Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015 - Litany Lane Blog: Empathy, Psalms 116:1-9, Isaiah 50:4-9, Mark 8:27-35, Pope Francis's Catchesis, Hymn of the Week - Pange Lingua Gloriosi, Our Lady of Medjugorje's Monthly Message, Feast of Saint John Chrysostom, Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Servite Chaplet, Mystical City of God Book 4 Chapter 9 Return from Egypt, Catholic Catechism - The Profession of Faith Chapter 3 Article 9, Paragraph 5 - Communion of Saints, RECHARGE: Heaven Speaks to Young Adults

Sunday,  September 13, 2015 - Litany Lane Blog:

Empathy, Psalms 116:1-9, Isaiah 50:4-9, Mark 8:27-35, Pope Francis's Catchesis, Hymn of the Week - Pange Lingua Gloriosi, Our Lady of Medjugorje's Monthly Message, Feast of Saint John Chrysostom, Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Servite Chaplet, Mystical City of God Book 4 Chapter 9 Return from Egypt, Catholic Catechism - The Profession of Faith Chapter 3 Article 9, Paragraph 5 - Communion of Saints,  RECHARGE: Heaven Speaks to Young Adults

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). A remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience, tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7. ~ Zarya Parx 2015

"Where there is a Will, With God, There is a Way", "There is always a ray of sunshine amongst the darkest Clouds, the name of that ray is Jesus" ~ 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:  24th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Hymn of the Week

Pange Lingua Gloriosi (Glorious Body Telling)
Standard YouTube License
Available at Amazon -   (Google Play • AmazonMP3 • iTunes)

**Copyright Disclaimer - Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research under the term "fair use", which is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational, and personal use also tips the balance in favor of fair use.


Our Lady of Medjugorje Monthly Messages

September 2, 2015 message form our Lady of Medjugorje:

Dear children,
My dear apostles of love, my carriers of truth, again I am calling you and gathering you around me to help me, to help all of my children who thirst for love and truth—who thirst for my Son. I am a grace from the Heavenly Father, sent to help you to live the word of my Son. Love one another. I lived your earthly life. I know that it is not always easy, but if you will love each other, you will pray with the heart, you will reach spiritual heights and the way to heaven will be opened for you. I, your mother, am waiting for you there because I am there. Be faithful to my Son and teach others faithfulness. I am with you. I will help you. I will teach you faith that you may know how to transmit it to others in the right way. I will teach you truth that you may know how to discern. I will teach you love that you may come to know what real love is. My children, my Son will make it so as to speak through your words and your actions. Thank you. ~ Blessed Mother Mary


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis Daily Catechesis:

September 13, 2015

(2015-09-13 Vatican Radio) 
In his Angelus address on Sunday from his studio above St Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading from Mark in which Jesus asks the disciples "Who do people say I am?"

The Pope recalled how they responded, saying that some people thought he was John the Baptist restored to life, others Elijah or one of the great prophets, but couldn’t quite believe he was the Messiah.

The Holy Father noted how Jesus then asks a very important question "But who do you say that I am?" in order to test their faith.

Jesus, said Pope Francis is impressed by the faith of Peter who says “you are the Christ”.

But Jesus also rebukes Peter for thinking the way men think and not as God thinks when he tells the disciples "the Son of Man must suffer many things ... and be killed, and after three days rise again".

For Peter, explained the Pope, these words are scandalous. The Holy Father also explained that in announcing that he must suffer and be put to death and then resurrected, Jesus wants to make it clear to those who follow him that as the Messiah he is a humble servant. What Jesus is also saying, said Pope Francis is that “anyone who wants to be his disciple must accept being a servant.”

Following Jesus, continued the Pope, means taking up one’s own cross to accompany him on his journey, a path that ultimately leads to true freedom, freedom from selfishness and sin. The Holy Father also underlined that accompanying the Lord means rejecting the worldly mentality that puts the "self" at the centre of existence, instead following what is renewed and authentic.

Then speaking to the young people present in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis asked, “Have you felt the need to become closer to Jesus?” “Reflect and pray,” the Pope advised, and let the Lord speak to you.

Following the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Holy Father remembered a new Blessed being proclaimed in South Africa. Samuel Benedict Daswa was a family man killed in 1990 because of his fidelity to the Gospel.

Pope Francis said that in his life Daswa always showed “great consistency, courageously taking on Christian attitudes and refusing worldly and pagan habits. His testimony, the Pope added, helps especially families to spread the truth and charity of Christ.”

He also greeted temporary teachers  from Sardinia, and expressed the hope that the problems of the labour market would be addressed by taking account of the family and its needs.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed - 09/13/2015


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope:  2015

Vatican City, Spring 2015 (VIS)

The following is the English text of the intentions – both universal and for evangelization – that, as is customary, the Pope entrusted to the Apostleship of Prayer for 2015. 

Universal: That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people.
Evangelization: That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim.

Universal: That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.

Universal: That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.
Evangelization: That pastors of the Church, with profound love for their flocks, may accompany them and enliven their hope.

Universal: That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.
Evangelization: That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.

  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 09/13/2015.


Today's Word:   Empathy  {em-puh-thee}

Origin: 1900-05; < Greek empátheia affection, equivalent to em- em-2+ path- (base of páschein to suffer) + -eia -ia; present meaning translates German Einfühlung 

1.  the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
2. the imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself.  By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 116:1-9

1 Alleluia! I am filled with love when Yahweh listens to the sound of my prayer,
2 when he bends down to hear me, as I call.
3 The bonds of death were all round me, the snares of Sheol held me fast; distress and anguish held me in their grip,
4 I called on the name of Yahweh. Deliver me, Yahweh, I beg you.
5 Yahweh is merciful and upright, our God is tenderness.
6 Yahweh looks after the simple, when I was brought low he gave me strength.
8 He has rescued me from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
9 I shall pass my life in the presence of Yahweh, in the land of the living.


Today's Epistle -   Isaiah 50:4-9

4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for me to know how to give a word of comfort to the weary. Morning by morning he makes my ear alert to listen like a disciple.
5 Lord Yahweh has opened my ear and I have not resisted, I have not turned away.
6 I have offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; I have not turned my face away from insult and spitting.
7 Lord Yahweh comes to my help, this is why insult has not touched me, this is why I have set my face like flint and know that I shall not be put to shame.
8 He who grants me saving justice is near! Who will bring a case against me? Let us appear in court together! Who has a case against me? Let him approach me!
9 Look, Lord Yahweh is coming to my help! Who dares condemn me? Look at them, all falling apart like moth-eaten clothes!


Today's Gospel Reading -   Mark 8: 27-35

How to follow Jesus
Care of the Disciples, healing of the Blind
Mark 8: 27-35

1. Opening prayer

Lord Jesus, send your Spirit to help us to read the Scriptures with the same mind that you read them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the light of the Word, written in the Bible, you helped them to discover the presence of God in the disturbing events of your sentence and death. Thus, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope became for them the source of life and of resurrection. 

Create in us silence so that we may listen to your voice in Creation and in the Scriptures, in events and in people, above all in the poor and suffering. May your word guide us so that we too, like the two disciples from Emmaus, may experience the force of your resurrection and witness to others that you are alive in our midst as source of fraternity, justice and peace. We ask this of you, Jesus, son of Mary, who revealed to us the Father and sent us your Spirit. Amen.

2. Reading
a) A key to the reading:
The text of the Gospel of this 24th Sunday of ordinary time presents the first announcement of the Passion and death of Jesus, to the Disciples, Peter trying to eliminate the Cross and the teaching of Jesus concerning the consequences of the Cross for those who wish to be His Disciples. Peter does not understand the proposal of Jesus concerning the Cross and suffering. He accepted Jesus as Messiah, not as a suffering Messiah. Peter was conditioned by the propaganda of the Government of that time which spoke of the Messiah only in terms of a glorious King. Peter seemed to be blind. He could not see anything and wished that Jesus could be like him, Peter desired and imagined. Today we all believe in Jesus. But all of us do not understand him in the same way. Who is Jesus for me? Today, which is the most common image of Jesus that people have? Today, is there a propaganda that tries to interfere in our way of seeing Jesus? Who am I for Jesus?

b) A division of the text to help in the reading:
Mark 8, 27-28: The question of Jesus concerning the opinion of the people and the response of the Disciples
Mark 8, 29-30: The question of Jesus and the opinion of his Disciples
Mark 8, 31-32ª: The first announcement of the Passion and death
Mark 8, 32b-33: The conversation between Jesus and Peter
Mark 8, 34-35: The conditions to follow Jesus

c) The text:
27 Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, 'Who do people say I am?' 28 And they told him, 'John the Baptist, others Elijah, others again, one of the prophets.' 29 'But you,' he asked them, 'who do you say I am?' Peter spoke up and said to him, 'You are the Christ.' 30 And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.

31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of man was destined to suffer grievously, and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; 32 and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter tried to rebuke him. 33 But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God thinks, but as human beings do.' 34 He called the people and his disciples to him and said, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

3. A moment of prayerful silence so that the Word of God may penetrate and enlighten our life.

4. Some questions  to help us in our personal reflection.
a) Which point in this text pleased you the most or what struck you the most? Why?
b) Which is the opinion of the people and of Peter on Jesus? Why do Peter and the people think in this way?
c) Which is the relationship between the healing of the blind man, described before (Mk 8, 22-26) and the conversation of Jesus with Peter and the other Disciples?
d) What does Jesus ask from those who want to follow him?
e) What prevents us today from recognizing and assuming the project of Jesus?

