Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Fasting, Hebrews 13:1-8, 11-15, Psalms 27:1, 3, 5, 8-9, Mark 6:14-29, Saint Stephen of Muret, Grandmontines, Muret France, Catholic Catechism Part One Section 2 The Creeds Chapter 1:1:7 The Fall

Friday, February 8, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Fasting, Hebrews 13:1-8, 11-15, Psalms 27:1, 3, 5, 8-9, Mark 6:14-29, Saint Stephen of Muret, Grandmontines, Muret France, Catholic Catechism Part One Section 2 The Creeds Chapter 1:1:7 The Fall

Good Day Bloggers!  Happy Mardi Gras!
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


February 2, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
"Dear children, love is bringing me to you - the love which I desire to teach you also - real love; the love which my Son showed you when He died on the Cross out of love for you; the love which is always ready to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. How great is your love? My motherly heart is sorrowful as it searches for love in your hearts. You are not ready to submit your will to God's will out of love. You cannot help me to have those who have not come to know God's love to come to know it, because you do not have real love. Consecrate your hearts to me and I will lead you. I will teach you to forgive, to love your enemies and to live according to my Son. Do not be afraid for yourselves. In afflictions my Son does not forget those who love. I will be beside you. I will implore the Heavenly Father for the light of eternal truth and love to illuminate you. Pray for your shepherds so that through your fasting and prayer they can lead you in love. Thank you."

January 25, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your prayer be as strong as a living stone, until with your lives you become witnesses. Witness the beauty of your faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."


Today's Word:  fasting   fast·ing  [fahst ingh]

Origin: before 1000; Middle English fasten, Old English fæstan;  cognate with German fasten, Gothic fastan, Old Norse fasta
verb (used without object)
1. to abstain from all food.
2. to eat only sparingly or of certain kinds of food, especially as a religious observance.
verb (used with object)
3. to cause to abstain entirely from or limit food; put on a fast: to fast a patient for a day before surgery.
4. an abstinence from food, or a limiting of one's food, especially when voluntary and as a religious observance; fasting.
5. a day or period of fasting.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 27:1, 3, 5, 8-9

1 [Of David] Yahweh is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? Yahweh is the fortress of my life, whom should I dread?
3 Though an army pitch camp against me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, my trust will never be shaken.
5 For he hides me away under his roof on the day of evil, he folds me in the recesses of his tent, sets me high on a rock.
8 Of you my heart has said, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Yahweh, I seek;
9 do not turn away from me. Do not thrust aside your servant in anger, without you I am helpless. Never leave me, never forsake me, God, my Saviour.


Today's Epistle - Hebrews 13:1-8

1 Continue to love each other like brothers,
2 and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
3 Keep in mind those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; and those who are being badly treated, since you too are in the body.
4 Marriage must be honoured by all, and marriages must be kept undefiled, because the sexually immoral and adulterers will come under God's judgement.
5 Put avarice out of your lives and be content with whatever you have; God himself has said: I shall not fail you or desert you,
6 and so we can say with confidence: With the Lord on my side, I fear nothing: what can human beings do to me?
7 Remember your leaders, who preached the word of God to you, and as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, take their faith as your model.
8 Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever.


Today's Gospel Reading  - Mark 6:14-29

King Herod had heard about him, since by now his name was well known. Some were saying, 'John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.' Others said, 'He is Elijah,' others again, 'He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.' But when Herod heard this he said, 'It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.'

Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, 'It is against the law for you to have your brother's wife.' As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him, but she was not able to do so, because Herod was in awe of John, knowing him to be a good and upright man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.

An opportunity came on Herod's birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, 'Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.' And he swore her an oath, 'I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.'

She went out and said to her mother, 'What shall I ask for?' She replied, 'The head of John the Baptist.' The girl at once rushed back to the king and made her request, 'I want you to give me John the Baptist's head, immediately, on a dish.' The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. At once the king sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John's head. The man went off and beheaded him in the prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John's disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. 


