Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014 - Litany Lane Blog: Sacrament, Psalms 40:2-10, Isaiah 49:3-6, John 1:29-34, Pope Francis Daily , Saint Agnes of Rome, Lamb of God Agnus Dei, Catholic Catechism Part Three: Life in Christ Section Two: The Ten Commandment Chapter Two: Second Commandment Article 2:3 The Christian Name - In Brief

Sunday,  January 19, 2014 - Litany Lane Blog:
Sacrament, Psalms 40:2-10, Isaiah 49:3-6, John 1:29-34, Pope Francis Daily, Saint Agnes of Rome, Lamb of God Agnus Dei, Catholic Catechism Part Three:  Life in Christ Section Two: The Ten Commandment Chapter Two: Second Commandment Article 2:3 The Christian Name - In Brief

From Our Family to Yours, We Wish you a Happy New Year

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.

"Where there is a will, with God, there is a way." ~ Zarya Parx 2014
"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, reason and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and 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 the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

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


Prayers for Today: Sunday in Ordinary Time

Rosary - Glorious Mysteries


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis Daily: 

..."Scandals happen when there is no true relationship with God"


(2014-01-16 Vatican Radio) Scandals in the Church happen because there is no living relationship with God and His Word. Thus, corrupt priests, instead of giving the Bread of Life, give a poisoned meal to the holy people of God: that’s what Pope Francis affirmed in his homily Thursday morning during the Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta guesthouse.

Commenting on the day 's reading and responsorial Psalm which recount the crushing defeat of the Israelites by the Philistines, the Pope notes that the people of God at that time had forsaken the Lord . It was said that the Word of God was "uncommon" at that time . The old priest Eli was "lukewarm" and his sons "corrupt; they frightened the people and beat them with sticks." In their battle against the Philistines, the Israelites brought with them the Ark of the Covenant, but as something “magical,” "something external ." And they are defeated : the Ark is taken from them by their enemies. There is no true faith in God, in His real presence in life:

"This passage of Scripture,” the Pope says, “makes us think about what sort of relationship we have with God, with the Word of God: is it a formal relationship? Is it a distant relationship? The Word of God enters into our hearts, changes our hearts. Does it have this power or not? Is it a formal relationship? But the heart is closed to that Word! It leads us to think of the so many defeats of the Church, so many defeats of God's people simply because they do not hear the Lord, do not seek the Lord, do not allow themselves to be sought by the Lord! And then after a tragedy, the prayer, this one: ' But, Lord , what happened ? You have made ​​us the scorn of our neighbors. The scorn and derision of those around us. You have made us the laughing stock (it: favola) among nations! All the nations shake their heads about us. '"

And of the scandals in the Church, Pope Francis said:

"But are we ashamed? So many scandals that I do not want to mention individually, but all of us know...We know where they are! Scandals, some who charged a lot of money.... The shame of the Church! But are we all ashamed of those scandals, of those failings of priests, bishops, laity? Where was the Word of God in those scandals; where was the Word of God in those men and in those women? They did not have a relationship with God! They had a position in the Church, a position of power, even of comfort. But the Word of God, no! 'But, I wear a medal,' ‘I carry the Cross ' ... Yes, just as those bore the Ark! Without the living relationship with God and the Word of God! I am reminded of the words of Jesus about those for whom scandals come ... And here the scandal hit: bringing decay (it: decadenza) to the people of God, including (it: fino alla) the weakness and corruption of the priests."

Francis Pope concluded his homily, turning his thoughts to the people of God, saying:

"Poor people! We do not give the Bread of Life to eat; we do give – in those cases - the bread of Truth! And many times, we even offer a poisoned meal! ‘Awaken! Why do you sleep, Lord?' Let this be our prayer! ‘Awaken! Do not reject us forever! Why do you hide Your face? Why do You forget our affliction and oppression?' We ask the Lord that we never forget the Word of God, which is alive, so that it enters into our hearts and never to forget the holy people faithful to God who ask us to nourish and strengthen them. "


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope:  Winter

Vatican City, Winter 2014 (VIS)

Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for January 2014:

The Pope's universal prayer intention is “that all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples”.

