About Today

September 14

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Feast

“Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross,” (Phil.2:5-8). [1]

Today we honor the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and Jesus’ triumph upon it. In today’s feast, we are reminded of God’s plan of Salvation and His work to raise up humankind through the saving power of Jesus Christ. In Christ on the Cross, sin is overcome and we are offered a new life, with Christ at the center. According to a traditional account, the relics of the holy cross were discovered by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, in 326 when she was on a pilgrimage in Jerusalem. The relics were captured by Persians but later returned in 628 and now reside at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1]Revised Standard Version s.v., “Philippians, The Letter of Saint Paul to the.”
[2] Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “Archeology of the Cross and Crucifix.”
[3] Benedict XVI, Homily, September 15, 2008.
[4] John Paul II, Homily, September 14, 1988.
Source: Divineoffice.org

About Today

September 8

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Feast

Today we celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Romanus, a sixth-century lyricist in the Eastern tradition, first refers to the feast. The tradition spread and was celebrated in Rome within a century. The Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal gospel from the 2nd century, tells us the account of Our Lady’s birth. Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, longed for a child. Anna prayed to the Lord and in response, God sent an angel telling her she’d conceive. When Mary was born, the couple rejoiced, vowing to make their daughter a gift unto the Lord. Her birth becomes, as John Paul II wrote, “…the purest dawn of our Redemption,” as her life brought forth the coming of our Savior. [1][2][3]

Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD
Written by Sarah Ciotti

[1] Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
[2] Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “The Protoevangelium of James.”
[3] John Paul II, General Audience, September 8, 2004.
Source: Divineoffice.org

About Today

August 24

Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

Feast

“Nathanael said to him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’” (Jn 1:48-49). [1]

Today marks the Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle. St. Bartholomew, whose name means ‘son of Talmay,’ is listed as one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He is mentioned sixth in the Gospel’s of St’s Matthew, Mark, and Luke and seventh in Acts. In St. John’s Gospel, Nathanael is listed where St. Bartholomew’s name is in other three lists. Therefore, as there is no central narrative about St. Bartholomew; most scholars believe he may be Nathanael. As for Nathanael, we see his relationship with Christ reflecting a deep and truth faith. He opens his heart and professes that Jesus is the Son of God. As Pope Benedict XVI states, this is, “…an important first step on the journey…to Jesus.” Also, in Nathanael’s proclamation, we hear Jesus’ hypostatic union referenced; Jesus’ divinity as the Son of God and Jesus’ humanity as the King of Israel. We are reminded to honor both of these aspects of Christ as we grow in relationship with Him. [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
[1] Revised Standard Version, s.v., “John, The Gospel according to.”
[2] Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “St. Bartholomew.”
[3] Benedict XVI, General Audience, October 4, 2006.
[4] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed., 464-469.
Source: Divineoffice.org

About Today

August 15

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Solemnity

“’Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.’ The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians…’”[1]

Today the Church honors the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother’s principal feast and a holy day of obligation. Jesus took up and received His Mother in the sum totality of her being, a joyous union of God-bearer and Son. The earliest record of this is from the 5th -6th century, presumed written by St. John, in a work entitled De Obitu S. Dominae. Additional accounts are written by Joseph of Arimathea, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. Melito of Sardis, with commentaries penned by Albert the Great, St. Aquinas, and St. Bonaventure. Therefore, in 1950, Pope Pius XII issued the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus declaring “… to the glory of Almighty God, who poured into the Virgin Mary in honor of his special favor of his Son… the immaculate Mother of God ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Our Mother’s Assumption is celebrated in both eastern and western traditions and is perpetually honored as the Fourth Glorious Mystery in the Holy Rosary. [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed., 966.
[2] Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “The Feast of the Assumption.”
[3] St. John, “The Dormition of the Holy Theotokos,” quoted by Prof. Stephen J. Shoemaker, http://pages.uoregon.edu/sshoemak/texts/dormindex.htm
[4] Pius XII, Deus Munificentissimus [Mary’s Glorification with Taking the Sky in Body and Soul], 1950.
Source: Divineoffice.org Evening Prayer I

About Today

August 6

The Transfiguration of the Lord

Feast

1And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. 2And he transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. 3And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him… 5He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him,’” (Mt.17:1-3, 5). [1]

Today is the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. This scene on Mount Tabor fills today’s believers with wonder, as it did Peter, James and John, when they, “fell on their faces and were filled with awe,” (Mt.17:6). Pope Benedict XVI, in his Sunday Angelus, describes the Transfiguration of Jesus as revealing ‘the splendor of Truth and Love.’ In this splendor was the mystery of light, as Jesus’ face shone like the sun. Jesus confirmed His divinity and expressed an essential aspect of God, light, which appears throughout salvation history when God is near. In the Transfiguration, we are invited to meditate on the ‘mystery of God’s light,’ Jesus’ divinity and our role as children of God and therefore, children of the light. [2][3][4]

“Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty, who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who hast stretched out the heavens like a tent, who hast laid the beams of thy chambers on the waters, who makest the clouds thy chariot, who ridest on the wings of the wind, who makest the winds thy messengers, fire and flame thy ministers” (Ps 104:1-3).[5]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
[1] Revised Standard Version, s.v., “Matthew, The Gospel According to.”
[2] Ibid.
[3] Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, March 12, 2012.
[4] Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, August 6, 2006.
[5] Revised Standard Version, s.v., “The Psalms.”
Source: Divineoffice.org