• The Gospel today describes how John the Baptist was victim of the corruption and of the arrogance of the Government of Herod. He died without being judged by a tribunal, in the course of a banquet given by Herod with the great men of the kingdom. The text gives much information about the time of the life of Jesus and on the way in which the powerful of the time exercised power. From the beginning of the Gospel of Mark we perceive or see a situation of suspense. He had said: “After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God!” (Mk 1, 14). In today’s Gospel, almost suddenly, we know that Herod had already killed John the Baptist. Therefore, the reader asks himself: “What will he do now with Jesus? Will he suffer the same destiny? Rather than drawing up a balance of the opinions of the people and of Herod on Jesus, Mark asks another question: “Who is Jesus?” This last question grows throughout the Gospel until it receives the definitive response from the centurion at the foot of the Cross: “Truly, this man was the Son of God!” (Mk 15, 39)

• Mark 6, 14-16. Who is Jesus? The text begins with a balance on the opinions of the people and of Herod on Jesus. Some associated Jesus to John the Baptist and to Elijah. Others identified him with a Prophet, that is, with someone who spoke in the name of God, who had the courage to denounce the injustices of the powerful and who knew how to animate the hope of the little ones. Persons tried to understand Jesus starting from the things that they themselves knew, believed and hoped. They tried to make him fit into familiar criteria of the Old Testament with its prophecies and its hopes, and of the Tradition of the Ancient, with their laws. But these criteria were not sufficient. Jesus could not fit in those criteria. He was much greater!

• Mark 6, 17-20. The cause for the killing of John. Galilee, the land of Jesus, was governed by Herod Antipas, the son of King Herod, the Great, from the year 4 BC up to the year 39 after Christ. In all, 43 years! During the whole life time of Jesus, there had been no changes in the government of Galilee! Herod Antipas was the absolute Lord of everything; he listened to no one and did whatever he pleased! But the one, who really commanded in Palestine, from the year 63 BC, was the Roman Empire. Herod, in order not to be removed from office, tried to please Rome in everything. He insisted above all, in an efficient administration which would provide income for the Roman Empire. The only thing that concerned or worried him was his security and promotion. This is why he repressed any type of subversion. Falvio Giuseppe, a writer of that time, says that the reason for the imprisonment of John the Baptist was the fear that Herod had of a popular revolt. Herod liked to be called benefactor of the people, but in reality he was a tyrant (Lk 22, 25). The denouncement of John against him (Mk 6, 18), was the drop which filled up the cup, and John was thrown into prison.

• Mark 6, 21-29: The plot of the murdering. The anniversary and the banquet of the feast, with dancing and orgies! This was an environment in which the alliances were plotted. To the feast attended and were present “the great of the court, the officials and important persons from Galilee”. In this environment the murdering of John the Baptist was plotted. John, the prophet, was a living denouncement in this corrupt system. This is why he was eliminated under the pretext of a problem of personal vengeance. All this reveals the moral weakness of Herod. So much power accumulated in the hands of a man who did not control himself! Under the enthusiasm of the feast and of the wine, Herod swore lightly to give something to the young dancer. And superstitious as he was, he thought that he had to maintain his oath. For Herod, the life of his subjects counted nothing had no value. He used them as he wanted and decided what to do with them just as he decided where to place the chairs in his house. Mark gives an account of how things happened and lets the community draw the conclusions. 

Personal questions

• Do you know the case of persons who have died victims of corruption and of the dominion of the powerful? And do you know persons in our community and in our Church victims of authoritarianism and of an excess of power?
• Herod, the powerful who thought to be the owner of life and death of the people, was a great superstitious person, and feared John the Baptist. He was a coward before the great, a corrupt man before the girl. Superstition, cowardice, and corruption distinguished the exercise of the power of Herod. Compare this with the religious and civil power today in the various levels of society and of the Church.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Stephen of Muret

Feast DayFebruary 8

Patron Saintn/a

Saint Stephen of Muret (French: Étienne de Muret) (1045 – February 8, 1124) was the founder of the Abbey of Grandmont (the mother house) and the Order of Grandmont.

Serious chronological difficulties are presented by the traditional story of his early life (printed in Patrologia Latina 204, coll. 1005-1072), which runs as follows: Stephen in his twelfth year accompanied his father, the Viscount of Thiers, to Italy, where he was left to be educated by Milo, Archbishop of Benevento; after passing twelve years in this prelate's household, he became acquainted with hermits in Calabria, but never joined their way of life. He then returned to France to bid farewell to his parents, having formed the design of entering religion, but, finding them dead, returned to Italy.

