini was erected in the church in 1729
    5. ^ Magnuson T. Rome in the Age of Bernini, Stockholm, 1986, Vol 2, 56
    6. ^ Magnuson, 1986, v2, 60
    7. ^ Magnuson, 1986, v2, 61.
    8. ^ Blunt, A. Borromini, Harvard University Press, 157

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Part One: Profession of Faith, Chapter 2:3-V

    Article 3

    V. Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church

    131 "and such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigour, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life."DV 21 Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful."DV 22

    132 "Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. the ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture."DV 24

    133 The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful... to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.DV 25