Thursday, May 23, 2013

PRAYER OF THE DAY

Prayer of Pope Pius XII

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty,
and impelled by the anxieties of the world,
we cast ourselves into your arms,
O Immaculate Mother of Jesus and our Mother,
Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires,
and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery,
we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you,
above every other mere creature,
from the first moment of your conception until the day on which,
after your assumption into heaven,
He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith,
bathe our minds with the eternal truths!
O fragrant Lily of all holiness,
captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume!
O Conqueress of evil and death,
inspire in us a deep horror of sin,
which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God,
hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart.
Bend tenderly over our aching wounds.
Convert the wicked,
dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed,
comfort the poor and humble,
quench hatreds,
sweeten harshness,
safeguard the flower of purity in youth,
protect the holy Church,
make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness.
In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven,
may they recognize that they are brothers,
and that the nations are members of one family,
upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother,
our humble supplications,
and above all obtain for us that, one day,
happy with you,
we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars:
You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
You are the glory, you are the joy,
you are the honor of our people!

Amen.

DAILY MASS READINGS

Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading
SIR 5:1-8

Rely not on your wealth;
say not: “I have the power.”
Rely not on your strength
in following the desires of your heart.
Say not: “Who can prevail against me?”
or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?”
for God will surely exact the punishment.
Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?”
for the Most High bides his time.
Of forgiveness be not overconfident,
adding sin upon sin.
Say not: “Great is his mercy;
my many sins he will forgive.”
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD,
put it not off from day to day.
For suddenly his wrath flames forth;
at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed.
Rely not upon deceitful wealth,
for it will be no help on the day of wrath.


Responsorial Psalm
PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.


Gospel
MK 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

SAINT OF THE DAY

May 23

St. John Baptist Rossi (1698 - 1764)

This holy priest was born in 1698 at the village of Voltaggio in the diocese of Genoa and was one of the four children of an excellent and highly respected couple. When he ws ten a nobleman and his wife, who were spending the summer at Voltaggio, obtained permission from his parents to take him back with them to Genoa to be trained in their house. He remained with them three years, winning golden opinions from all, notably from two Capuchin friars who came to his patrons home. They carried such a favorable report of the boy to his uncle, who was then minister provincial of the Capuchins, that a cousin, Lorenzo Rossi, a canon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin invited him to come to Rome. The offer was accepted and he entered the Roman College at the age of thirteen. Popular with his teachers and with his fellow pupils he had completed the classical course with distinction when the reading of an ascetical book led him to embark on excessive mortifications. The strain on his strength at a time when he was working hard led to a complete breakdown which obliged him to leave the Roman College. He recovered sufficiently to complete his training at the Minerva, 
but he never was again really robust. 
Indeed his subsequent labors were performed under the handicap of almost constant suffering.

On March 8, 1721 at the age of twenty three he was ordained and his first Mass was celebrated in the Roman College at the altar of St. Aloysius Gonzaga to whom he always had a special devotion.

His fame came from his work as a confessor and as his ministry to the sick.

OFFICE OF READINGS

Lord, open our lips.
And we shall praise your name.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

Come, let us adore the Lord,
for he is our God.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

Come, let us adore the Lord,
for he is our God.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

Come, let us adore the Lord,
for he is our God.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts for ever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

Come, let us adore the Lord,
for he is our God.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Come, let us adore the Lord,
for he is our God.


Hymn

When God of old came down from heaven,
In power and wrath he came.
Before his feet the clouds were riven,
Half darkness and half flame;
But when he came the second time,
He came in power and love.
Softer than gale at morning prime
Hovered his holy Dove.
The fires that rushed on Sinai down
In sudden torrents dread,
Now gently light, a glorious crown,
On every sainted head.
And when the Spirit of our God
Came down his flock to find,
A voice from heaven was heard abroad,
A rushing, mighty wind.
It fills the Church of God, it fills
The sinful world around;
Only in stubborn hearts and wills
No place for it is found.
Come Lord, come Wisdom, Love and Power,
Open our ears to hear.
Let us not miss the accepted hour!
Save, Lord, by love or fear.