His patron Milo having also died, he established himself at Rome, where he studied the rules of the religious houses of the city. After a four years' sojourn he obtained a Bull from Gregory VII authorizing him to found an institute resembling that of the solitaries he had frequented in Calabria, and returned to France. He is said to have settled at Muret in 1076 and died at Muret on 8 February 1124.

This story is impossible; his father visited Italy in order to make a pilgrimage to St. Nicholas at Bari; but St. Nicholas's relics were not placed there till some years later; Milo was not Archbishop of Benevento for twelve years; the Gregory VII's bull is a forgery. The exact truth as to St. Stephen's life cannot now be established. However, the connexions with Milo, whose short episcopate (1074–75) would argue against any later invention by a biographer; the connexion, too, with Benevento, which held particular interest for reforming popes; and the lack of miracles during his life, would all argue for at least some details being historically sound. The Life would seem to have been originally written in the mid-twelfth century and to have been revised in the last decade of that century.

The quarrel as to what great order could claim Grandmont as its offspring, with the consequent forgeries, has done much to involve the founder's life in obscurity. Though Stephen was certainly the founder of the Order of Grandmont, he did little for his disciples except offer them the example of his holy life, and it was not till after his death that the order was firmly established.


His head is preserved in the parish Church of St. Sylvestre, Canton of Laurière (in the Haute Vienne département).  He was canonized in 1189 and his liturgical feast occurs on 8 February.


      • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Stephen of Muret". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
      • His works (not authentic) may be found in Migne, P. L. CCIV, 997-1162.


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          Today's Snippet I:  Grandmontines

          Thomas Becket Reliquary, grandmontine enamel - Limoges (1200-1210).
          Grandmontines were the monks of the Order of Grandmont, a religious order founded by Saint Stephen of Thiers, towards the end of the 11th century. The order was named after its motherhouse, Grandmont Abbey in the homonymous village, now part of the commune of Saint-Sylvestre, in the department of Haute-Vienne, in Auvergne, France. They were also known as the Boni Homines or Bonshommes.
          The exact date of the foundation of the order is very uncertain. The traditional story involves serious chronological difficulties, and is based on a Bull of Gregory VII now known to be a forgery The founder, St. Stephen of Muret (Étienne in French; also called 'of Thiers') was so impressed by the lives of the hermits whom he saw in Calabria that he desired to introduce the same manner of life into his native country and is said to have settled in the valley of Muret near Limoges in 1076, but Martène considers that the origin of the order cannot be placed earlier than about 1100. Allegedly Stephen, being ordained, in 1073 obtained the Pope's permission to establish an order. He betook himself to the Limousin region, and in the desert of Muret, near Limoges, he made himself a hut of branches of trees and lived there for some time in complete solitude. A few disciples gathered round him, and a community was formed.

          The Order of Grandmont has been claimed by both Benedictines and Canons Regular as a branch of their respective institutes, although the Grandmontines always maintained that they formed a distinct order. Martène considers that St. Stephen modelled his institute upon the life of the Carthusians.

          The Rule

          The so-called "Rule of St. Stephen" was compiled at the request of the fourth prior, Étienne de Liciac, by Hugh of Lacerta, and embodies the customs of Grandmont some twenty or thirty years after St. Stephen's death in 1124. The founder himself left no authentic writings. His maxim was "There is no rule save the Gospel of Christ"; as this was the basis of all rules, to practise its morality was to fulfil all the duties of a good religious. The early Grandmontines were noted for their extreme austerity. Poverty was most strictly observed; the rule forbade the possession of lands, cattle, revenue, or impropriate churches. Begging was only permitted when there was no food in the house, and even then the local bishop was first to be informed of their state. The law of silence was also very severe, as were the rules of fasting and abstinence. The life was eremitical and very severe in regard to silence, diet and bodily austerities; it was modelled after the rule of the Camaldolese, but various regulations were adopted from the Augustinian canons. The superior was called the Corrector.