The Pope's prayer intention for evangelization is “that Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ”.


Vatican liturgical celebrations presided by the Holy Father thru January 2014

Monday 6 January, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord: Mass in the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m.

Sunday 12 January, First Sunday after the Epiphany, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord: Mass and baptism of newborns in the Sistine Chapel at 9.45 a.m.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 01/18/2014.


November 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children; Anew, in a motherly way, I am calling you to love; to continually pray for the gift of love; to love the Heavenly Father above everything. When you love Him you will love yourself and your neighbor. This cannot be separated. The Heavenly Father is in each person. He loves each person and calls each person by his name. Therefore, my children, through prayer hearken to the will of the Heavenly Father. Converse with Him. Have a personal relationship with the Father which will deepen even more your relationship as a community of my children – of my apostles. As a mother I desire that, through the love for the Heavenly Father, you may be raised above earthly vanities and may help others to gradually come to know and come closer to the Heavenly Father. My children, pray, pray, pray for the gift of love because 'love' is my Son. Pray for your shepherds that they may always have love for you as my Son had and showed by giving His life for your salvation. Thank you."

October 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:  “Dear children! Today I call you to open yourselves to prayer. Prayer works miracles in you and through you. Therefore, little children, in the simplicity of heart seek of the Most High to give you the strength to be God’s children and for Satan not to shake you like the wind shakes the branches. Little children, decide for God anew and seek only His will – and then you will find joy and peace in Him. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

October 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children, I love you with a motherly love and with a motherly patience I wait for your love and unity. I pray that you may be a community of God’s children, of my children. I pray that as a community you may joyfully come back to life in the faith and in the love of my Son. My children, I am gathering you as my apostles and am teaching you how to bring others to come to know the love of my Son; how to bring to them the Good News, which is my Son. Give me your open, purified hearts and I will fill them with the love for my Son. His love will give meaning to your life and I will walk with you. I will be with you until the meeting with the Heavenly Father. My children, it is those who walk towards the Heavenly Father with love and faith who will be saved. Do not be afraid, I am with you. Put your trust in your shepherds as my Son trusted when he chose them, and pray that they may have the strength and the love to lead you. Thank you." - See more at:

Today's Word:  sacrament  sac·ra·ment  [sak-ruh-muhnt]  

Origin:  1150–1200; Middle English  < Medieval Latin sacrāmentum  obligation, oath, Late Latin:  mystery, rite, equivalent to Latin sacrā ( re ) to devote + -mentum -ment

1. Ecclesiastical . a visible sign of an inward grace, especially one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace: the sacraments of the Protestant churches are baptism and the Lord's Supper; the sacraments of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders, and extreme unction.
2. ( often initial capital letter ) . Also called Holy Sacrament. the Eucharist or Lord's Supper.
3. the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the bread.
4. something regarded as possessing a sacred character or mysterious significance.
5. a sign, token, or symbol.
6. an oath; solemn pledge.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

3 He said to me, 'Israel, you are my servant, through whom I shall manifest my glory.'
5 And now Yahweh has spoken, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him and to re-unite Israel to him;-I shall be honoured in Yahweh's eyes, and my God has been my strength.-
6 He said, 'It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I shall make you a light to the nations so that my salvation may reach the remotest parts of earth.'


Today's Epistle -  Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-10

2 He pulled me up from the seething chasm, from the mud of the mire. He set my feet on rock, and made my footsteps firm.
4 How blessed are those who put their trust in Yahweh, who have not sided with rebels and those who have gone astray in falsehood.
7 then I said, 'Here I am, I am coming.' In the scroll of the book it is written of me,
8 my delight is to do your will; your law, my God, is deep in my heart.
9 I proclaimed the saving justice of Yahweh in the great assembly. See, I will not hold my tongue, as you well know.
10 I have not kept your saving justice locked in the depths of my heart, but have spoken of your constancy and saving help. I have made no secret of your faithful and steadfast love, in the great assembly.