Psalm 88 (89)
A lament at the ruin of the house of David

Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.

But you have spurned and rejected him;
you are enraged against your anointed.
You have repudiated the covenant of your servant,
you have trampled his crown in the dust.
You have demolished his walls
and laid his fortifications in ruins.
Anyone who passes can despoil him;
he is a mockery among his neighbours.
You have strengthened the arm of those who oppress him,
you have gladdened the hearts of his enemies.
You have turned back the sharp edge of his sword;
you have deprived him of your help in battle.
You have put an end to his splendour,
and cast his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have covered him from head to foot in shame.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.


Psalm 88 (89)

I am the root and stock of David;
I am the splendid morning star.

How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself? For ever?
Will your anger always burn like fire?
Remember how short is my time.
Was it truly so pointless, your creation of man?
Who is the man who can live and not die,
who can save his life from the grasp of the underworld?
Where are the kindnesses you showed us of old?
Where is the truth of your oath to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servants are taunted,
the taunts I bear in my bosom, the taunts of the nations –
the insults of your enemies, Lord,
the insults that follow the steps of your anointed!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

I am the root and stock of David;
I am the splendid morning star.


Psalm 89 (90)
Let the Lord's glory shine upon us

Our years pass like grass;
but you, God, are without beginning or end.

Lord, you have been our refuge
from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were born,
before earth and heaven were conceived,
from all time to all time, you are God.
You turn men into dust,
you say to them “go back, children of men.”
A thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday, that has passed;
like a short watch in the night.
When you take them away, they will be nothing but a dream;
like the grass that sprouts in the morning:
in the morning it grows and flowers,
in the evening it withers and dries.
For we are made weak by your anger,
thrown into confusion by your wrath.
You have gazed upon our transgressions;
the light of your face illuminates our secrets.
All our days vanish in your anger,
we use up our years in a single breath.
Seventy years are what we have,
or eighty for the stronger ones;
and most of that is labour and sadness –
quickly they pass, and we are gone.
Who can comprehend the power of your wrath?
Who can behold the violence of your anger?
Teach us to reckon our days like this,
so that our hearts may be led at last to wisdom.
Turn to us, Lord, how long must we wait?
Let your servants call on you and be answered.
Fill us with your kindness in the morning,
and we shall rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Give us joy for as long as you afflicted us,
for all the years when we suffered.
Let your servants see your great works,
and let their children see your glory.
Let the glory of the Lord God be upon us:
make firm the work of your hands.
Make firm the work of your hands.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Our years pass like grass;
but you, God, are without beginning or end.


Lord, from you springs life;
– in your light we shall see light.


First Reading
Ecclesiastes 6:11-7:28

The more words, the greater the vanity of it all;
and what does man get from it?
Who knows what is good for man in his lifetime,
in those few days he lives so vainly,
days that like a shadow he spends?
Who can tell a man what will happen under the sun after his time?

Better a good name than costly oil,
the day of death than the day of birth.
Better go to the house of mourning
than to the house of feasting;
for to this end all men come,
let the living take this to heart.
Better sadness than laughter,
a severe face confers some benefit.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
the heart of fools in the house of gaiety.
Better attend to a wise man’s reprimand
than listen to a song sung by a fool.

For like the crackling of thorns under the cauldron
is the laughter of fools:
this is vanity, too.
For laughter makes a fool of the wise man
and merriment corrupts the heart.
Better the end of a matter than its beginning,
better patience than pride.

Do not be hasty with your resentment,
for resentment is found in the heart of fools.
Do not ask why earlier days were better than these,
for that is not a question prompted by wisdom.
Wisdom is a precious legacy,
a boon for those on whom the sun shines.
For as money gives protection, so does wisdom;
and the good that knowledge imparts is this:
its possessor finds that wisdom keeps him safe.

Consider the work of God;
who can set straight what he has made crooked?
When times are prosperous, enjoy your happiness;
when times are bad, consider this:
the one is God’s doing, as is the other,
in order that man may know nothing of his destiny.
In this fleeting life of mine I have seen so much:
the virtuous man perishing for all his virtue,
for all his godlessness the godless living on.