5. For those who wish to deepen more on the theme
a) Context of yesterday and of today:
i) In the text of Mark 8, 27 the long instruction of Jesus to his Disciples begins, and this goes on until the passage of Mark 10, 45. At the beginning of this instruction as well as at the end of it, Mark places the healing of the blind man: Mark 8, 22-26 and Mark 10, 46-52. At the beginning the healing of the blind man was not easy and Jesus had to heal him in two stages. The healing of the blindness of the Disciples was also difficult. Jesus had to give them a long explanation concerning the significance of the Cross in order to help them to see the reality, because it was the cross which brought about the blindness in them. At the end, the healing of the blind man Bartimaeus is the fruit of faith in Jesus. It suggests the ideal of the Disciple: to believe in Jesus and to accept Him as He is, and not as I want or imagine.

ii) In the year 70, when Mark wrote, the situation of the communities was not easy. There was much suffering, many were the crosses. Six years before, in 64, Nero, the emperor had decreed the first great persecution, killing many Christians. In the year 70, in Palestine, Jerusalem, was about to be destroyed by the Romans. In other countries, a great tension between the converted Jews and the non converted was beginning. The greatest difficulty was the Cross of Jesus. The Jews thought that a Crucified person could not be the Messiah greatly expected by the people, because the Law affirmed that anyone who had been crucified had to be considered as cursed by God (Dt 21, 22-23).

b) Commentary on the text:
Mark 8, 22.26: Healing of the blind man
They bring him a blind man, and ask Jesus to cure him. Jesus cures him, but in a different way. First, he takes him out of the village, then he puts some saliva on his eyes, imposes the hands and asks him: Do you see anything? And the man answers: I see men, because I see like tress that walk! He saw only in part. He sees tress and interchanges them for people, and the people for trees! It is only in the second time that Jesus heals the blind man and forbids him to go back to the village. Jesus did not want an easy propaganda! This description of the healing of the blind man is an introduction to the instruction which will be given to the Disciples, because in reality, Peter and the other Disciples were blind!. And the blindness of the Disciples is cured by Jesus, even though not in the first time. They accepted Jesus as Messiah, but only as a gloriousMessiah. They only noticed one part! They did not want the commitment of the Cross! They interchangedtrees for persons!

Mark 8, 27-30. TO SEE: the discovery of reality
Jesus asks: “Whom do people say that I am?” They answer indicating the diverse opinions of the people: “John the Baptist”, “Elijah or one of the prophets”. After having heard the opinions of others , Jesus asks: “And you, whom do you say that I am?” Peter answers: “You are the Christ, the Messiah!” That is: “The Lord is the one whom the people are expecting!” Jesus agrees with Peter, but forbids to speak about this with the people. Why does Jesus forbid them this? Then, everyone was waiting for the coming of the Messiah, but each one in his own way, according to the class and the social position which he had: some expected him to come as King, others as Priest. Doctor, Warrior, Judge or Prophet! Nobody seemed to wait for the Messiah as Servant, as announced by Isaiah (Is 42, 1-9).

Mark 8, 31-33. TO JUDGE: clarification of the situation: first announcement of the Passion
Jesus begins to teach that he is the Messiah Servant announced by Isaiah, and will be taken prisoner and be killed during the exercise of his mission of justice (Is 49, 4-9; 53, 1-12). Peter is filled with fear, he takes Jesus aside and tries to rebuke him. 

And Jesus responds to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God thinks, but as human beings do!” Peter thought he had given the right answer. And, in fact he says the just word: “You are the Christ!” But he does not give this word the right significance. Peter does not understand Jesus. He is like the blind man of Bethsaida. He interchanged the people with the trees! Jesus’ answer was very hard. He calls Peter Satan! Satan is a Hebrew word which means accuser, the one who withdraws others from the path of God. Jesus does not allow anyone to draw him away from his mission. Literally, Jesus says: “Get behind me!” That is, Peter has to go behind Jesus, has to follow Jesus and accept the way or direction which Jesus indicates. Peter wanted to be the first one and to indicate the direction. He wanted a Messiah according to his measure and according to his desire.

Mark 8, 34-37. TO ACT: conditions to follow
Jesus draws conclusions which are still valid today: He who wants to follow me, let him take up his cross and follow me! At that time, the cross was the death sentence which the Roman Empire imposed to the marginalized. To take up the cross and to carry it following Jesus meant, then, to accept to be marginalized by the unjust system which legitimised injustice. It indicated a radical and total rupture. As Saint Paul says in the Letter to the Galatians: “But as for me, it is out of the question that I should boast at all, except of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6, 14). The Cross is not fatalism, nor is it an exigency from the Father. The Cross is the consequence of the commitment, freely assumed by Jesus to reveal the Good News that Jesus is Father and that, therefore, all have to be accepted and treated as brothers and sisters. Because of this revolutionary announcement, he was persecuted and he was not afraid to surrender his life. There is no proof of a greater love than to give one’s life for the brother.

c) Extending the information:
The instruction of Jesus to the Disciples
Between the two healings of the blind men (Mk 8, 22-26 and Mark 10, 46-52), is found the long instruction of Jesus to his Disciples, to help them to understand the significance of the Cross and its consequences for life (Mark 8, 27 to 10, 45). It seems to be a document, a certain type of catechism, made by Jesus himself. It speaks about the cross in the life of the Disciple. It is a type of a schema of instruction:

         Mk 8, 22-26: Healing of a blind man
         Mk 8, 277-38: 1st announcement of the Passion
                   Mk 9, 1-29: Instruction on the Messiah Servant
         Mk 9, 30-37: 2nd Announcement of the Passion
                   Mk 9, 38 to 10, 31: Instructions on conversation
         Mk 10, 32-45: 3rd Announcement of the Passion 
         Mk 10, 46-52: Healing of a blind man.

As we can see, the instruction is formed by three announcements of the Passion. The first one is in Mark 8, 27-38, the second one in Mark 9, 30-37 and the third one in Mark 10, 32-45. Between the first one and the second one, there are a series of instructions to help them to understand that Jesus is the Messiah Servant (Mk 9, 1-29). Between the second and the third one, a series of instructions which clarify the conversion which has to take place in the life of those who accept Jesus as Messiah Servant (Mk 9, 38 to 10, 31).

The background of the whole instruction is the road from Galilee to Jerusalem, from the lake to the cross. Jesus is on the way toward Jerusalem, where he will be put to death. From the beginning and up to the end of this instruction, Mark informs that Jesus is on the way toward Jerusalem (Mk 8, 27; 9, 30.33; 10, 1, 17.32), where he will find the cross.

In each one of these three announcements, Jesus speaks about his Passion, Death and Resurrection as part of the project of Jesus: “The Son of man has to suffer grievously, and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again” (Mk 8, 31; 9, 31; 10, 33). The expression has indicates that the cross had already been announced in the prophecies (cfr. Lk 24, 26).

Each one of these three announcements of the Passion is accompanied by gestures or words of misunderstanding on the part of the Disciples. In the first one, Peter does not want the cross and criticises Jesus (Mk 8, 32). In the second one, the Disciples do not understand Jesus, they are afraid and wish to be greater (Mk 9, 32-34). In the third one, they are afraid, they are apprehensive (Mk 10, 32), and they seek promotions (Mk 10, 35-37). And this because in the communities for which Mark writes his Gospel there were many persons like Peter: they did not want the cross! They were like the Disciples: they did not understand the cross, they were afraid and wanted to be the greatest; they lived in fear and desired promotions. Each one of these three announcements gives them a word of orientation on the part of Jesus, criticising the lack of understanding of the Disciples and teaching how their behaviour should be. Thus, in the first announcement, Jesus demands from those who wish to follow him to carry the cross behind him, to lose their life out of love for him and for his Gospel, not to be ashamed of him and of his word (Mk 8, 34-38). In the second one he demands: to become the servant of all, to receive the children, the little ones, as if they were Jesus himself (Mk 9, 35-37). In the third one he demands: to drink the cup that he will drink, not to imitate the powerful who exploit the others, but to imitate the Son of Man who has not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life for the redemption of many (Mk 10, 35-45).

The total understanding of the following of Jesus is not obtained from the theoretical instruction, but from the practical commitment, walking with him along the way of service, from Galilee to Jerusalem. Those who insist in maintaining the idea of Peter, that is, of the glorious Messiah without the cross, will not understand and will not succeed in assuming an attitude of the true disciple. They will continue to be blind, interchanging people for trees (Mk 8, 24). Because without the cross it is impossible to understand who Jesus is and what it means to follow Jesus.

The road of the following is the way of dedication, of abandonment, of service, of availability, of acceptance of conflict, knowing that there will be the resurrection. The cross is not an accident on the way, but forms part of the road. Because in the world, organized beginning with egoism, love and service can exist only in the crucified! The one who gives his life in the service of others, disturbs those who live attached to privileges and he suffers.