          After the founder's death in 1124, sometime around 1150, having been compelled to leave Muret due to disputed ownership, the hermits settled in the neighboring desert of Grandmont, whence the order derived its name. Under Étienne de Liciac the order spread rapidly, and in 1170 numbered sixty monasteries, mostly in Aquitaine, Anjou and Normandy. Under his successor, Bernard de Boschiac, eighty new foundations were made, and the "bons hommes" were to be found in nearly every diocese of France.

          The influence of the Grandmontines reached its height in the twelfth century. Their holy austerity roused the admiration of all beholders, and the kings of England and France vied with one another in bestowing favours upon them. Henry II of England had the monastery rebuilt, and King St. Louis IX of France erected a Grandmontine house at Vincennes near Paris, and the order had a great vogue in France, as many as sixty houses being established by 1170. The system of lay brothers was introduced on a large scale, and the management of the temporals was in great measure left in their hands; the arrangement did not work well.


          The golden age of Grandmont however lasted only sixty years after the founder's death. After then, the history of the order is an almost uninterrupted series of disputes, as quarrels between two categories of monks were a constant source of weakness. Even in the twelfth century, the ill-defined position of the lay brothers caused troubles. They were far more numerous than the choir-monks, and were given entire control of all temporalities so the latter might be free to carry on spiritual duties. Gradual relaxation of the rules of poverty led to great possessions, and thus increased the importance of the lay brothers, who now claimed equality with the choir-monks. This led to scandalous scenes. In 1185, the lay brothers at Grandmont rose in open revolt, expelled Prior Guillaume de Trahinac with 200 of the religious and set up an intruder. The political situation embittered these dissensions, the order being divided into two parties, French and English. Successive popes tried to restore peace, but in vain. In 1219 the prior of Grandmont and forty monks were again expelled by the rebellious lay brothers. In 1244 the papal delegates advised a union of the order with the Cistercians as a means of ending the disputes. This threat and the expulsion of a large number of monks produced a certain degree of peace. Numbers, however, declined; about 1150, the order had over 1200 members, but towards the beginning of the fourteenth century only 800. Moreover, a relaxation of the rule (1224) led finally to the cessation of all observance.

          In 1317 Pope John XXII, sometimes said to have been a Grandmontine monk, issued the Papal Bull "Exigente debito" to save the order from complete destruction. Its organization was altered and certain mitigations were approved. The number of houses was reduced from 149 to 39. The prior of Grandmont was made an abbot, and the superiors of the dependent houses, who had hitherto been known as "Correctors," were for the future to bear the title of Prior. The Abbot of Grandmont was to be elected by his own community, and not, as before, by the deputies of the whole order. A general chapter, to be attended by the prior and one monk from each dependent house, was to be held annually.

          These vigorous measures brought about a slight recovery, but in spite of the vigilance of the Holy See and the good administration of the first abbots, the improvement was of short duration. The order suffered severely during the Hundred Years' War. From 1471 till 1579 Grandmont was held by commendatory abbots; shortly after the latter date there were only eight monks in the monastery. The Huguenots seised the abbey on one occasion, but were expelled by Abbot Rigaud de Lavaur in 1604.

          The Strict Observance

          In 1643 Abbot Georges Barny (1635–1654) held a general chapter, the first for 134 years, at which Dom Charles Frémon was authorised to found the Strict Observance of the Order of Grandmont. This new branch, which remained under the jurisdiction of the abbot, was conspicuous for the primitive austerity of its observance, but never numbered more than eight houses. Unlike the parent order, they did not go by the name of the Bonshommes.

          By the beginning of the eighteenth century the two Observances together numbered only about 150 members, but the quarrles were as frequent and as bitter as ever. Grandmont was one of the first victims of the Commission des Réguliers. The religious of the Strict Observance were dispersed in 1780, but the struggle for existence was prolonged till 1787, when the last two monks were expelled from the mother-house. The monastery was finally destroyed at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and nothing but a few fragments of wall now remains.


          Grandmont never produced any writers of importance. Apart from a number of lives of St. Stephen, the most important work issuing from Grandmont was Gérard Ithier's treatise "De institutione novitiorum"--a favourite spiritual work in the Middle Ages, usually but erroneously attributed to Hugh of St. Victor.

          The original habit of Grandmont was a coarse tunic with scapular and hood, brown in the early days but changed later to black. The monks gradually laid aside the humble scapular and hood in favour of rochet and biretta. The original habit was resumed by the Strict Observance. The founder had expressly forbidden the reception into the order of houses of religious women, nevertheless four small monasteries of women in the Diocese of Limoges were admitted.