Today's Gospel Reading -   John 1:29-34

John the Baptist announces Jesus
as the Lamb of God

1. Opening prayer
 In this prayerful reading of the Gospel of John, we recall the words of John Henry Newman to accompany and stimulate us, words that he liked to use in prayer to the Lord: Stay with me, and I shall begin to shine as you shine; to shine so as to be light for others. Jesus, the light will all come from you: nothing will be because of me. It will be you who shines on others through me. Grant that I may praise you thus, in the way that you like most, shining on all those who are around me. Give them and me your light; enlighten them together with me, through me. Teach me to spread your praise, your truth, your will. Grant that I may make you known not through words but by example, that influence of solidarity that comes from what I do, visibly resembling your saints, and clearly full of the love that grows in my heart for you» (Meditations and Devotions).

2. The text
29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming towards him and said, 'Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. 30 It was of him that I said, "Behind me comes one who has passed ahead of me because he existed before me." 31 I did not know him myself, and yet my purpose in coming to baptise with water was so that he might be revealed to Israel.' 32 And John declared, 'I saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him. 33 I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, "The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is to baptise with the Holy Spirit." 34 I have seen and I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.'

3. A prayerful silent pause
The Word of God demands that we want and welcome it through a meditation of silence. Quieten yourself, allow yourself to welcome the presence of God in his Word; a silence that makes room in your heart so that God may come and talk to you.

4. A symbolical reading
This Gospel passage speaks of two animals of great spiritual value in the Bible: the lamb and the dove. The first alludes to significant texts in the Bible: the paschal meal of the exodus (cc.12-13); the glory of the Christ-Lamb in the Apocalypse.

a) The symbol of the lamb:
Let us turn our attention to the symbol of the «Lamb (amnos) of God», and to its meaning.

- A first biblical allusion for an understanding of this expression used by John the Baptist to point out the person of Jesus, is the figure of the victorious Lamb in the book of the Apocalypse: in 7:17 the Lamb is the shepherd of the nations; in 17:14 the Lamb squashes the evil powers on earth. In Jesus’ time, people imagined that at the end of time a victorious lamb or one that would destroy the powers of sin, injustice and evil would appear. This idea conforms to the eschatological preaching of John the Baptist who warned that God’s anger was imminent (Lk 3:7), that the axe was already laid at the roots of the trees, and that God was ready to cut down and throw on the fire every tree that did not bear good fruit (Lk 3:9). Mt 3:12 and Lk 3:17.

Another very powerful expression with which the Baptist introduces Jesus is in Matthew 3:12: «His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out». It is not wrong to think that John the Baptist could describe Jesus as the lamb of God who destroys the sin of the world. In fact, in 1 John 3:5 it is written: «Now you know that he appeared in order to abolish sin»; and in 3:8: «It was to undo all that the devil has done that the Son of God appeared». It is possible that John the Baptist greeted Jesus as the victorious lamb who, by God’s command, was to destroy evil in the world.

- A second biblical allusion is to the Lamb as the suffering servant. This figure of the suffering servant or of Jhwh is the subject of four canticles in Deutero-Isaiah: 42:1-4.7.9; 49:1-6.9.13; 50:4-9. 11); 52:13-53,12. We need to ask ourselves whether the use of «Lamb of God» in John 1:29 is not coloured by the use of “lamb” to allude to the suffering Servant of Yahweh in Isaiah 53. Did John really consider Jesus the lamb as the suffering Servant?

There certainly are no clear proofs that the Baptist made such a connection, nor are there proofs that exclude such a possibility. Indeed in Isaiah 53:7 it is written that the Servant: «never opened his mouth, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers, never opening its mouth». This description is applied to Jesus in Acts 8:32, and so this likeness between the Suffering Servant and Jesus was made by the early Christians (see Mt 8:17 = Is 53:4; Heb 9:28 = Is 53:12).

Besides, in John the Baptist’s description of Jesus in 1:32-34, there are two aspects that recall the figure of the Servant: in v. 32 John the Baptist says that he saw the Spirit coming down on Jesus and resting on him; in 34 he identifies Jesus as the chosen of God. Thus also in Isaiah 42:1 (a passage the synoptics also connect with the baptism of Jesus) we read: «Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights (see Mk 1:11). I have endowed him with my spirit». Again in Isaiah 61:1: «The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh has been given to me». These biblical allusions strengthen the possibility that the Evangelist made a connection between the Servant of Isaiah 42; 53 and the Lamb of God.