6. Prayer of Psalm 25 (24)
Show me Lord, your ways!
Adoration I offer, Yahweh,
to you, my God.
But in my trust in you do not put me to shame,
let not my enemies gloat over me.
Calling to you, none shall ever be put to shame,
but shame is theirs who groundlessly break faith.
Direct me in your ways,

Yahweh, and teach me your paths.
Encourage me to walk in your truth
and teach me since you are the God who saves me.
For my hope is in you all day long
-- such is your generosity, Yahweh.

Goodness and faithful love have been yours for ever, Yahweh,
do not forget them.
Hold not my youthful sins against me,
but remember me as your faithful love dictates.

Integrity and generosity are marks of Yahweh
for he brings sinners back to the path.
Judiciously he guides the humble,
instructing the poor in his way.

Kindness unfailing and constancy mark all Yahweh's paths,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
Let my sin, great though it is, be forgiven,
Yahweh, for the sake of your name.

Men who respect Yahweh, what of them?
He teaches them the way they must choose.
Neighbours to happiness will they live,
and their children inherit the land.

Only those who fear Yahweh have his secret
and his covenant, for their understanding.
Permanently my eyes are on Yahweh,
for he will free my feet from the snare.

Quick, turn to me, pity me,
alone and wretched as I am!
Relieve the distress of my heart,
bring me out of my constraint.

Spake a glance for my misery and pain,
take all my sins away.
Take note how countless are my enemies,
how violent their hatred for me.

Unless you guard me and rescue me I shall be put to shame,
for you are my refuge.
Virtue and integrity be my protection,
for my hope, Yahweh, is in you.
Ransom Israel, O God,
from all its troubles.

7. Final Prayer
Lord Jesus, we thank for the word that has enabled us to understand better the will of the Father. May your Spirit enlighten our actions and grant us the strength to practice that which your Word has revealed to us. May we, like Mary, your mother, not only listen to but also practice the Word. You who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item from Litany Lane

View more Inspirational Designs at Litany Lane.


Saint of the Day:  St. John Chrysostom

Feast Day: September 13
Patron Saint: Constantinople, education, epilepsy, lecturers, orators, preachers

John Chrysostom (c.347–407, Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος), Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death in 407 (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek epithet chrysostomos, meaning "golden mouthed" in English, and Anglicized to Chrysostom.

The Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches honor him as a saint and count him among the Three Holy Hierarchs, together with Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzus. He is recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church as a saint and as a Doctor of the Church. Churches of the Western tradition, including the Roman Catholic Church, some Anglican provinces, and parts of the Lutheran Church, commemorate him on 13 September. Some Lutheran and many Anglican provinces commemorate him on the traditional Eastern feast day of 27 January. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria also recognizes John Chrysostom as a saint (with feast days on 16 Thout and 17 Hathor).

John is known in Christianity chiefly as a preacher, theologian and liturgist. Among his homilies, eight directed against Judaizing Christians remain controversial for their impact on the development of Christian antisemitism.


Early life and education

John was born in Antioch in 349 to Greco-Syrian parents. Different scholars describe his mother Anthusa as a pagan or as a Christian, and his father was a high-ranking military officer. John's father died soon after his birth and he was raised by his mother.

He was baptised in 368 or 373 and tonsured as a reader (one of the minor orders of the Church). As a result of his mother's influential connections in the city, John began his education under the pagan teacher Libanius. From Libanius, John acquired the skills for a career in rhetoric, as well as a love of the Greek language and literature.

As he grew older, however, he became more deeply committed to Christianity and went on to study theology under Diodore of Tarsus, founder of the re-constituted School of Antioch. According to the Christian historian Sozomen, Libanius was supposed to have said on his deathbed that John would have been his successor "if the Christians had not taken him from us".

He lived with extreme asceticism and became a hermit in about 375; he spent the next two years continually standing, scarcely sleeping, and committing the Bible to memory. As a consequence of these practices, his stomach and kidneys were permanently damaged and poor health forced him to return to Antioch.

Priesthood and service in Antioch

John was ordained as a deacon in 381 by Saint Meletius of Antioch who was not then in communion with Alexandria and Rome. After the death of Meletius, John separated himself from the followers of Meletius, without joining Paulinus, the rival of Meletius for the bishopric of Antioch, but after the death of Paulinus he was ordained a presbyter (that is, a priest) in 386 by Evagrius, the successor of Paulinus. He was destined later to bring about reconciliation between Flavian I of Antioch, the successor of Alexandria and Rome, thus bringing those three sees into communion for the first time in nearly seventy years.

In Antioch, over the course of twelve years, John gained popularity because of the eloquence of his public speaking, especially his insightful expositions of Bible passages and moral teaching. The most valuable of his works from this period are his Homilies on various books of the Bible. He emphasised charitable giving and was concerned with the spiritual and temporal needs of the poor. He also spoke against abuse of wealth and personal property:
Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked. Do not pay him homage in the temple clad in silk, only then to neglect him outside where he is cold and ill-clad. He who said: "This is my body" is the same who said: "You saw me hungry and you gave me no food", and "Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also to me"... What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying his hunger and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well.
His straightforward understanding of the Scriptures – in contrast to the Alexandrian tendency towards allegorical interpretation – meant that the themes of his talks were practical, explaining the Bible's application to everyday life. Such straightforward preaching helped Chrysostom to garner popular support. He founded a series of hospitals in Constantinople to care for the poor.

One incident that happened during his service in Antioch illustrates the influence of his homilies. When Chrysostom arrived in Antioch, the bishop of the city had to intervene with Emperor Theodosius I on behalf of citizens who had gone on a rampage mutilating statues of the Emperor and his family. During the weeks of Lent in 387, John preached twenty-one homilies in which he entreated the people to see the error of their ways. These made a lasting impression on the general population of the city: many pagans converted to Christianity as a result of the homilies. As a result, Theodosius' vengeance was not as severe as it might have been.

Archbishop of Constantinople

In the autumn of 397, John was appointed Archbishop of Constantinople, after having been nominated without his knowledge by the eunuch Eutropius. He had to leave Antioch in secret due to fears that the departure of such a popular figure would cause civil unrest.

During his time as Archbishop he adamantly refused to host lavish social gatherings, which made him popular with the common people, but unpopular with wealthy citizens and the clergy. His reforms of the clergy were also unpopular with these groups. He told visiting regional preachers to return to the churches they were meant to be serving—without any payout.

His time in Constantinople was more tumultuous than his time in Antioch. Theophilus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, wanted to bring Constantinople under his sway and opposed John's appointment to Constantinople. Being an opponent of Origen's teachings, he accused John of being too partial to the teachings of that theologian.

Theophilus had disciplined four Egyptian monks (known as "the Tall Brothers") over their support of Origen's teachings. They fled to and were welcomed by John. He made another enemy in Aelia Eudoxia, the wife of the eastern Emperor Arcadius, who assumed (perhaps with justification) that his denunciations of extravagance in feminine dress were aimed at herself.

Depending on one's outlook, John was either tactless or fearless when denouncing offences in high places. An alliance was soon formed against him by Eudoxia, Theophilus and others of his enemies. They held a synod in 403 (the Synod of the Oak) to charge John, in which his connection to Origen was used against him. It resulted in his deposition and banishment.

He was called back by Arcadius almost immediately, as the people became "tumultuous" over his departure. There was also an earthquake the night of his arrest, which Eudoxia took for a sign of God's anger, prompting her to ask Arcadius for John's reinstatement.

Peace was short-lived. A silver statue of Eudoxia was erected in the Augustaion, near his cathedral. John denounced the dedication ceremonies. He spoke against her in harsh terms: "Again Herodias raves; again she is troubled; she dances again; and again desires to receive John's head in a charger," an allusion to the events surrounding the death of John the Baptist. Once again he was banished, this time to the Caucasus in Armenia.

Around 405, Chrysostom began to lend moral and financial support to Christian monks who were enforcing the emperors' anti-Pagan laws, by destroying temples and shrines in Phoenicia and nearby regions.

Death and canonization

Faced with exile John Chrysostom wrote an appeal for help to three western churchmen:
“How well known and highly esteemed Chromatius was in the Church of his time we can deduce from an episode in the life of St John Chrysostom. When the Bishop of Constantinople was exiled from his See, he wrote three letters to those he considered the most important Bishops of the West seeking to obtain their support with the Emperors: he wrote one letter to the Bishop of Rome, the second to the Bishop of Milan and the third to the Bishop of Aquileia, precisely, Chromatius (Ep. CLV: PG LII, 702).
He wrote in exactly the same terms to all three:
"I address this letter also to Venerius, Bishop of Milan, and to Chromatius, Bishop of Aquileia. Farewell in the Lord."
Writing in 1872, church historian William Stephens said “The Patriarch of the Eastern Rome appeals to the great bishops of the West, as the champions of an ecclesiastical discipline which he confesses himself unable to enforce, or to see any prospect of establishing. No jealousy is entertained of the Patriarch of the Old Rome by the Patriarch of the New Rome. The interference of Innocent is courted, a certain primacy is accorded him, but at the same time he is not addressed as a supreme arbitrator; assistance and sympathy are solicited from him as from an elder brother, and two other prelates of Italy are joint recipients with him of the appeal.” 

Pope Innocent I protested at this banishment, but to no avail. Innocent sent a delegation to intercede on behalf of John in 405. It was led by Gaudentius of Brescia; Gaudentius and his companions, two bishops, encountered many difficulties and never reached their goal of entering Constantinople.