          Outside France the order only possessed five houses: two in Navarre (Spain) and three cells in England up to the middle of the 15th century. These latter, situated at Alberbury, Craswall, Herefordshire and Grosmont, never attained any importance and were occupied by a very small number of monks.

          The architecture of the order of Grandmont is notable for its simplicity. A single barrel vaulted nave with a slightly wider apse. Three windows at the east and one at the west. The entry to the church, in most surviving cases, is in the northwest side.

          Later centuries witnessed mitigations and reforms in the life, and at last the order was suppressed just before the French Revolution. In 1979 the former Grandmontine priory of Sainte-Trinite de Grandmont Villiers was to become the home of a small group intent on restoring the Grandmontine life style; with the permission of the local bishop they began to attempt the restoration of he principles of S. Stephen's monastic life, in the modern world.(Hutchison, Carole A.)

          The Grandmontines featured in an episode of the popular BBC TV drama Bonekickers entitled Army of God.


          • The Hermit Monks of Grandmont, by Carole A. Hutchison, Cistercian Publications, 1989. ISBN 0-87907-618-6
          • Die Klosteranlagen der Grammontenser - Studien zur französischen Ordensbaukunst des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts, by Birgitt Legrand, Thesis, University of Freiburg i. Br. (Germany) 2006
          •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.


          Today's Snippet II:  Muret, France

          Muret (French pronunciation: ​[my.ʁɛ] ; in Occitan Murèth) is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France. It is an outer suburb of the city of Toulouse, even though it does not belong to Greater Toulouse, which it has declined to join. It lies southwest of Toulouse and is the largest component of the intercommunality of Muretain.
          On September 12, 1213 the Battle of Muret took place between Simon de Montfort and a coalition force under the control of Count Raymond of Toulouse, and King Pedro II of Aragon.

          De Montfort had been fighting Albigensian heretics during the Albigensian Crusade, when he was besieged by the vastly superior coalition forces. Refusing to surrender or be starved into submission, de Montfort went instead on the offensive. Leading his knights out of the town, he proceeded to disperse them into a wide arc before falling upon the Toulouse cavalry with a noise like a whole forest going down under the axe. Next to fall victim to such arcing tactics was the Aragonian cavalry where King Pedro himself fell to the sword. After this, all that was left was to scatter the remaining cavalry defending the coalition camp before falling upon the infantry besieging Muret's walls. Despite overwhelming numbers,the coalition army numbering almost 34, 000 men and de Montfort's army only 2 100, the siege of Muret was lifted. 7,000 coalition troops were killed compared to minimum casualties for de Monfort's army.


          The Château de Rudelle is a 16th and 17th century castle. Privately owned, it is listed as a historic site by the French Ministry of Culture.


          150º Panorama of the Aran Valley from the Beret Plateau, showing the Ruda-Garona and Beret-Garona confluence. In Vielha the Garonne turns northward (out of sight), and after 12 km receives water from the Joèu (Pic Aneto).

          The Main Lake of Saboredo and Pic de Saboredo, the head of the Garonne valley.

          The water from Barrancs and Escaleta ravines disappears into the ground at Forau de Aigualluts
          The Louge flows northeast through the commune, then flows into the Garonne in the town. The Garonne flows north through the commune and forms part of its northern border.  The Garonne is a river in southwest France and northern Spain, with a length of 602 km (374 mi).

          The Garonne's headwaters are to be found in the Aran Valley in the Pyrenees, though three different locations have been proposed as the true source: the Uelh deth Garona at Plan de Beret (42°42′34″N 0°56′43″E), the Ratera-Saboredo cirque 42°36′26″N 0°57′56″E), or the slopes of Pic Aneto (Salterillo-Barrancs ravine 42°38′59″N 0°40′06″E according to the season).