In other parts of John’s Gospel we also find Jesus described with the traits of the suffering Servant (12:38 = Is 53:1).

One interesting aspect to be noticed is that the Lamb of God is said to take away the sin of the world. In Isaiah 53:4.12, it is said that the Servant bears or takes on himself the sins of many. By his death, Jesus takes away sin or takes it on himself.

Thus according to the second interpretation, the Lamb as suffering Servant, is Christ who offers himself freely to eliminate sin from the world and restore his brothers and sisters in the flesh back to God.

We find a modern confirmation of this interpretation of Jesus as “Lamb of God” in a document of the Italian bishops: «The Apocalypse of John, going even to the ultimate depths of the mystery of the One sent by the Father, recognises in him the Lamb who is sacrificed “since the foundation of the world” (Apc 13:8), the One whose wounds healed us (1 Pt 2:25; Is 53:5)» (Communicating the Gospel in a changing world, 15).

- A third biblical allusion is the Lamb as the paschal lamb. John’s Gospel is full of Paschal symbolism especially in relation to the death of Jesus. For the Christian community for whom John is writing his Gospel, the Lamb takes away the sin of the world by his death. In fact, in John 19:14 it is written that Jesus was sentenced to death at midday on the eve of the Pasch, that is at the time when priests began to sacrifice paschal lambs in the Temple for Easter. Another connection of the paschal symbolism with the death of Jesus is that while Jesus was on the cross, a sponge soaked in vinegar was raised up to him on a stick (19:29), and it was the stick or hyssop that was dipped into the blood of the paschal lamb to sprinkle the doorposts of the Israelites (Es 12:22). Then in John 19:36 the fulfilment of Scripture that not one bone of Jesus would be broken, is clearly a reference to the text in Exodus 12:46 where it is written that not one bone of the paschal lamb must be broken. The description of Jesus as the Lamb is found in another of John’s works, namely the Apocalypse: in 5:6 mention is made of the sacrificed lamb; in 7:17 and 22:1 the Lamb is the one from whom flows the spring of living water and this aspect is also an allusion to Moses who made water to flow from the rock; finally, in 5:9 reference is made to the redeeming blood of the Lamb, another paschal motif that recalls the salvation of the houses of the Israelites from the danger of death.

There is a parallel between the blood of the lamb sprinkled on the doorposts as a sign of liberation and the blood of the lamb offered in a sacrifice of liberation. Soon Christians began to compare Jesus to the paschal lamb and, in doing so, they did not hesitate to use sacrificial language: «Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed» (1 Cor 5:7), including Jesus’ task of taking away the sin of the world.

b) The symbol of the dove:
This second symbol also has several aspects to it. First of all, the expression “like a dove” was common to express the affective connection with the nest. In our context it says that the Spirit has found its nest, its natural habitat of love in Jesus. Moreover, the dove symbolises the love of the Father that rests on Jesus as in a permanent dwelling place (see Mt 3:16; Mk 1:10; Lk 3:22).

Then the expression «like a dove» is used in connection with the verb to descend to express that it is not a question of the physical aspect of a dove but the way the Spirit descends (like the flight of a dove), in the sense that it does not strike terror but rather inspires trust. Such biblical symbolism of the dove does not have parallel symbolisms in the Bible; however an old rabbinical exegesis compares the hovering of the Spirit of God over the primordial waters to the fluttering of the dove over its nest. It is not impossible that in using this symbol, John wanted to say that the descent of the Spirit in the shape of a dove was a clear reference to the beginning of creation: the incarnation of God’s plan in Jesus is the summit and aim of God’s creative activity.
The love of God for Jesus (corresponding to the movement of the dove returning to its nest) urges him to pass on the fullness of his divine essence (the Spirit is love and loyalty).