John wrote letters which still held great influence in Constantinople. As a result of this, he was further exiled to Pitiunt (in modern Georgia) where his tomb is a shrine for pilgrims. He never reached this destination, as he died during the journey. His last words are said to have been, "δόξα τῷ θεῷ πάντων ἕνεκεν" (Glory be to God for all things).

John came to be venerated as a saint soon after his death. Three decades later, some of his adherents in Constantinople remained in schism. Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople (434-446), hoping to bring about the reconciliation of these Johannites, preached a homily praising his predecessor in the Church of Hagia Sophia. He said, "O John, your life was filled with sorrow, but your death was glorious. Your grave is blessed and reward is great, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ O graced one, having conquered the bounds of time and place! Love has conquered space, unforgetting memory has annihilated the limits, and place does not hinder the miracles of the saint."

These homilies helped to mobilize public opinion, and the patriarch received permission from the emperor to return Chrysostom's relics to Constantinople, where they were enshrined in the Church of the Holy Apostles on January 28, 438.

The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates him as a "Great Ecumenical Teacher", together with Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian. These three saints, in addition to having their own individual commemorations throughout the year, are commemorated together on 30 January, a feast known as the Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs.

There are several feast days dedicated to him:
  • 27 January, Translation of the relics of St John Chrysostom from Comana to Constantinople
  • 30 January, Synaxis of the Three Great Hierarchs
  • 14 September, Repose of St John Chrysostom
  • 13 November, St John Chrysostom the Archbishop of Constantinople



Known as "the greatest preacher in the early church", John's homilies have been one of his greatest lasting legacies. Chrysostom's extant homiletical works are vast, including many hundreds of exegetical homilies on both the New Testament (especially the works of Saint Paul) and the Old Testament (particularly on Genesis). Among his extant exegetical works are sixty-seven homilies on Genesis, fifty-nine on the Psalms, ninety on the Gospel of Matthew, eighty-eight on the Gospel of John, and fifty-five on the Acts of the Apostles.

The homilies were written down by the audience and subsequently circulated, revealing a style that tended to be direct and greatly personal, but was also formed by the rhetorical conventions of his time and place. In general, his homiletical theology displays much characteristic of the Antiochian school (i.e., somewhat more literal in interpreting Biblical events), but he also uses a good deal of the allegorical interpretation more associated with the Alexandrian school.

John's social and religious world was formed by the continuing and pervasive presence of paganism in the life of the city. One of his regular topics was the paganism in the culture of Constantinople, and in his homilies he thunders against popular pagan amusements: the theatre, horseraces, and the revelry surrounding holidays. In particular, he criticized Christians for taking part in such activities:
If you ask [Christians] who is Amos or Obadiah, how many apostles there were or prophets, they stand mute; but if you ask them about the horses or drivers, they answer with more solemnity than sophists or rhetors".
John's homilies on Saint Paul's Epistles proceed linearly, methodically treating the texts verse by verse, often going into great detail. He shows a concern to be understood by laypeople, sometimes offering colorful analogies and practical examples. At other times, he offers extended comments clearly intended to address the theological subtleties of a heretical misreading, or to demonstrate the presence of a deeper theme.

One of the recurring features of John's homilies is his emphasis on care for the needy. Echoing themes found in the Gospel of Matthew, he calls upon the rich to lay aside materialism in favor of helping the poor, often employing all of his rhetorical skills to shame wealthy people to abandon conspicuous consumption:
It is not possible for one to be wealthy and just at the same time.
Do you pay such honor to your excrements as to receive them into a silver chamber-pot when another man made in the image of God is perishing in the cold? 

Homilies on Jews and Judaizing Christians

During his first two years as a presbyter in Antioch (386-387), John denounced Jews and Judaizing Christians in a series of eight homilies delivered to Christians in his congregation who were taking part in Jewish festivals and other Jewish observances. It is disputed whether the main target were specifically Judaizers or Jews in general. His homilies were expressed in the conventional manner, utilizing the uncompromising rhetorical form known as the psogos (Greek: blame).

One of the purposes of these homilies was to prevent Christians from participating in Jewish customs, and thus prevent the perceived erosion of Chrysostom's flock. In his homilies, John criticized those "Judaizing Christians", who were participating in Jewish festivals and taking part in other Jewish observances, such as the shabbat, submitted to circumcision and made pilgrimage to Jewish holy places. John claimed that on the shabbats and Jewish festivals synagogues were full of Christians, especially women, who loved the solemnity of the Jewish liturgy, enjoyed listening to the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, and applauded famous preachers in accordance with the contemporary custom. A more recent theory is that he instead tried to persuade Jewish Christians, who for centuries had kept connections with Jews and Judaism, to choose between Judaism and Christianity.

In Greek the homilies are called Kata Ioudaiōn (Κατὰ Ιουδαίων), which is translated as Adversus Judaeos in Latin and Against the Jews in English. The original Benedictine editor of the homilies, Bernard de Montfaucon, gives the following footnote to the title: "A discourse against the Jews; but it was delivered against those who were Judaizing and keeping the fasts with them [the Jews]."

According to Patristics' scholars, opposition to any particular view during the late fourth century was conventionally expressed in a manner, utilizing the rhetorical form known as the psogos, whose literary conventions were to vilify opponents in an uncompromising manner; thus, it has been argued that to call Chrysostom an "anti-Semite" is to employ anachronistic terminology in a way incongruous with historical context and record.[46] That does not, however, prevent one from claiming that Chrysostom's theology was a form of Anti-Jewish supersessionism, or that his rhetoric was not Anti-Judaism.

The Catechetical Homily

Although most of his homilies must have taken a couple of hours to deliver, his famous Catechetical Homily (Hieratikon) is rather brief. In the Eastern Orthodox Church it is read at Paschal matins where it the only patristic reading of the day (and, in parishes, the only one any time of the year.


Outside of his homilies, a number of John's other treatises have had a lasting influence. One such work is John's early treatise Against Those Who Oppose the Monastic Life, written while he was a deacon (sometime before 386), which was directed to parents, pagan as well as Christian, whose sons were contemplating a monastic vocation. The book is a sharp attack on the values of Antiochene upper-class urban society written by someone who was a member of that class. Chrysostom also writes that, already in his day, it was customary for Antiochenes to send their sons to be educated by monks. Other important treatises written by John include On the Priesthood (one of his earlier works), Instructions to Catechumens, and On the Incomprehensibility of the Divine Nature. In addition, he wrote a series of letters to the deaconess Olympias, of which seventeen are extant.


Beyond his preaching, the other lasting legacy of John is his influence on Christian liturgy. Two of his writings are particularly notable. He harmonized the liturgical life of the Church by revising the prayers and rubrics of the Divine Liturgy, or celebration of the Holy Eucharist. To this day, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches of the Byzantine Rite typically celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as the normal Eucharistic liturgy, although his exact connection with it remains a matter of debate among experts.


Legacy and influence

During a time when city clergy were subject to criticism for their high lifestyle, John was determined to reform his clergy in Constantinople. These efforts were met with resistance and limited success. He was an excellent preacher[53] whose homilies and writings are still studied and quoted. As a theologian, he has been and continues to be very important in Eastern Christianity, and is generally considered the most prominent doctor of the Greek Church, but has been less important to Western Christianity. His writings have survived to the present day more so than any of the other Greek Fathers. He rejected the contemporary trend for allegory, instead speaking plainly and applying Bible passages and lessons to everyday life. His exile demonstrated the rivalry between Constantinople and Alexandria for recognition as the preeminent Eastern See, while in the west, the Pope's primacy remained unquestioned.

View of women

Feminist scholars found him critical of women, when he wrote "Of all the wild animals, none can be found as harmful as women" (translated by others as "Among all the savage beasts none is found so harmful as woman."). Another scholar found "rejoicing in the creation of humanity in two sexes, and in the gift of sexual desire" rather than that which "may seem degrading to women if taken in isolation".

Influence on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and clergy

John's influence on church teachings is interwoven throughout the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (revised 1992). The Catechism cites him in eighteen sections, particularly his reflections on the purpose of prayer and the meaning of the Lord's Prayer:
Consider how [Jesus Christ] teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say "thy will be done in me or in us", but "on earth", the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.
Christian clerics, such as R.S. Storr, refer to him as "one of the most eloquent preachers who ever since apostolic times have brought to men the divine tidings of truth and love", and the 19th-century John Henry Newman described John as a "bright, cheerful, gentle soul; a sensitive heart."

The Legend of the Penance of St John Chrysostom

A legend recorded in Croatia in the 16th Century (although not mentioned in the Golden Legend) relates that when John Chrysostom was a hermit in the desert, he was approached by a royal princess in distress.[63] The Saint, thinking she was a demon, at first refused to help her, but the princess convinced him that she was a Christian and would be devoured by wild beasts if she were not allowed to enter his cave. He therefore admitted her, carefully dividing the cave in two parts, one for each of them.

In spite of these precautions, the sin of fornication was committed, and in an attempt to hide it, the distraught saint took the princess and threw her over a precipice. He then went to Rome to beg absolution, which was refused. Realising the appalling nature of his crimes, Chrysostom made a vow that he would never rise from the ground until his sins were expiated, and for years he lived like a beast, crawling on all fours and feeding on wild grasses and roots. Subsequently the princess reappeared, alive, and suckling the saint's baby, who miraculously pronounced his sins forgiven.