Do not be over-virtuous nor play too much the sage;
– why drive yourself too hard?
Do not be wicked to excess,
and do not be a fool;
– why die before your time?

The best thing is to hold the one and not let go the other,
for both of these will happen to the God-fearing man.

Wisdom lends more strength to the wise than ten rulers in a city.
There is no virtuous man on earth who, doing good,
is ever free of sin.
Another thing: pay no attention to telltales;
you may hear that your servant has reviled you;
your own heart knows how often you have reviled others.

I have put all this to the test by wisdom,
claiming to be wise;
but wisdom has been beyond my reach.
Reality lies beyond my grasp; and deep,
so deep, who can discover it?

Once again I was at pains to study wisdom and retribution,
to see wickedness as folly, and foolishness as madness.
I find woman more bitter than death;
she is a snare, her heart a net, her arms are chains;
He who is pleasing to God eludes her,
but the sinner is her captive.

This then you must know, says Qoheleth,
is the sum of my investigation,
putting this and that together.
I have made other researches too, without result.
One man in a thousand I may find,
but never a woman better than the rest.


Responsory

What man can say,
‘I have cleansed my heart, I am purified of my sin’?
There is no virtuous man on earth who,
doing good, is ever free of sin.

If we say we have no sin in us,
we are deceiving ourselves,
but if we acknowledge our sins,
then God who is faithful and just will forgive us.
There is no virtuous man on earth who,
doing good, is ever free of sin.


Second Reading
From the Instructions of St Columbanus, abbot

The immeasurable depths of God

God is everywhere. He is immeasurably vast and yet everywhere he is close at hand, as he himself bears witness: I am a God close at hand, and not a God who is distant. It is not a God who is far away that we are seeking, since (if we deserve it) he is within us. For he lives in us as the soul lives in the body – if only we are healthy limbs of his, if we are dead to sin. Then indeed he lives within us, he who has said: And I will live in them and walk among them. If we are worthy for him to be in us then in truth he gives us life, makes us his living limbs. 
As St Paul says, In him we live and move and have our being.

Given his indescribable and incomprehensible essence, who will explore the Most High? Who can examine the depths of God? Who will take pride in knowing the infinite God who fills all things and surrounds all things, who pervades all things and transcends all things, who takes possession of all things but is not himself possessed by any thing? The infinite God whom no-one has seen as he is? Therefore let no-one try to penetrate the secrets of God, what he was, how he was, who he was. These things cannot be described, examined, explored. Simply – simply but strongly – 
believe that God is as God was, that God will be as God has always been, for God cannot be changed.

So who is God? God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God. Do not demand to know more of God. Those who want to see into the depths must first consider the natural world, for knowledge of the Trinity is rightly compared to knowledge of the depths of the sea: as Ecclesiastes says, And the great depths, who shall fathom them? Just as the depths of the sea are invisible to human sight, so the godhead of the Trinity is beyond human sense and understanding. Thus, I say, if anyone wants to know what he should believe, let him not think that he will understand better through speech than through belief: if he does that, the wisdom of God will be further from him than before.

Therefore, seek the highest knowledge not by words and arguments but by perfect and right action. Not with the tongue, gathering arguments from God-free theories, but by faith, which proceeds from purity and simplicity of heart. If you seek the ineffable by means of argument, it will be further from you than it was before; if you seek it by faith, wisdom will be in her proper place at the gateway to knowledge, and you will see her there, at least in part. Wisdom is in a certain sense attained when you believe in the invisible without first demanding to understand it. 
God must be believed in as he is, that is, as being invisible; even though he can be partly seen by a pure heart.


Responsory

Your love, Lord, reaches to heaven, your truth to the skies.
Your justice is like God’s mountain, your judgements like the deep.

How rich are the depths of God,
how deep his wisdom and knowledge,
how inscrutable are his judgements!
Your justice is like God’s mountain,
your judgements like the deep.

Let us pray.

Grant, almighty God,
that with our thoughts always on the things of the Spirit
we may please you in all that we say and do.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.