          The Uelh deth Garona (1,862 m a.s.l.) has been traditionally considered as the source of the Garonne. From this point a brook (called the Beret-Garona) runs for 2.5 km until the bed of the main upper Garonne valley. The river runs for another 38 km until the French border at Pont del Rei (40.5 km in total).
          The Ratera-Saboredo cirque is the head of the upper Garonne valley, and its upper lake (2,600 m a.s.l.) is the origin of the Ruda-Garona river, running for 16 km until the confluence with the Beret-Garona brook, and another 38 km until the French border at Pont del Rei (54 km in total). At the confluence, the Ruda-Garona carries 2.6 m3/s of water. The Ratera-Saboredo cirque has been pointed by many researchers as the origin of the Garonne

          The third thesis holds that the river rises on the slopes of Pic Aneto, at 2,300 m a.s.l. and flows by way of a sink hole known as the Forau de Aigualluts (42°40′00″N 0°40′01″E) through the limestone of the Tuca Blanca de Pomèro and a resurgence in the Val dera Artiga above the Aran Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees. This underground route was suggested by the geologist Ramond de Carbonnières in 1787, but there was no confirmation until 1931, when caver Norbert Casteret poured fluorescein dye into the flow and noted its emergence a few hours later 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) away at Uelhs deth Joèu ("Jove's eyes" 42°40′51″N 0°42′28″E) in the Artiga de Lin on the other side of the mountain. From Aigualluts to the confluence with the main river at the bed of the upper Garonne valley (800 m a.s.l.), the Joèu has run for 12.4 km (16 more to get to the French border), carrying 2.16 m3/s. of water, while the main river is carrying 17.7 m3/s.

          Despite the lack of universal agreement upon definition for determining a stream's source, the United States Geological Survey, the National Geographic Society, and the Smithsonian Institution agree that a stream's source should be considered as the most distant point (along watercourses from the river mouth) in the drainage basin from which water runs.

          The Ratera-Saboredo cirque is the "most distant point (along watercourses from the river mouth) in the drainage basin from which water runs", and the source of the Garonne, according to the United States Geological Survey, the National Geographic Society, and the Smithsonian Institution convention upon determining a stream's source.


          The Garonne follows the Aran Valley northwards into France, flowing via Toulouse and Agen towards Bordeaux, where it meets the Gironde estuary. The Gironde flows into the Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscay). Along its course, the Garonne is joined by three other major rivers: the Ariège, the Tarn, and the Lot. Just after Bordeaux, the Garonne river finally meets the Dordogne, forming the Gironde estuary, which after approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Other tributaries include the Save and the Gers.

          The Garonne is one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit a tidal bore. Surfers and jet skiers could ride the tidal bore at least as far as the village of Cambes, 120 kilometres or 75 miles from the Atlantic and even further upstream, although the tidal bore appears and disappears in response to changes in the channel bathymmetry. In 2010 and 2012, some detailed field studies were conducted in the Garonne River (France) in the Arcins channel between Arcins Island and the right bank close to Lastrene township. A striking feature of the field data sets was the large and rapid fluctuations in turbulent velocities and turbulent stresses during the tidal bore and flood flow.

          Towns along the river

          • Aran Valley (Spain): Vielha
          • Haute-Garonne (31): Saint-Gaudens, Muret, Toulouse
          • Tarn-et-Garonne (82): Castelsarrasin
          • Lot-et-Garonne (47): Agen, Marmande
          • Gironde(33): Langon, Bordeaux, Blaye, Le Verdon-sur-Mer
          • Charente-Maritime (17): Royan


              • Levillain, Philippe (2002), Dictionnaire historique de la papauté, The Papacy: An Encyclopedia, II (Illustrated ed.), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-92230-5, retrieved 20 December 2009
              • Morton, H.V. (2002), A Traveller in Rome (Reprint ed.), Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-81131-6, retrieved 20 December 2009


                  Catechism of the Catholic Church

                  Part One: Profession of Faith, Sect 2 The Creeds, Chapter 1:1:7

                  CHAPTER ONE

                  I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER
                  198 Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last,Cf. Is 44:6 The beginning and the end of everything. the Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works.

                  Article 1

                  Paragraph 7.
                  THE FALL
                  385 God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? "I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution", said St. Augustine,St. Augustine, Conf. 7, 7, 11: PL 32, 739 and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For "the mystery of lawlessness" is clarified only in the light of the "mystery of our religion".2 Th 2:7; I Tim 3:16 The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace.Rom 5:20 We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.Lk 11:21-22

                  The reality of sin
                  386 Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity's rejection of God and opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history.