This last scene was very popular in the early 16th century as a subject for engravers and artists. The theme was depicted by Albrecht Dürer, Hans Sebald Beham and Lucas Cranach the Elder among others.


John Chrysostom died in the city of Comana in the year 407 on his way to his place of exile. There his relics remained until 438 when, thirty years after his death, they were transferred to Constantinople during the reign of the Empress Eudoxia's son, the Emperor Theodosius II (408–450), under the guidance of John's disciple, St. Proclus, who by that time had become Archbishop of Constantinople (434–447).

Most of John's relics were looted from Constantinople by Crusaders in 1204 and taken to Rome, but some of his bones were returned to the Orthodox on 27 November 2004 by Pope John Paul II. They are now enshrined in the Church of St. George, Istanbul.

However, the skull of St John, having been kept at the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos in northern Greece, was not among the relics that were taken by the crusaders in the 13th century. In 1655, at the request of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, the skull was taken to Russia, for which the monastery was compensated in the sum of 2000 rubles. In 1693, having received a request from the Vatopedi Monastery for the return of St John's skull, Tsar Peter the Great ordered that the skull remain in Russia but that the monastery was to be paid 500 rubles every four years. The Russian state archives document these payments up until 1735.

The skull was kept at the Moscow Kremlin, in the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God, until 1920, when it was confiscated by the Soviets and placed in the Museum of Silver Antiquities. In 1988, in connection with the 1000th Anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, the Head, together with other important relics, was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and kept at the Epiphany Cathedral, until being moved to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour after its restoration.

However, today, the Vatopedi Monastery posits a rival claim to possession of the skull of St. John Chrysostom, and there a skull is venerated by pilgrims to the monastery as that of St John.

Two places in Italy also claim to have the skull of St. John Chrysostom: the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence and the Dal Pozzo chapel in Pisa.

The right hand of St John is preserved on Mount Athos, and numerous smaller relics are scattered throughout the world.


  • Attwater, Donald (1939). St. John Chrysostom: The Voice of Gold. London: Harvill.
  • Baur, Chrysostomus (1959). John Chrysostom and His Times. M. Gonzaga, trans (2nd ed.). London: Sands.
  • Chrysostom, John (1985). Apologist. Margaret A. Schatkin and Paul W. Harkins, trans. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 0-8132-0073-3.
  • Chrysostom, John (1986). Homilies on Genesis. Robert C. Hill, trans. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 0-8132-0074-1.
  • Chrysostom, John (1986). On marriage and family life. Catherine P. Roth, trans. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. ISBN 0-913836-86-9.
  • Lim, Richard (1995). Public disputation, power, and social order in late antiquity. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-585-16041-4.


      Featured Item from Litany Lane

      View more Inspirational Designs at Litany Lane.

      Today's Snippet I:  Feast Day of Exaltation of the Holy Cross

      In the Christian liturgical calendar, there are several different Feasts of the Cross, all of which commemorate the cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus. While Good Friday is dedicated to the Passion of Christ and the Crucifixion, these days celebrate the cross itself, as the instrument of salvation.

      On September 14th, This feast is called in Greek Ὕψωσις τοῦ Τιμίου καὶ Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ ("Raising Aloft of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross") and in Latin Exaltatio Sanctae Crucis. In English, it is called The Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the official translation of the Roman Missal, while the 1973 translation called it The Triumph of the Cross. In some parts of the Anglican Communion the feast is called Holy Cross Day, a name also used by Lutherans. The celebration is also sometimes called Feast of the Glorious Cross.

      According to legends that spread widely, the True Cross was discovered in 326 by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross placed inside it. Other legends explain that in 614, that portion of the cross was carried away from the church by the Persians, and remained missing until it was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 628. Initially taken to Constantinople, the cross was returned to the church the following year.

      The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.

      Western practices

      In Roman Catholic liturgical observance, red vestments are worn at church services conducted on this day, and if the day falls on a Sunday, its Mass readings are used instead of that for the occurring Sunday in Ordinary Time. The lectionary of the Church of England (and other Anglican churches) also stipulates red as the liturgical colour for 'Holy Cross Day'.[4]

      Until 1969, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the calendar week after the one in which 14 September falls were designated as one of each year's four sets of Ember days by the Church in the West. Organization of these celebrations is now left to the decision of episcopal conferences in view of local conditions and customs.

      September 14 is the titular feast of the Congregation of Holy Cross, The Companions of the Cross and the Episcopal Church's Order of the Holy Cross. This date also marked the beginning of the period of fasting, except on Sundays and ending on Easter Sunday, that was stipulated for Carmelites in the Carmelite Rule of St. Albert of 1247. The Rule of St. Benedict also prescribes this day as the beginning of monastic winter (i.e., the period when there are three nocturns of psalms and readings at Matins) which also ends at Easter.

      Eastern Orthodox practice

      Orthodox Cross set for special veneration on the feast of The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross.
      In Byzantine liturgical observance, the Universal Exaltation (also called Elevation in Greek Churches) of the Precious and Life-creating Cross commemorates both the finding of the True Cross in 326 and its recovery from the Persians in 628, and is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the church year. September 14 is always a fast day and the eating of meat, dairy products and fish is prohibited. The Feast of the Exaltation has a one-day Forefeast and an eight-day Afterfeast. The Saturday and Sunday before and after September 14 are also commemorated with special Epistle and Gospel readings about the Cross at the Divine Liturgy.

      On the eve of the feast before small vespers the priest, having prepared a tray with the cross placed on a bed of fresh basil leaves or flowers, covered with an aër (liturgical veil), places it on the table of prothesis; after that service, the priest carries the tray on his head preceded by lighted candles and the deacon censing the cross, processing to the holy table (altar), in the center whereof laying the tray, in the place of the Gospel Book, the latter being set upright at the back of the altar Those portions of the vespers and matins which in sundry local customs take place before the Icon of the Feast (e.g.,the chanting of the Polyeleos and the Matins Gospel) instead take place in front of the Holy Table.[8] The bringing out of the cross and the exaltation ceremony occur at matins.

      The cross remains in the center of the temple throughout the afterfeast, and the faithful venerate it whenever they enter or leave the church. Finally, on the leave-taking (apodosis) of the feast, the priest and deacon will cense around the cross, there will be a final veneration of the cross, and then they will solemnly bring the cross back into the sanctuary through the Holy Doors. This same pattern of bringing out the cross, veneration, and returning the cross at the end of the celebration is repeated at a number of the lesser Feasts of the Cross mentioned below.

      Moveable Feasts

      In addition to celebrations on fixed days, the Cross may be celebrated during the variable, particularly in Lent and Eastertide.

      Eastern Christians celebrate an additional Veneration of the Cross on the third Sunday of Great Lent. The services for this day are modeled on the Feast of the Exaltation (September 14), and include bringing the cross to the holy table at little vespers and with solemnity out into the center of church at matins, albeit without the ceremony of the Exaltation of the Cross, for veneration by the faithful. It remains in the center of the church for nearly a week (the Fourth Week of Great Lent). On the Monday and Wednesday of that week, a Veneration of the Cross takes place at the First Hour (repeating a portion of the service from matins of the previous Sunday). On Friday of that week, the veneration takes place after the Ninth Hour, after which the priest and deacons return the cross to the sanctuary.

      Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and some Anglican churches have a formal Adoration of the Cross during the services on Good Friday.

      In the Roman Breviary before the 1961 reform, a Commemoration of the Cross is made during Eastertide except when the office or commemoration of a double or octave occurs, replacing the Suffrage of the Saints said outside Eastertide.

      Wednesday and Friday

      In addition to all of the above commemorations, Orthodox also hold Wednesday and Friday throughout the year as a commemoration of the Cross.

      Veneration of the Cross

      Feast Days

      In the Eastern Orthodox Church, on several of the feast days mentioned above, there is a public veneration of the cross. It may take place at Matins, after the cross is brought out, at the end of the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, or at the end of one of the Little Hours, depending upon the particular feast and local custom.
      The faithful come forward and make two prostrations, make the sign of the cross on themselves, and kiss the feet of Christ on the cross, and then make a third prostration. After this, they will often receive a blessing from the priest and bow towards their fellow worshippers on each side of the church (this latter practice is most commonly observed in monasteries).

      End of Services

      At the end of the Divine Liturgy, and at some other services as well, it is customary for the faithful to come forward and venerate the "Blessing Cross" (hand-cross) which is held by the bishop or priest, and to kiss his hand. This practice is also called the "Veneration of the Cross", though it does not involve making prostrations. The cross which is venerated is small (typically 10-16 inches). This cross is usually metal, often gold or gold-plated, and can be enameled and/or decorated with jewels. The figure of Jesus on the Cross (the soma) is usually engraved, enameled, or painted on the cross, rather than being a separate three-dimensional figure as is found on a crucifix. This is due to the Orthodox practice of using icons rather than statues in church.

      Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane

      View more Inspirational Designs at Litany Lane.


      Today's Snippet II:   Our Lady of Sorrows

      Our Lady of Sorrows
      September 15th, Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (Latin: Beata Maria Virgo Perdolens), the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows (Latin: Mater Dolorosa, at times just Dolorosa), and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As Mater Dolorosa, it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church.

