Fine Art Friday and Today’s First Reading
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. 
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?” 
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” 
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank. 
——————————————————————————-
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” 
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” 
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” 
So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
——————————————————————————-
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Fine Art Friday and Today’s First Reading

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. 

On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

He said, “Who are you, sir?” 

The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” 

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.

Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank. 

——————————————————————————-

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” 

He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 

The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight.”

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” 

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” 

So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 

Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

——————————————————————————-

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Father John Muir discusses Pope canonization, sainthood happening Sunday

Fr. John Muir on ABC15 this past weekend:

Popes John Paul XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized Sunday and people all around the world are preparing for the event.

Father John Muir visited ABC15 Saturday morning to discuss what it means to become saint, exactly how it works and the current Pope.

Millions are expected to attend the canonization Sunday, including one Valley couple who will be sending ABC15 special updates and photos throughout the event.

Canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II
We can’t all be in Rome, as much as we might like to be, so we are compiling ways to be a part of the canonization celebration over at The Catholic Sun’s site - including the live stream of the canonization Mass.
We’ve also got feet on the ground! The Accursos are documenting their pilgrimage via Facebook and Twitter, and Bradford Kidd is sending audio that you will be able to hear on The Bishop’s Hour in the coming weeks.
Good Pope John, John Paul the Great, pray for us!

Canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

We can’t all be in Rome, as much as we might like to be, so we are compiling ways to be a part of the canonization celebration over at The Catholic Sun’s site - including the live stream of the canonization Mass.

We’ve also got feet on the ground! The Accursos are documenting their pilgrimage via Facebook and Twitter, and Bradford Kidd is sending audio that you will be able to hear on The Bishop’s Hour in the coming weeks.

Good Pope John, John Paul the Great, pray for us!

Christine and Aaron Accurso are on their way to Rome for the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II! Check out this clip from ABC 15 Arizona where they cite John Paul II as having a profoundly influential role in their lives.

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.