5. The message
a) Christ is our salvation: The Baptist had the task of pointing out in Jesus «the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world». The proclamation of the Gospel, the word of Jesus Christ, is as essential and indispensable today as it was yesterday. We never cease to need liberation and salvation. Proclaiming the Gospel does not mean communicating theoretical truths nor is it a collection of moral teachings. Rather, it means allowing people to experience Jesus Christ, who came into the world – according to John’s witness – to save humankind from sin, evil and death. So we cannot transmit the Gospel and at the same time not pay attention to the daily needs and expectations of people. To speak of faith in Jesus, lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, means to speak to people of our time, first asking ourselves what do they seek in the depths of their heart.

“If we wish to hold on to an appropriate criterion…, we shall need to nurture two complementary focal points… Jesus Christ is witness to both. The first consists of our effort to listen to the culture of our world so as to discern the seeds of the Word already present there, even beyond the visible borders of the Church. To listen to the most intimate expectations of our contemporaries, consider seriously their wishes and desires, seek to understand that which burns in their hearts and what makes them afraid and diffident”. Besides, paying attention to the needs and expectations of people «does not mean renouncing what is different in Christianity, or the transcendence of the Gospel… the Christian message points to a fully human way of life but does not limit itself to presenting mere humanism. Jesus Christ came so that we may partake of the divine life, of that life which has been called “the humanity of God”. (Communicating the Gospel in a changing world n. 34)

b) The Spirit does not come only to rest on Jesus, but to possess him permanently so that he may share himself with others in baptism. Finally, the lamb who pardons sins and “the dove of the Church, meet in Christ”. Here is a quotation from St. Bernard where he brings together the two symbols: “The lamb is among animals that which the dove is among birds: innocence, sweetness and simplicity”.
c) Some practical suggestions:
- Renew our availability to collaborate with the mission of Christ in communion with the Church by helping people to be free of evil and of sin.
- To stand by men and women on their journey that they may live in hope in Jesus who liberates and saves.
- To give witness to one’s joy in experiencing the efficacy of the word of Jesus in one’s life.
- To live by communicating faith giving witness to Jesus, saviour of every person

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Agnes

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:  Lamb of God  - Agnus Dei

Lamb bleeding into the Holy Chalice, carrying the vexillum.
Lamb of God (Greek: ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, amnos tou theou; Latin: Agnus Dei) is a title for Jesus that appears in the Gospel of John. It appears at John 1:29, where John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."[1]

Although "Lamb of God " refers in Christian teachings to Jesus Christ in his role of the perfect sacrificial offering, Christological arguments dissociate the term from the Old Testament concept of a "scapegoat," which is a person or animal subject to punishment for the sins of others without knowing it or willing it. Christian doctrine holds that Jesus chose to suffer at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of his Father, as an "agent and servant of God".[2][3] The Lamb of God is thus related to the Paschal Lamb of Passover, which is viewed as foundational and integral to the message of Christianity.[4][5]

A lion-like lamb that rises to deliver victory after being slain appears several times in the Book of Revelation.[6] Although also indirectly referred to in Pauline writings, nothing in the context of 1 Corinthians 5:7 suggests that Saint Paul intends to refers to the death of Jesus using the theme found in Johannine writings.[7]

The Lamb of God title is widely used in Christian prayers, and the Agnus Dei is used as a standard part of the Catholic Mass, as well as the classical Western Liturgies of the Anglican and Lutheran Churches. It also is used in liturgy and as a form of contemplative prayer.[8][9] The Agnus Dei also forms a part of the musical setting for the Mass.

As a visual motif the lamb has been most often represented since the Middle Ages as a standing haloed lamb with a foreleg cocked "holding" a pennant with a red cross on a white ground, though many other ways of representing it have been used.

Gospel of John

The title Lamb of God for Jesus appears only in the Gospel of John, with the initial proclamation: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29, the title reaffirmed the next day in John 1:36.[1] The second use of the title Lamb of God takes place in the presence of the first two apostles of Jesus, who immediately follow him, address him as Rabbi with respect and later in the narrative bring others to meet him.[10]

These two proclamations of Jesus as the Lamb of God closely bracket the Baptist's other proclamation in John 1:34: "I have borne witness that this is the Son of God". From a Christological perspective, these proclamations and the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove in John 1:32 reinforce each other to establish the divine element of the Person of Christ.[1] In Johannine Christology the proclamation "who takes away the sin of the world" begins the unfolding of the salvific theme of the redemptive and sacrificial death of Jesus followed by his resurrection which is built upon in other proclamations such as "this is indeed the Saviour of the world" uttered by the Samaritans in John 4:42.[11][12]

Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation includes over twenty-nine references to a lion-like lamb ("slain but standing") which delivers victory in a manner reminiscent of the resurrected Christ.[6] In the first appearance of the lamb in Revelation (5:1-7) only the lamb (which is of the tribe of Judah, and the root of David) is found worthy to take the judgment scroll from God and break the seals.[6] The reference to the lamb in Revelation 5:6 relates it to the Seven Spirits of God which first appear in Revelation 1:4 and are associated with Jesus who holds them along with seven stars.[13]

In Revelation 21:14 the lamb is said to have twelve apostles.[6] The handing of the scroll (i.e. the book containing the names of those who will be saved) to the risen lamb signifies the change in the role of the lamb. In Calvary, the lamb submitted to the will of the Father to be slain, but now is trusted with the judgment of mankind.[14]

From the outset, the book of Revelation is presented as a "revelation of Jesus Christ" and hence the focus on the lamb as both redeemer and judge presents the dual role of Jesus: he redeems man through self-sacrifice, yet calls man to account on the day of judgment.[15]


The concept of the Lamb of God fits well within John's "agent Christology", in which sacrifice is made as an agent of God or servant of God for the sake of eventual victory.[3][16]

The theme of a sacrificial lamb which rises in victory as the Resurrected Christ was employed in early Christology, e.g. in 375 Saint Augustine wrote: "Why a lamb in his passion? Because he underwent death without being guilty of any iniquity. Why a lion in his passion? Because in being slain, he slew death. Why a lamb in his resurrection? Because his innocence is everlasting. Why a lion in his resurrection? Because everlasting also is his might."[17]

Medieval Agnus Dei with halo and cross; Euphrasian Basilica, Poreč, Croatia.
The 11th century Christology of Saint Anselm of Canterbury specifically disassociates Lamb of God from the Old Testament concept of an Scape goat which is subjected to punishment for the sins of others, without knowing it or willing it.[2] Anselm emphasized that as Lamb of God Jesus chose to suffer in Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of the Father.[2]

John Calvin presented the same Christological view of "The Lamb as the agent of God" by arguing that in his trial before Pilate and while at Herod's Court Jesus could have argued for his innocence, but instead remained mostly quiet and submitted to Crucifixion in obedience to the Father, for he knew his role as the Lamb of God.[18][19]

In modern Eastern Orthodox Christology, Sergei Bulgakov argued that the role of Jesus as the Lamb of God was "pre-eternally" determined by the Father before the creation of the world, as a sign of love by considering the scenario that it would be necessary to send The Son as an agent to redeem humanity disgraced by the fall of Adam.[20]

Multiple hypotheses about the suitable symbolism for the Lamb of God have been offered, within various Christological frameworks, ranging from the interpretation of Old Testament references to those of the Book of Revelation.[21] One view suggests the symbolism of Leviticus 16 as Scapegoat, coupled with Romans 3:21-25 for atonement, while another view draws parallels with the Paschal Lamb in Exodus 12:1-4, coupled with John 1:29-36, and yet another symbolism relies on Revelation 5:5-14 in which the lamb is viewed as a lion who destroys evil.[21][22] However, as above Saint Anselm and John Calvin's view reject the Scapegoat symbolism for they view Jesus as making a knowing sacrifice as an agent of God, unlike an unwitting Scapegoat.[2][18][19]

In modern Roman Catholic Christology, Karl Rahner has continued to elaborate on the analogy that the blood of the Lamb of God, and the water flowing from the side of Christ on Calvary had a cleansing nature, similar to baptismal water. In this analogy, the blood of the Lamb washed away the sins of humanity in a new baptism, redeeming it from the fall of Adam.[23]

Liturgy and music

In the Mass of the Roman Rite and also in the Eucharist of the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Church, and the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church the Agnus Dei is the invocation to the Lamb of God sung or recited during the fraction of the Host.[24] It is said to have been introduced into the Mass by Pope Sergius I (687–701).[25]