      The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. There are devotional prayers which consist of meditation on her Seven Sorrows. Examples include the Servite rosary, or the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. Also, there is a corresponding devotion to the Seven Joys of Mary. The term "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary" refers to the combined devotion of both the Immaculate Heart and the Seven Sorrows of Mary as first used by the Franciscan Tertiary Berthe Petit.


      Toward the middle of the thirteenth century seven Florentine merchants formed a penitential community just outside Florence. Aware of their unworthiness before God, they dedicated themselves as Servants of the Holy Virgin so that she might be with them as they stood before their Lord. To escape the distractions of urban life and civil discord they withdrew to Mount Senario, some twelve miles distant. In its solitude they laid the foundation of the Order Of Servants of Mary. Their example attracted many followers and soon foundations were made in Italy and Germany, and later in many other countries. These Seven whom our Lady guided to found an Order dedicated to her service were canonized in 1888 as the Seven Holy Founders. 

      From this example of prayerfulness joined to an active ministry spread a movement which includes eleven canonized saints, many blessed whose cult is approved by Rome, and innumerable holy men and women of many countries and times. While the devotion of Servites has always been directed to the Mother of their Lord in all the aspects of her life, in time it began to be focused more specifically on the sorrows she experienced in her life. The black habit of the Servites was itself looked upon as a sign of the sorrow Mary suffered at the Cross of her Son. 

      At the present time Servites are present on all continents: priests and brothers, cloistered nuns and active sisters, members of the Servite Secular Institute, Servite Third Order, and Confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows. In the United States the Servites are best known for their Marian shrines of Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica in Chicago where the Novena to Our Sorrowful Mother began in 1937 and the Shrine of Our Sorrowful Mother in Portland, Oregon. 


      During the Middle Ages, when the ordinary Catholic no longer knew the language of the official prayer of the Church, many other prayer forms or devotions developed to fill the prayer vacuum that resulted. One of these was the rosary. And one of the adaptations of this prayer-form was the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. 

      Like all rosaries, the Servite Rosary is a meditation on the mystery-events of God's love for us as reflected in the life of Jesus and Mary. Specifically, it invites us to meditate on those times in the life of Mary when she experienced the pain and suffering that tested her faith and invited her to a full sharing of the mystery of God's salvation in her Son, Jesus. 

      By this reflection, in the context of verbal prayers of Our Fathers and Hail Marys, we open our hearts to the power of this mystery, and so allow His Word to enter and change our lives.
      This Servite Rosary consist of Seven Mysteries of Sorrows. Each mystery is introduced by a meditation to guide our reflection as we pray the Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys. The Rosary is concluded with three Hail Marys, as added petition for true sorrow and a desire to model our lives on the example of the life and faith of Mary. For more than 740 years, the members of the Servite Order have been know as "The Servants of Mary." Their work for Jesus and Mary is world-wide

      The Dolors or Seven Sorrows

      The Seven Sorrows (or Dolors) are events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary which are a popular devotion and are frequently depicted in art.
      It is a common devotion for Catholics to say daily one Our Father and seven Hail Marys for each.
      1. The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34-35) or the Circumcision of Christ
      2. The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
      3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:43-45)
      4. Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary.
      5. Jesus Dies on the Cross. (John 19:25)
      6. Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in Her Arms. (Matthew 27:57-59)
      7. The Body of Jesus Is Placed in the Tomb. (John 19:40-42)
      These Seven Sorrows should not be confused with the five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

      Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows  (The Servite Chaplet)

      The Seven Sorrows Chaplet
      by  MJCJOCDS
      Standard YouTube License

      Opening Meditation
      In the Sorrows of the Virgin Mary we see a reflection of the suffering and bitter anguish of the human Christ. Just as Mary accepted the total mystery of Christ into her life, so may we see in our sorrow, our fear, and humiliation, a dim, but real participation in His passion and death, recalling that if we wish to follow Him, we must "take up our cross" each day. Let us pray that we may accept Christ's call, and become co-sufferers of His passion.

      The Prophecy Of Simeon
      Many of us are parents. We know that only by sharing life with God is life fulfilled. That is why we also sense a fear about the future of our loved ones. Simeon's prophecy was a blessing for all mankind, but foretold grief for you, Mary. Your first sorrow was much more than a parent's fear.
      (One Our Father .... Seven Hail Marys)
      The Flight Into Egypt
      What can a mother do when the life of her child is threatened? When Herod decreed death for all those innocent children, God warned Joseph. With no time for packing or goodbyes, you escaped into the night. Homeless and tired, with an uncertain future before you, you were secure in nothing but the love of those who needed you.
      (One Our Father .... Seven Hail Marys)
      The Loss Of Jesus In The Temple
      A child is lost. What panic grips the hearts of parents at such a time! They wonder, "Is he safe?" "Will I ever see him again?" And then they imagine things too terrible to express. It was the same for you and Joseph. Mary, for three days you sought Jesus. It took faith to continue the search in the pain of separation.
      (One Our Father .... Seven Hail Marys)
      Mary Meets Jesus On the Way To Calvary
      What mother called suddenly to the hospital to see her sick or injured child has not wished: "If only I could suffer instead of you!" But she remains only a spectator. Mary, you saw Jesus beaten and bloody. You felt powerless to help Him, and yet through your love you shared His pain.
      (One Our Father .... Seven Hail Marys)
      Jesus Dies On The Cross
      It has often been said, "To lose a child is the worst death for a parent to endure." Mary, in those long hours, at the cross, perhaps your thoughts returned to earlier days. How horrible now to face the reality of death! His breath grew labored. The time had come. Yet He spoke to you and consoled you. In dying he gave life to others and made you mother of all mankind.
      (One Our Father .... Seven Hail Marys)

      Mary Receives The Dead Body of Jesus
      He is dead . . . and it hardly seems real. How many of us have paused before the body of a loved one and wondered: "Can this be happening to me?" Death is real, all too real! As you held Jesus in your arms, Mary, you probably wondered as we have, "Is this the end of everything?"
      (One Our Father .... Seven Hail Marys)
      Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb
      The garden and the bomb . . . there is something strangely consoling about the burial of Jesus, Mary. Perhaps a flower or blade of grass reminded you of his words "Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot produce new life." It is always difficult to see death and life together, but you continued to believe, hope, and love. His words filled your heart. 
      (One Our Father .... Seven Hail Marys)

      Closing Prayer
      Lord God, our Father, from the passion and death of Jesus, shared by the compassion of his Mother, you brought healing to fallen man. Grant that we, your people, may experience this healing and rise from the power of sin to a wholeness of life promised by Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever, AMEN. (Three Hail Marys)

      Seven Promises: According to St. Bridget of Sweden, seven promises were made to those who meditate on Our Lady's Tears and Sorrows. The Blessed Virgin grants seven graces to the souls who honour her daily by saying seven Hail Marys while meditating on her Tears and Sorrows. 

      These are:
      1. I will grant peace to their families.
      2. They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries.
      3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
      4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
      5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
      6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death - they will see the face of their mother.
      7. I have obtained this grace from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and Sorrows will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy.


          Featured Item from Litany Lane




          Mystical City of God, the miracle of His omnipotence and the abyss of His grace the divine history and life of the Virgin Mother of God our Queen and our Lady, most holy Mary expiatrix of the fault of eve and mediatrix of grace. Manifested to Sister Mary of Jesus, Prioress of the convent of the Immaculate Conception in Agreda, Spain. For new enlightenment of the world, for rejoicing of the Catholic Church, and encouragement of men. Completed in 1665.

          Venerable Mary of Agreda
          Translated from the Spanish by  Reverend George J. Blatter
          1914, So. Chicago, Ill., The Theopolitan; Hammond, Ind., W.B. Conkey Co., US..
          IMPRIMATUR:  +H.J. Alerding Bishop of Fort Wayne
          Translation from the Original Authorized Spanish Edition by Fiscar Marison (George J. Blatter). Begun on the Feast of the Assumption 1902, completed 1912.
          This work is published for the greater Glory of Jesus Christ through His most Holy Mother Mary and for the sanctification of the Church and her members.

          Book 4, Chapter 9


          During one of the conversations of Mary with Joseph concerning the mysteries of the Lord, the Infant Jesus, having reached the age of one year, resolved to break the silence and speak in plain words to Joseph, who so faithfully fulfilled the duties of a foster–father. As I have already mentioned in chapter the tenth, He had thus conversed with his heavenly Mother from the time of his Birth. The two holy Spouses were speaking of the infinite being of God, of his goodness and excessive love, which induced Him to send his Onlybegotten Son as the Teacher and Savior of men, clothing Him in human form in order that He might converse with them and suffer the punishments of their depraved natures. Saint Joseph was lost in wonder at the works of the Lord and inflamed by affectionate gratitude and exaltation of the Lord. Seizing upon this occasion the infant God, resting upon the arms of his Mother as upon the seat of wisdom, began to speak to saint Joseph in an intelligible voice, saying: “My father, I came from heaven upon this earth in order to be the light of the world, and in order to rescue it from darkness of sin; in order to seek and know my sheep as a good Shepherd, to give them nourishment of eternal life, teach them the way of heaven, open its gates, which had been closed by their sins. I desire that you both be children of the Light, which you have so close at hand.”

