You’ll Always Be in Debt

Homily You’ll always be in debt is good news, as we heard in the readings today, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.” Romans13:8 This speaks to our debt of love. There is a debt of love that we owe to one another. It is a very high standard and demands unconditional love and selflessness. St Paul was explaining in these words how Christians are to conduct themselves in relation with one another. Love is an outstanding debt that will always remain. You will always be in debt to me and I will always be in debt to you.

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Religious sisters missing after jihadist attack found safe and well

CNA Staff, Sep 7, 2020 / 11:15 am (CNA).- Two religious sisters missing after jihadists attacked a port town in Mozambique have been found safe and well, a Catholic bishop said Sunday. 

“It is with great joy that we inform you that the two sisters, Inés and Eliane, who work in the Mocímboa da Praia parish and have been missing for 24 days, are safe and healthy with us again,” Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa of Pemba said Sept. 6. 

The bishop’s comment was reported Sept. 7 in a press release by the German branch of the organization Aid to the Church in Need, according to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German language news partner. 

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Vocation and the Single Life

(This article recently appeared in Catholic World Report and may serve as a good addendum to Father Callam’s exhortation for the Church to canonize more married people. Well, what of the singles, we may also ask? )

Mary Cuff’s recent article, premising that the single life is not a vocation, has left many singles sort of non-plussed. The following words are meant to offer some hope and consolation to those who, for reasons that may soon be adduced, do not end up in one of the three traditional ‘vocations’ – priesthood, the vowed religious life, and marriage – for there are many paths to heaven.

I write these words having just attended the marriage of two alumni of the college at which I teach – a graced opportunity I have had many times over the years – but I also know of many others who have not found spouses, and don’t feel called to the convent or seminary. There are untold numbers of such unsettled ‘singles’, many of whom are so, as the Catechism says, ‘not of their own choosing’. What are we to say to them?

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What of Married Saints?

Glance at any catalogue of saints and you will be struck, as I was, at how few of them were married. There are Mary and Joseph, of course, but their situation was hardly typical. Of the other saints who were married, women outnumber men. The Roman matron Perpetua and her slave Felicity were martyrs, but their husbands—like Mr. Clitherow whose wife, Margaret, was martyred by Elizabeth I in 1586—were not. Augustine’s mother, Monica, is a saint but not his father, Patricius. Then there are Melanie the elder, Paula, and Marcella of fourth-century Rome, all widows who, like Jane Frances de Chantel and Marguerite d’Youville, embraced the ascetical life when their familial obligations had come to an end. Married male saints who were not martyrs—or Apostles[1]—tend to be rulers: Good King Wenceslaus, Louis IX of France, the Emperor Henry II and, in the Eastern Church, Constantine the Great. Orthodoxy also honours the patriarchs: Saints Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel. Most of the saints, however, have been either martyrs or ascetics. This historical fact accounts for the small number of married saints. To see why, one has to consider the meaning and form of sainthood in the early Church.

Martyrs were known to be already in heaven. Their imitation of Christ was so complete that they were believed to have achieved the fullness of what Jesus had implicitly promised to his heroic disciples when he told the good thief, “this day you will be with me in paradise.[2] With the end of persecution in the fourth century, another mode of “martyrdom” was recognized in asceticism. Jerome was typical of many in describing this austere and consecrated way of life as a new form of martyrdom, which could, in its protracted demands, equal or even surpass physical martyrdom. In his eulogy of Saint Paula he addresses her daughter Eustochium:

Your mother has now after a long martyrdom won her crown. It is not only the shedding of blood that is accounted a confession:[3] the spotless service of a devout mind is itself a daily martyrdom. Both alike are crowned—with roses and violets in the once case, with lilies in the other.[4]

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