Agnus Dei has been set to music by many composers, usually as part of a Mass setting.[26][27]


Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, with gushing blood, detail of the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck.
In Christian iconography, an Agnus Dei is a visual representation of Jesus as a lamb, since the Middle Ages usually holding a standard or banner with a cross. This normally rests on the lamb's shoulder and is held in its right foreleg. Often the cross will have a white banner suspended from it charged with a red cross (similar to St George's Cross), though the cross may also be rendered in different colors. Sometimes the lamb is shown lying atop a book with seven seals hanging from it. This is a reference to the imagery in the Book of Revelation 5:1-13, ff. Occasionally, the lamb may be depicted bleeding from the area of the heart (Cf. Revelation 5:6), symbolizing Jesus' shedding of his blood to take away the sins of the world (Cf. John 1:29, 1:36).

In Early Christian art the symbol appears very early on. Several mosaics in churches include it, some showing a row of twelve sheep representing the apostles flanking the central Agnus Dei, as in Santi Cosma e Damiano, Rome (526-30).

The Moravian Church uses an Agnus Dei as their seal with the surrounding inscription Vicit agnus noster, eum sequamur ("Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow him.").

Although the depiction of Jesus as the Lamb of God is of ancient origin, it is not used in the liturgical iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The reason for this is that the depictions of Jesus in the Orthodox Church are anthropomorphic rather than symbolic, as a confession of the Orthodox belief in the Incarnation of the Logos. However, there is no objection to the application of the term "Lamb of God" to Jesus. In fact, the Host used in the Orthodox Divine Liturgy is referred to as the Lamb (Greek: άμνος, amnos; Slavonic: Агнецъ, agnets).

Catholic sacramental

In the Roman Catholic Church, an Agnus Dei is a disc of wax, stamped with an image of Jesus as a lamb bearing a cross, that is blessed by the Pope as a sacramental. These were often set in jewellery, and might be worn round the neck on a chain, or as a brooch.


