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Monday, December 22, 2014
  • Tree, creche inspire even nonbelievers, to love, share

    God did not come to the world with arrogance to impose his might; he offered his powerful love through a fragile child, Pope Francis said.

    The Christmas tree and Nativity scene are reminders of this mystery of the Incarnation and they both carry "a message of light, ...
    FULL STORY

    The tree in St. Peter's Square was lit and the creche was unveiled on December 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Horseback riders make pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine

    In a tradition that hails from Mexico, more than 250 people rode their horses on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines Dec. 7 to pay homage to Mary.

    The pilgrimage was held in advance of the feast of Our Lady ...
    FULL STORY

    A cowboy club led a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Des Plaines, IL. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway/Cathollic New World)
  • Second abuse survivor joins child protection panel

    Pope Francis expanded his papal commission on child protection to include a second survivor of abuse and more experts from around the world.

    The Commission for the Protection of Minors, which Pope Francis established one year ago, adds four more women and four men from five continents ...
    FULL STORY

    Marie Collins was the commission's first abuse survivor. Peter Saunders is the second. (CNS photo/ Carol Glatz)
  • Visitation was painful yet positive, speakers say

    The apostolic visitation of U.S. communities of religious women, though initially met with some resistance, ended up promoting a greater sense of unity in the church and helped the women become more aware of how God is working in their lives, said the prefect of the ...
    FULL STORY

    Mother Mary Clare Millea, who coordinated the apostolic visitation, is grateful for US women religious. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • U.S. women religious find Vatican report reaffirming

    U.S. women religious welcomed the conciliatory tone of a Vatican report on religious life and appreciated acknowledgement of the important ministry that they practice day in and day out in the life of the church.

    They also said the report, released Dec. 16, opens a new beginning ...
    FULL STORY

    Sisters Sharon Holland (left) and Agnes Mary Donovan head the LCWR and CMSWR, respectively. (CNS photo Paul Haring)
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Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.
 
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“Come, O King of the Nations” Use Catholic Greetings to remind friends of holiday get-togethers.
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"Come, O Radiant Dawn" Before dinner this evening gather your family around the Advent wreath and light all four candles.
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BIBLE REFLECTIONS
Sharing the Word - Franciscan Media Productions
Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Friday of the Third Week of Advent
Bringing Home the Word
The Space Between Faith and Doubt
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Doubt can lead us to question, to reflect, to understand reality at a deeper level.
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