          These words of the Infant Jesus, being full of divine life, filled the heart of the patriarch saint Joseph with new love, reverence and joy. He fell on his knees before the infant God with the profoundest humility and thanked Him for having called Him “father” by the very first word spoken to him. He besought the Lord with many tears to enlighten him and enable him to fulfill entirely his most holy will, to teach him to be thankful for the incomparable benefits flowing from his generous hands. Parents who love their children very much are touched with consolation and pride to see their children show great signs of wisdom and virtue; and even when this is not the case, they are naturally inclined to extol and make much of their childish pranks and sayings; for all this is the result of their tender affection for their young offspring. Although saint Joseph was not the natural, but the foster–father of Jesus, his love for Him exceeded by far all the love of parents for their children, since in him grace, or even natural love, was more powerful than others, yea than in all the parents together. Hence the joy of his soul is to be measured by this love and appreciation of saint Joseph as being the foster–father of the Infant Jesus. For he at the same time heard himself called the father of the Son of the eternal Father, and saw Him so beautiful in grace, while listening to such exalted wisdom and knowledge in the Child.

          During the whole of this first year his sweetest Mother had wrapped the infant God in clothes and coverings usual with other children; for He did not wish to be distinguished in this from others, and He wished to bear witness to his true humanity and to his love for mortals, enduring this inconvenience otherwise not required of Him. His boundless love for mortals inflamed Her with loving gratitude toward the Lord and produced in her heroic acts of many virtues. Seeing that the Child Jesus desired no footgear and only one garment, She said to Him: “My Son and my Lord, thy Mother has not the heart to allow Thee to go barefoot upon the ground at thy tender age; permit me, my Love, to provide some kind of covering to protect them. I also fear that the rough garment, which Thou askest of me, will wound thy tender body, if thou permit no linen to be worn beneath.” “My Mother, I will permit a slight and ordinary covering for my feet until the time of my public preaching shall come, for this I must do barefooted. But I do not wish to wear linen, because it foments carnal pleasures, and is the causes of many vices in men. I wish to teach many by my example to renounce it for love and imitation of Me.”

          Immediately the great Queen set diligently about fulfilling the will of her most holy Son. Procuring some wool in its natural and uncolored state, She spun it very finely with her own hands and of it She wove a garment of one piece and without any seam, similar to knitted stuff, or rather like twilled cloth; for it was woven of twisted cords, not like smooth–woven goods. She wove it upon a small loom, by meshes, crocheting it of one seamless piece in a mysterious manner (John 19, 23). Two things were wonderful about it: that it was entirely even and uniform, without any folds, and that, at her request, the natural color was changed to a more suitable one, which was a mixture of brown and a most exquisite silver–gray, so that it could not be called either, appearing to be neither altogether brown, nor silvery, nor gray, but having a mixture of them all. She also wove a pair of sandals of strong thread, like hempen shoes, with which She covered the feet of the infant God. Besides these She made a half tunic of linen, which was to serve as an undergarment. In the next chapter I shall tell what happened when She clothed the Infant Jesus.

          From the time the Child Jesus was on his feet He commenced to retire and spent certain hours of the day in the oratory of his Mother. As the most prudent Mother was anxious to know his wishes in regard to her interactions with Him, the Lord responded to her mute appeal, saying: “My Mother, enter and remain with Me always in order that thou mayest imitate Me in my works for I wish that in thee be modeled and exhibited the high perfection which I desire to see accomplished in the souls. For if they had not resisted my first intentions (I Tim. 2, 4), they would have been endowed with my most abundant and copious gifts; but since the human race has hindered this, I have chosen thee as the vessel of all perfection and of the treasures of my right hand, which the rest of the creatures have abused and lost. Observe me therefore in all my actions for the purpose of imitating Me.”

          Thus the heavenly Lady was installed anew as the Disciple of her most holy Son. Thenceforward passed such great and hidden mysteries between these Two, that not until the day of eternity will they be known. Many times the divine Child prostrated Himself on the ground, at others He was raised from the ground in the form of a cross, earnestly praying to the eternal Father for the salvation of mortals. In all this his most loving Mother imitated Him. For to Her were manifest the interior operations of his most holy soul, just as well as the exterior movements of his body. Of this knowledge of most pure Mary I have spoken in other parts of this history and it is necessary to point it out often, because this was the source of the light which guided Her in her holy life. It was such a singular blessing that all creatures together will not be able to understand or describe it by their united powers. The great Lady did not always enjoy visions of the Divinity; but always the sight of the most holy humanity and soul of her Son with all their activities. In a special manner She was witness of the effects of the hypostatic and beatific union of the humanity with the Divinity. Although She did not always see this glory and this union substantially; yet She perceived the interior acts by which his humanity reverenced, loved and magnified the Divinity to which it was united; and this privilege was reserved solely to most holy Mary.

          On these occasions it often happened that the Child Jesus in the presence of his most holy Mother wept and perspired blood, for this happened many times before his agony in the garden. Then the blessed Lady would wipe his face interiorly perceiving and knowing the cause of this agony, namely the loss of the foreknown and of those who would be ungrateful for the benefits of their Creator and Redeemer and in whom the works of the infinite power and goodness of the Lord would be wasted. At other times the blessed Mother would find Him refulgent with heavenly light and surrounded by angels that sang sweet hymns of praise; and She was made aware, that the heavenly Father was pleased in his beloved and Onlybegotten Son (Matth. 17, 5). All these wonders commenced from the time when at the age of one year He began to walk, witnessed only by his most holy Mother, whose heart was to be the treasure–house of his wonders. The works of love, praise and worshipful gratitude, his petitions for the human race, all exceed my ability to describe. I must refer the understanding of it to the faith and piety of the Christians.

          Many of the children of Heliopolis gathered around the Child Jesus, as it is natural with children of similar age and condition. Since they were free from great malice and were not given to inquire, whether He was more than man, but freely admitted the heavenly light, the Master of truth welcomed them as far as was befitting. He instilled into them the knowledge of God and of the virtues; He taught and catechised them in the way of eternal life, even more abundantly than the adults. As his words were full of life and strength. He won their hearts and impressed his truths so deeply upon them, that all those, who had this good fortune, afterwards became great and saintly men; for in the course of time they ripened in themselves the fruit of this heavenly seed sown so early into their souls.

          The Child Jesus reached the end of his seventh year while in Egypt, which was also the term set by the eternal Wisdom for his mysterious sojourn in that land. In order that the prophecies might he fulfilled, it was necessary that He return to Nazareth. This decree the eternal Father intimated to his most holy Son on a certain day in the presence of his holy Mother and while She was with Him in prayer. She saw it mirrored in his deified soul and She saw how He submitted to it in obedience to the Father. Therein the great Lady joined Him, although they had already become better acquainted and habituated to their present abode than to their own native city of Nazareth. Neither the Mother nor the Son made known to saint Joseph this new decree of heaven. But in that very night the angel of the Lord spoke to him in his sleep, as Matthew relates (Matth. 2, 19), and bade him take the Child and its Mother and return to the land of Israel for Herod and those who with him had sought the life of the Child, were dead. So much value does the Almighty set on the proper order in created things, that, though Jesus was the true God and his Mother so highly exalted above saint Joseph in sanctity, He did not permit the arrangements of this journey to proceed from his Son nor from his Mother, but from saint Joseph, who was the head of this Family. God intended to teach all mortals, that He wishes all things to be governed by the natural order set up by his Providence; and that the inferiors and subjects of the mystical body of the Church, even though they may excel in virtue and in certain other respects, must obey and submit to their superiors and prelates in the visible order.

          They departed for Palestine in the company of angels as on their way thence. The great Queen sat on the ass with the divine Child on her lap and saint Joseph walked afoot, closely following the Son and Mother. On account of the loss of such great Benefactors their acquaintances and friends were very sorrowful at the news of their departure; with incredible weeping and sighing they saw Them leave, knowing and loudly complaining, that they were now losing all their consolation and refuge in their necessities. If the divine power had not interfered, the holy Family would have found great difficulty in leaving Heliopolis; for its inhabitants began to feel the night of their miseries secretly setting upon their hearts at the parting of the Sun, which had dispersed and brightened its darkness (John 1, 9). In traversing the inhabited country they passed through some towns of Egypt, where They scattered their graces and blessings. The news of their passage spreading about, all the sick, the afflicted and disconsolate gathered to seek Them out, and they found themselves relieved in body and soul. Many of the sick were cured, many demons were expelled without their knowing who it was that thus hurled them back to hell. Yet they felt the divine power, which compelled them and wrought such blessings among men.

          They reached Nazareth, their home, for the Child was to be called a Nazarene. They found their former humble house in charge of the devout cousin of saint Joseph, who, as I have mentioned in the twelfth chapter of the third book, had offered to serve him while our Queen was absent in the house of Elisabeth. Before They had left Judea for Egypt, saint Joseph had written to this woman, asking her to take care of the house and what it contained. They found it all in good condition and his cousin received Them with great joy on account of her love for the great Queen, though at the same time she did not know of her dignity. The heavenly Lady entered with her Son and saint Joseph, and immediately She prostrated Herself in adoration of the Lord and in thanksgiving for having led Them, safe from the cruelty of Herod, to this retreat, and preserved Them in the dangers of their banishment and their long and arduous journeys. Above all did She render thanks for having returned in company with her Son, now grown both in years and in grace and virtue (Luke 2, 40).