  1.  The Lamb of God by Sergei Bulgakov 2008 ISBN 0-8028-2779-9 page 263
  2. The Christology of Anselm of Canterbury by Dániel Deme 2004 ISBN 0-7546-3779-4 pages 199-200
  3. The Christology of the New Testament by Oscar Cullmann 1959 ISBN 0-664-24351-7 page 79
  4. Karl Gerlach (1998). The Antenicene Pascha: A Rhetorical History. Peeters Publishers. p. 21. "Long before this controversy, Ex 12 as a story of origins and its ritual expression had been firmly fixed in the Christian imagination. Though before the final decades of the second century only accessible as an exegetical tradition, already in the Paulin letters the Exodus saga is deeply involved with the celebration of bath and meal. Even here, this relationship does not suddenly appear, but represents developments in ritual narrative that mus have begun at the very inception of the Christian message. Jesus of Nazareth was crucifed during Pesach-Mazzot, an event that a new covenant people of Jews and Gentiles both saw as definitive and defining. Ex 12 is thus one of the few reliable guides for tracing the synergism among ritual, text, and kerygma before the Council of Nicaea."
  5. Matthias Reinhard Hoffmann (2005). The Destroyer and the Lamb: The Relationship Between Angelomorphic and Lamb Christology in the Book of Revelation. Mohr Siebeck. p. 117. ISBN 3-16-148778-8. "1.2.2. Christ as the Passover Lamb from Exodus A number of features throughout Revelation seem to correspond to Exodus 12: The connection of Lamb and Passover, a salvific effect of the Lamb's blood and the punishment of God's (and His people's) opponents from Exodus 12 may possibly be reflected within the settings of the Apocalypse. The concept of Christ as a Passover lamb is generally not unknown in NT or early Christian literature, as can for instance be seen in 1 Corinthians 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19 or Justin Martyr's writing (Dial. 111:3). In the Gospel of John, especially, this connection between Christ and Passover is made very explicit."
  6. Reclaiming the book of Revelation: by Wilfried E. Glabach 2007 ISBN 1-4331-0054-1 pages
  7. 1 Corinthians by David J. Lull, William A. Beardslee 2007 ISBN 0-8272-0530-9 page 41
  8. Holy Conversation: Spirituality for Worship by Jonathan Linman 2010 ISBN 0-8006-2130-1 page 148
  9. Prayer Book Parallels: The Public Services of the Church by Paul Victor Marshall 1990 ISBN 0-89869-181-8 page 369
  10. The Life and Ministry of Jesus by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 100-101
  11. Johannine Christology and the Early Church by T. E. Pollard 2005 ISBN 0-521-01868-4 page 21
  12. Studies in Early Christology by Martin Hengel 2004 ISBN 0-567-04280-4 page 371
  13. New Testament Theology by Thomas R. Schreiner 2008 Baker Academic ISBN 0-8010-2680-6 page 502
  14. Studies in Revelation by M. R. De Haan, Martin Ralph DeHaan 1998 ISBN 0-8254-2485-2 page 103
  15. Revelation by Ben Witherington ISBN 20030521000688 page 27
  16. The Johannine exegesis of God by Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda 2005 ISBN 3-11-018248-3 page 281
  17. Revelation by William C. Weinrich 2005 ISBN 0-8308-1497-3 page 73
  18. The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures by Hughes Oliphant Old 2002 ISBN 0-8028-4775-7 page 125
  19. Calvin's Christology by Stephen Edmondson 2004 ISBN 0-521-54154-9 page 91
  20. The Lamb of God by Sergei Bulgakov 2008 ISBN 0-8028-2779-9 page 129
  21. Symbols of Jesus: A Christology of Symbolic Engagement by Robert C. Neville (Feb 4, 2002) Cambridge Univ Pres ISBN 0521003539 page 13
  22. The Lion and the Lamb by Andreas J. Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum and Charles L Quarles (Jul 15, 2012) ISBN 1433677083 page 114
  23. Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 page 74
  24. See "Agnus Dei (in Liturgy)" article from The Catholic Encyclopedia
  25. Lives of Orthodox Western Saints by Reader Daniel Lieuwen (St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney TX)
  26. The Harvard dictionary of music by Don Michael Randel 2003 ISBN 0-674-01163-5 page 28
  27. The earliest settings of the Agnus Dei and its tropes by Charles Mercer Atkinson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1975 page 14
  28.  "Agnus Dei" article from The Catholic Encyclopedia


Catholic Catechism 

Catholic Catechism 

Part Three:  Life in Christ 

Section Two:  The Ten Commandments

Chapter Two:  Second Commandment 

 Article 2:3  "The Christian Name"

Article 2
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.Ex 20:7; Deut 5:11
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not swear falsely. . But I say to you, Do not swear at all.Mt 5:33-34

II. The Christian Name
2156 The sacrament of Baptism is conferred "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."85Mt 28:19 In Baptism, the Lord's name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. the patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession. the "baptismal name" can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. "Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment."86CIC, Can. 855

2157 The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the Sign of the Cross: "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." the baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior's grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. the sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties.

2158 God calls each one by name.81 Isa 43:1; Jn 10:3 Everyone's name is sacred. the name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it.

2159 The name one receives is a name for eternity. In the kingdom, the mysterious and unique character of each person marked with God's name will shine forth in splendor. "To him who conquers . . . I will give a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it."88Rev 2:17 "Then I looked, and Lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads."89Rev 14:1

2160 "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth" ( Ps 8:1)!
2161 The second commandment enjoins respect for the Lord's name. the name of the Lord is holy.
2162 The second commandment forbids every improper use of God's name. Blasphemy is the use of the name of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Virgin Mary, and of the saints in an offensive way.
2163 False oaths call on God to be witness to a lie. Perjury is a grave offence against the Lord who is always faithful to his promises.
2164 "Do not swear whether by the Creator, or any creature, except truthfully, of necessity, and with reverence" (St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 38).
2165 In Baptism, the Christian receives his name in the Church. Parents, godparents, and the pastor are to see that he be given a Christian name. the patron saint provides a model of charity and the assurance of his prayer.
2166 The Christian begins his prayers and activities with the Sign of the Cross: "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
2167 God calls each one by name (cf Isa 43:1).