The Lord Descends into Hell
An ancient homily for Holy Saturday (from the Office of Readings)
Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

The Lord Descends into Hell

An ancient homily for Holy Saturday (from the Office of Readings)

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Catholic Schools on Despierta Arizona

Tune in to Despierta Arizona tomorrow at 8:24 a.m. on Channel 33!

Bishops Pray for Compassion, Community at Border
Cardinal Seán O’Malley and a dozen other bishops, including Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson (pictured), gathered at the border this week to witness the plight of the immigrant.
See the Archdiocese of Boston’s photos here.
Read more via The Catholic Sun, and tune in to The Bishop’s Hour on Monday to hear how one parish in Phoenix is affected by the immigration debate.
(Photo credit: George Martell/The Pilot Media Group)

Bishops Pray for Compassion, Community at Border

Cardinal Seán O’Malley and a dozen other bishops, including Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson (pictured), gathered at the border this week to witness the plight of the immigrant.

See the Archdiocese of Boston’s photos here.

Read more via The Catholic Sun, and tune in to The Bishop’s Hour on Monday to hear how one parish in Phoenix is affected by the immigration debate.

(Photo credit: George Martell/The Pilot Media Group)

The Mystery of Man’s Reconciliation with God
Pope St. Leo the Great from the Office of Readings
Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.
He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.
For in the Savior there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.
He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.
Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.
He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.
He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the pre-eminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.
As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfills what is proper to the flesh.
One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person — this must be said over and over again — is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

The Mystery of Man’s Reconciliation with God

Pope St. Leo the Great from the Office of Readings

Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.

He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.

For in the Savior there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.

He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.

Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.

He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.

He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the pre-eminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.

As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfills what is proper to the flesh.

One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.

One and the same person — this must be said over and over again — is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

The Way of St. James
Young adults from St. Anne’s Parish in Gilbert are preparing for the walk of a lifetime, and you are invited to participate. The group, led by Fr. Sergio M. Fita, Pastor of St. Anne’s, is funding a documentary to be filmed during their journey. 
The Camino de Santiago has been highlighted in the secular media in recent years, but the pilgrim route itself has been in use by Catholics for centuries. At minimum, please keep these pilgrims in your prayers!

I guess I’m just trying to listen to God’s voice more than anything, and figure out what it is He wants from me in this life.

Learn more about the pilgrimage and the documentary here, and don’t miss the article from The Catholic Sun.

The Way of St. James

Young adults from St. Anne’s Parish in Gilbert are preparing for the walk of a lifetime, and you are invited to participate. The group, led by Fr. Sergio M. Fita, Pastor of St. Anne’s, is funding a documentary to be filmed during their journey. 

The Camino de Santiago has been highlighted in the secular media in recent years, but the pilgrim route itself has been in use by Catholics for centuries. At minimum, please keep these pilgrims in your prayers!

I guess I’m just trying to listen to God’s voice more than anything, and figure out what it is He wants from me in this life.

Learn more about the pilgrimage and the documentary here, and don’t miss the article from The Catholic Sun.

The Lorica of St. PatrickFaeth Fiada
I arise todayThrough a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,Through a belief in the Threeness,Through confession of the Oneness Of the Creator of creation. 
I arise today Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial, Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise todayThrough the strength of the love of cherubim,In obedience of angels,In service of archangels,In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,In the prayers of patriarchs, In preachings of the apostles,In faiths of confessors,In innocence of virgins,In deeds of righteous men. 
I arise todayThrough the strength of heaven; Light of the sun,Splendor of fire,Speed of lightning,Swiftness of the wind,Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth,Firmness of the rock. 
I arise todayThrough God’s strength to pilot me;God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s hosts to save me From snares of the devil, From temptations of vices, From every one who desires me ill, Afar and anear, Alone or in a mulitude. 
I summon today all these powers between me and evil,Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul, Against incantations of false prophets,Against black laws of pagandom,Against false laws of heretics,Against craft of idolatry, Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul. Christ shield me today Against poison, against burning, Against drowning, against wounding,So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me. 

I arise todayThrough a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,Through a belief in the Threeness,Through a confession of the OnenessOf the Creator of creation.

The Lorica of St. Patrick
Faeth Fiada

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness 
Of the Creator of creation. 

I arise today 
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial, 
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs, 
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men. 

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven; 
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea, 
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock. 

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me, 
God’s wisdom to guide me, 
God’s eye to look before me, 
God’s ear to hear me, 
God’s word to speak for me, 
God’s hand to guard me, 
God’s way to lie before me, 
God’s shield to protect me, 
God’s hosts to save me 
From snares of the devil, 
From temptations of vices, 
From every one who desires me ill, 
Afar and anear, 
Alone or in a mulitude. 