                  387 Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind's origins. Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God's plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another.

                  Original sin - an essential truth of the faith
                  388 With the progress of Revelation, the reality of sin is also illuminated. Although to some extent the People of God in the Old Testament had tried to understand the pathos of the human condition in the light of the history of the fall narrated in Genesis, they could not grasp this story's ultimate meaning, which is revealed only in the light of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.Rom 5:12-21 We must know Christ as the source of grace in order to know Adam as the source of sin. the Spirit-Paraclete, sent by the risen Christ, came to "convict the world concerning sin",Jn 16:8 by revealing him who is its Redeemer.

                  389 The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the "reverse side" of the Good News that Jesus is the Saviour of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. the Church, which has the mind of Christ,I Cor 2:16 knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ.

                  How to read the account of the fall
                  390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. GS 13 # 1 Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.Council of Trent: DS 1513; Pius XII: DS 3897; Paul VI: AAS 58
                     (1966), 654

                  II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS
                  391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy.Gen 3:1-5; Wis 2:24 Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil".Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9 The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800

                  392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.2 Pt 2:4 This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God."Gen 3:5 The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".I Jn 3:8; Jn 8:44

                  393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 2, 4: PG 94, 877

                  394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father.Jn 8:44; cf. Mt 4:1-11 "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil."Jn 3:8 In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.

                  395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature - to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him."Rom 8:28

                  III. ORIGINAL SIN
                  Freedom put to the test
                  396 God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. the prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die."Gen 2:17 The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil"Gen 2:17 symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.

                  Man's first sin
                  397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of.Gen 3:1-11 ; Rom 5:19 All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

                  398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Created in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully "divinized" by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to "be like God", but "without God, before God, and not in accordance with God".St. Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua: PG 91, 1156C; cf. Gen 3:5
                  399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness.Rom 3:23 They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.Gen 3:5-10

                  400 The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.Gen 3:7-16 Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man.Gen 3:17, 19 Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay".Rom 8:21 Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground",Gen 3:19; cf. 2:17 for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.Rom 5:12

                  401 After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin There is Cain's murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. and even after Christ's atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians.Gen 4:3-15 Scripture and the Church's Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history: What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.GS 13 # 1

                  The consequences of Adam's sin for humanity
                  402 All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms: "By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners": "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned."Rom 5:12, 19 The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men."Rom 5:18

                  403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the "death of the soul".Council of Trent: DS 1512 Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin.Council of Trent: DS 1514

                  404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? the whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man".St. Thomas Aquinas, De malo 4, I By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.Council of Trent: DS 1511-1512 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. and that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

                  405 Although it is proper to each individual,Council of Trent: DS 1513 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

                  406 The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. the first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. the Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)DS 371-372 and at the Council of Trent (1546).DS 1510-1516

                  A hard battle. . .
                  407 The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man's situation and activity in the world. By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails "captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil".Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf. Heb 2:14 Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social actionJohn Paul II, CA 25 and morals.

                  408 The consequences of original sin and of all men's personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John's expression, "the sin of the world".Jn 1:29 This expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men's sins.John Paul II, RP 16

                  409 This dramatic situation of "the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one"Jn 5:19; cf. I Pt 5:8 makes man's life a battle:
                  The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.GS 37 3 2

                  410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall.Gen 3:9, 15 This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium ("first gospel"): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.

                  411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.I Cor 15:21-22 Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the "Proto-evangelium" as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.Pius IXs Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573

                  412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, "Christ's inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon's envy had taken away."St. Leo the Great, Sermo 73, 4: PL 54, 396 and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature's being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more'; and the Exsultet sings, 'O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'"St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, I, 3, ad 3; cf. Rom 5:20

                  IN BRIEF
                  413 "God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil's envy that death entered the world" ( Wis 1:13; 2:24).

                  414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

                  415 "Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him" (GS 13 # 1).

                  416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

                  417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".

                  418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called "concupiscence").

                  419 "We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, "by propagation, not by imitation" and that it is. . . 'proper to each'" (Paul VI, CPG # 16).

                  420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" ( Rom 5:20).

                  421 Christians believe that "the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator's love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . ." (GS 2 # 2).