          Taking counsel with her divine Child She proceeded to set up a rule of life and regulate her pious practices; not that She had failed to observe a rule of life on her journey; for the most prudent Lady, in imitation of her Son, had always observed the most perfect order according to circumstances. But being now peacefully settled in her home She wished to include many exercises, which on the journey were impossible. Her greatest solicitude was always to cooperate with her most holy Son for the salvation of souls which was the work most urgently enjoined upon her by the eternal Father. Toward this most high end our Queen directed all her practices in union with the Redeemer, and this was their constant occupation, as we shall see in the course of this second part. The holy Joseph also ordered his occupations and his work so as most worthily to earn sustenance for the divine Child and his Mother as well as for himself. That which in other sons of Adam is considered a punishment and a hardship was to this holy Patriarch a great happiness. For while others were condemned to sustain their natural life by the labor of their hands in the sweat of their brows, saint Joseph was blessed and consoled beyond measure to know, that he had been chosen by his labor and sweat to support God himself and his Mother, to whom belonged heaven and earth and all that they contain (Esther 13, 10).

          The Queen of the angels herself undertook to pay the debt of gratitude due to saint Joseph for his labors and solicitude. Accordingly She provided his meals and attended to his comforts with incredible care and most loving gratitude. She was obedient to him in all things and humbled Herself before Him as if She were his handmaid and not his spouse, or, what is more, not the Mother of the Creator and Lord of all. She accounted Herself unworthy of existence and of being suffered to walk upon the earth; for She thought it just, that She should be in want of all things. In the consciousness of having been created out of nothing and therefore unable to make any return for either this benefit or, according to her estimation, for any of the others, She established in Herself such a rare humility, that She thought Herself less than the dust and unworthy to mingle with it. For the least favor She gave admirable thanks to the Lord, as to the first cause and origin of them all, and to creatures as to the instruments of his bounty. To some She gave thanks because they conferred favors upon Her, to others because they had denied them; and to others again because they bore with Her in patience. She acknowledged Herself as indebted to all of them, though She filled them with the blessings of sweetness and placed herself at the feet of all, seeking ingenious means and artifices to let no instant and no occasion pass for practicing the most perfect and exalted virtues to the Admiration of the angels and the pleasure and the delight of the Most High.


          The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain

          My daughter, while journeying at the command of the Lord from one country to another and during the works enjoined upon me, my heart was never troubled nor my spirit cast down; for I always held myself prepared to fulfill entirely the will of God. Although the Lord made known to Me his high ends, yet this was not always done at the beginning, thus permitting me to endure so much the greater sufferings; for in obeying the Lord no further reason is necessary than that the Lord Creator so commands and disposes. The souls must accustom themselves to look for this motive alone and to learn solely to please the Lord, without distinguishing between fortunate or unfortunate events and without looking to their own inclinations. In this kind of wisdom I wish that thou advance. In imitation of me and to satisfy thy obligations toward my most holy Son, do thou receive prosperity or adversity in this mortal life with unmoved countenance and with equanimity and peace or mind. Let not the one grieve, nor the other vainly rejoice thee; but attend only to all that which the Almighty ordains according to his pleasure.

          Human life is interwoven thus variously with both kinds of events; some of them according, others contrary to the likings of mortals; some which they, abhor others which they desire. As the human heart is limited and narrow it immoderately inclines to extremes, boundlessly desiring what it loves and likes, and, on the other hand, grieving and sorrowing at what it abhors and dislikes. These changeful moods and fluctuations create danger for all or many virtues. The disorderly love for one creature which it cannot attain, moves the soul presently to desire another, expecting a balm for its disappointment in the former. And if it is successful, the soul becomes involved and flurried in the desire of retaining what it possesses, thus casting itself by these velleities into still greater disorders and passions. Attend, therefore, dearest, to this danger and attack it at the root by preserving thy heart independent and riveted only on the divine Providence, without ever allowing it to incline toward what it desires or longs for, or to abhor what is painful to it. Let the will of the Lord be thy only delight and joy. Let neither thy desires draw thee on, nor thy fears dishearten thee. Let not thy exterior occupations, and much less thy regard or attention to creatures, ever impede thee or divert thee from thy holy exercises, attending always to my example. Seek thou lovingly and diligently to follow in my footsteps.


          Featured Item from Litany Lane


          Catholic Catechism 






          Paragraph 5. The Communion of Saints

          946 After confessing "the holy catholic Church," the Apostles' Creed adds "the communion of saints." In a certain sense this article is a further explanation of the preceding: "What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?"479 The communion of saints is the Church.

          947 "Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others. . . . We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church. But the most important member is Christ, since he is the head. . . . Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members, through the sacraments."480 "As this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a common fund."481
          948 The term "communion of saints" therefore has two closely linked meanings: communion in holy things (sancta)" and "among holy persons (sancti)."
          Sancta sanctis! ("God's holy gifts for God's holy people") is proclaimed by the celebrant in most Eastern liturgies during the elevation of the holy Gifts before the distribution of communion. The faithful (sancti) are fed by Christ's holy body and blood (sancta) to grow in the communion of the Holy Spirit (koinonia) and to communicate it to the world.

          949 In the primitive community of Jerusalem, the disciples "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers."482
          Communion in the faith. The faith of the faithful is the faith of the Church, received from the apostles. Faith is a treasure of life which is enriched by being shared.

          950 Communion of the sacraments. "The fruit of all the sacraments belongs to all the faithful. All the sacraments are sacred links uniting the faithful with one another and binding them to Jesus Christ, and above all Baptism, the gate by which we enter into the Church. The communion of saints must be understood as the communion of the sacraments. . . . The name 'communion' can be applied to all of them, for they unite us to God. . . . But this name is better suited to the Eucharist than to any other, because it is primarily the Eucharist that brings this communion about."483
          951 Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit "distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank" for the building up of the Church.484 Now, "to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."485
          952 "They had everything in common."486 "Everything the true Christian has is to be regarded as a good possessed in common with everyone else. All Christians should be ready and eager to come to the help of the needy . . . and of their neighbors in want."487 A Christian is a steward of the Lord's goods.488
          953 Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, "None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself."489 "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."490 "Charity does not insist on its own way."491 In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all. Every sin harms this communion.

          954 The three states of the Church. "When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating 'in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is"':492
          All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.493
          955 "So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods."494
          956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."495
          Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.496 I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.497
          957 Communion with the saints. "It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself"498:
          We worship Christ as God's Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord's disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples!499
          958 Communion with the dead. "In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and 'because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins' she offers her suffrages for them."500 Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.

          959 In the one family of God. "For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity - all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ - we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church."501

          IN BRIEF
          960 The Church is a "communion of saints": this expression refers first to the "holy things" (sancta), above all the Eucharist, by which "the unity of believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought about" (LG 3).

          961 The term "communion of saints" refers also to the communion of "holy persons" (sancti) in Christ who "died for all," so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all.

          962 "We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers" (Paul VI, CPG § 30).

          479 Nicetas, Expl. Symb., 10:PL 52:871B.
          480 St. Thomas Aquinas, Symb., 10.
          481 Roman Catechism I, 10,24.
          482 Acts 2:42.
          483 Roman Catechism I, 10,24.
          484 LG 12 § 2.
          485 1 Cor 12:7.
          486 Acts 4:32.
          487 Roman Catechism I, 10,27.
          488 Cf. Lk 16:1, 3.
          489 Rom 14:7.
          490 1 Cor 12:26-27.
          491 1 Cor 13:5; cf. 10:24.
          492 LG 49; cf. Mt 25:31; 1 Cor 15:26-27; Council of Florence (1439):DS 1305.
          493 LG 49; cf. Eph 4:16.
          494 LG 49.
          495 LG 49; cf. 1 Tim 2:5.
          496 St. Dominic, dying, to his brothers.
          497 St. Thérèse of Lisieux, The Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke (Washington: ICS, 1977), 102.
          498 LG 50; cf. Eph 4:1-6.
          499 Martyrium Polycarpi, 17:Apostolic Fathers II/3,396.
          500 LG 50; cf. 2 Macc 12:45.
          501 LG 51; cf. Heb 3:6.


          Featured Item from Litany Lane

          View more Inspirational Designs at Litany Lane.


          RE-CHARGE:  Heaven Speaks to Young Adults

          To all tween, teens and young adults, A Message from Jesus: "Through you I will flow powerful conversion graces to draw other young souls from darkness. My plan for young men and women is immense. Truly, the renewal will leap forward with the assistance of these individuals. Am I calling you? Yes. I am calling you. You feel the stirring in your soul as you read these words. I am with you. I will never leave you. Join My band of young apostles and I will give you joy and peace that you have never known. All courage, all strength will be yours. Together, we will reclaim this world for the Father. I will bless your families and all of your relationships. I will lead you to your place in the Kingdom. Only you can complete the tasks I have set out for you. Do not reject Me. I am your Jesus. I love you...Read this book, upload to your phones/ipads.computers and read a few pages everyday...and then Pay It Forward...


          •   Recharge: Directions For Our Times. Heaven Speaks to Young Adults.