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul, 
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry, 
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul. 
Christ shield me today 
Against poison, against burning, 
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, 
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, 
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, 
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, 
Christ in the eye that sees me, 
Christ in the ear that hears me. 

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

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Valley priest: Pope Francis bringing Catholics back to church

Bob McClay, reporting for 92.3 KTAR:

PHOENIX — It’s been one year since Pope Francis took his position as head of the Catholic Church and a Valley priest said that he has seen an uptick in Catholics returning to the church.

Father John Muir of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Church in Anthem was among the thousands of people who were in St. Peter’s Square when Pope Francis first appeared on the balcony. Muir said that Francis has made Catholics more excited about their faith.

"Pope Francis is such a powerful symbolic figure," he said. "He’s really encouraged Catholics to get back to basics and to not worry about what’s not really essential to who we are as Catholics. I think he’s also encouraged us to follow his example of being someone who takes their faith seriously and puts it into practice."

Muir said, since Francis became Pope, there’s more people in the pews at his church.

"We’ve seen probably a 30 to 40 percent increase in people coming to masses," he said. "Many of these are Catholics who were not that energetic or excited about their faith. They seem to be catching this ‘Pope Francis Fire.’"

Muir said some have been reassessing the priorities of the Catholic religion in their lives.

Muir said he’s also seeing members of his church starting to do more volunteer work in their community.

For Pope Francis, A Year of Reform and Evangelization

Francis X. Rocca, writing for Catholic News Service:

With his affable, informal manner and simple language, Pope Francis has focused on a message of mercy, forgiveness and concern for the poor. He has taken largely for granted those elements of church teaching, including sexual and medical ethics, that contemporary culture tends to reject as censorious and intolerant. He has thus elicited extraordinary levels of curiosity and good will far beyond the ranks of practicing Catholics around the world.

At the same time, the pope has carried out an all-but-explicit electoral mandate to reform the Vatican bureaucracy. A major topic of discussion at the cardinals’ meetings before the March 2013 papal conclave was the previous year’s controversy over published revelations of corruption and incompetence in the Roman Curia and Vatican City State.

In Solidarity With the Hobbs Family and St. Clare Parishioners
You’ve probably heard about Phoenix Police Officer John Hobbs who was killed in the line of duty on Monday. As we continue to pray for his immortal soul, Catholic school students across the Diocese are offering prayer, financial donations, and other forms of support for his wife and young children, and for their parish community at St. Clare.
St. Louis the King, St. Timothy, and St. Thomas the Apostle are collecting donations for the 100 Club.
St. Gregory the Great, along with St. Louis and St. Thomas, are sending sympathy cards to Phoenix PD.
St. Greg’s also made a donation to the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine
et lux perpetua luceat eis:

Requiescant in pace.
Amen.

Keep an eye on The Catholic Sun for more.

In Solidarity With the Hobbs Family and St. Clare Parishioners

You’ve probably heard about Phoenix Police Officer John Hobbs who was killed in the line of duty on Monday. As we continue to pray for his immortal soul, Catholic school students across the Diocese are offering prayer, financial donations, and other forms of support for his wife and young children, and for their parish community at St. Clare.

St. Louis the King, St. Timothy, and St. Thomas the Apostle are collecting donations for the 100 Club.

St. Gregory the Great, along with St. Louis and St. Thomas, are sending sympathy cards to Phoenix PD.

St. Greg’s also made a donation to the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine

et lux perpetua luceat eis:

Requiescant in pace.

Amen.

Keep an eye on The Catholic Sun for more.

Do Not be Afraid to go to Confession!
At Wednesday’s general audience, Pope Francis invited us all to reflect on the sacrament of confession, including how long it has been since we last confessed our sins.

If a lot of time has passed, don’t lose even one more day. Go! - Pope Francis

Though we walk into the confessional with a heavy heart, forgiveness brings freedom and joy!

Sometimes when you’re in line for confession, you feel all sorts of things, especially shame, but when your confession is over, you’ll leave free, great, beautiful, forgiven, clean, happy; this is what’s beautiful about confession. - Pope Francis

Read more via The Catholic Sun here!

Do Not be Afraid to go to Confession!

At Wednesday’s general audience, Pope Francis invited us all to reflect on the sacrament of confession, including how long it has been since we last confessed our sins.

If a lot of time has passed, don’t lose even one more day. Go! - Pope Francis

Though we walk into the confessional with a heavy heart, forgiveness brings freedom and joy!

Sometimes when you’re in line for confession, you feel all sorts of things, especially shame, but when your confession is over, you’ll leave free, great, beautiful, forgiven, clean, happy; this is what’s beautiful about confession. - Pope Francis

Read more via The Catholic Sun here!