Pope Francis left with black eye after hitting head on the Popemobile

The pontiff sustained a bruise to his left eye and a cut above his eyebrow which dripped blood onto his white cassock

Pope Francis is sporting a black eye after hitting his head on the Popemobile when it came to an abrupt stop.

The pontiff was travelling in his special car, with the famous raised platform which enables him to wave to the crowd, in Cartagena, Colombia on the last day of his visit to the south American country when it came to an abrupt halt causing him to hit his head on the bulletproof glass.

He sustained a bruise to his left eye and cut above his left eyebrow which dripped blood onto his white cassock.

The cut was swiftly treated with ice and bandaged up and he continued on his journey.

The pontiff was in the country to appeal for it to “untie the knots of violence” following the government’s controversial peace deal with rebel group Farc which ended 50 years of civil war.

Speaking during mass for about 500,000 people in Cartagena’s port area, he said: “If Colombia wants a stable and lasting peace, it must urgently take a step in this direction, which is that of the common good, of equity, of justice, of respect for human nature and its demands.

“Only if we help to untie the knots of violence, will we unravel the complex threads of disagreements.”

While in the city he also paid a visit to the home of St Peter Claver, a 17th-century Jesuit priest who performed Catholic rites for slaves in defiance of their colonial masters who treated them as chattel.

The Pope used the occasion to again decry modern slavery and human trafficking and defend the rights of immigrants.

“Here in Colombia and in the world, millions of people are still being sold as slaves; they either beg for some expressions of humanity, moments of tenderness, or they flee by sea or land because they have lost everything, primarily their dignity and their rights,” he said just before praying over the saint’s relics.

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How to know when God is calling you?

The first thing to have in mind is that in the case of religious vocation, that the Church has to test and “discern” vocations and ordain or disqualify someone who is interested in the priesthood or religious life. Even marriage, the Church can decide that one isn’t fit to be married and deny them the sacrament.

However, as to the question of how to know when God is calling you to a vocation, it is mainly by having the persistent desire. Such desires need be tested by a trusted spiritual guide, advisably a holy priest who will check and see if you are desiring a real vocation or just a wrong image of a vocation. Also, you can never be certain, as is especially the case with religious life and priesthood, that God is calling you until you are professed or receive ordination.

In short: You will really want to be that which God is calling you to; you will desire it so much so that you will be joyous when you finally receive the gift of that vocation. Be it priesthood, religious life or marriage.

 

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Is it true that God does not answer prayers of those in Mortal sin?

It is very wrong to think that God would reject the prayers of someone in the state of mortal sin. The image of God as “Good shepherd” or as a loving Father is diminished when one is overly scared that God won’t answer their prayers because they are in sin. God is a loving father who is always willing to enter into dialogue with us so that our relationship with him might begin to heal. He never ever turns his back on his children. Everything depends on the disposition of the person who prays, not only about sin but how humble and contrite they are.

Here’s what the Church says on this matter:

When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

 

The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of penance (CCC 1452-1453).

However, it is also important to be careful not to become presumptions of God’s mercy and then relax in our habitual sins. God is merciful, however, we must always struggle against our own sins to be in union with God at all times.

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When is it superstitious or wrong to carry a Rosary?

Full Question:

Is it superstitious to trust in your Rosary for protection?

Answer:

I do not think there’s anything wrong with believing in the protection that God and his saints offer by using some sacramental. However, if you believe that by merely carrying a rosary in your person, and not using it, that the rosary itself will protect you, then it is superstitious. However, if you believe that by carrying it and praying it, that God, our Lady and the Saints will protect and come to your aid. Not just for physical protection but for spiritual advancement and protection, then that is okay. The rosary itself doesn’t protect you, God protects us and his Saints help us by praying to him for us and by protecting us also by the power of God in them.

We use sacramental to get closer to God and his Saints, to seek their aid and intercession and to be protected from darkness and sin. So it is safe to say that the use of these items presupposes faith and a willingness to struggle against darkness and sin.

Hope this answers your question. God bless and protect you.

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How to stop the masturbation addiction? Read this article

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Masturbation happens in every culture, across every period of history, and it’s the way most adolescents discover what they enjoy before embarking on adult sexual relationships. However, if it’s becoming an obsession that inhibits other aspects of your life, or you belong to a religion or philosophy that forbids masturbation, then it’s possible to curb the impulse, gather your self-discipline, and take control of your urges.

Part 1 of 2: Staying Busy and Focused

Find another outlet for your time and energy. Fill your life with engaging activities. The excitement of doing something different can help replace the urge to masturbate, and you’ll have a go-to distraction next time you’re tempted. Try some of these options:

Be Creative. The process of turning sexual urges into creative output (called sublimation) is something on which monks and sages have relied upon for centuries. Start writing, learn to play a musical instrument, paint, draw, or do whatever else makes you feel like you’re doing something productive.
Play Sports. It takes discipline and persistence to excel at a sport. Develop an interest like running or swimming, or a group sport like soccer, football, basketball, or tennis. Also, any form of exercise will help you relieve tension, feel happier, and to make you focus on your physicality in a positive way. Yoga is another form of exercise that can help you feel more relaxed and less likely to feel the sudden urge to masturbate.
Eat a Healthy Diet. Fruits and vegetables have healthy effects on the body and provide nutrients necessary to increase your energy to make you more active throughout the day.
Find a new hobby, or cultivate a skill. Learning something that takes a while to master can refocus your brain on the delayed gratification of achieving goals instead of the instant gratification of masturbation. Try skills like cooking, woodshop, archery, baking, public speaking, or gardening.

Volunteer your time. Devote your energy to helping teens who’ve been less fortunate than you, such as working at a shelter, tutoring low-income students, cleaning up blighted areas, or raising money for a good cause. You’ll get an altruistic feeling from helping others, and you’ll have less time to stray from your goals.

Make a plan for avoiding masturbation during your “go to” times of day. If you have problems before going to bed or in the shower, refrain from any temptation to masturbate. For instance, if it’s a problem late at night, drop to the floor and do push-ups until you’re too exhausted to do anything but fall asleep. If you find shower time too tempting, start using ice cold water only — you won’t want to be in there for long.

If you always masturbate when you get home from school, make sure to have a solid plan to stave off any boredom you may feel. If you have so little to do that your mind frequently wanders to sexual thoughts, occupy your schedule. You’ll find it gets easier to avoid masturbation if you’re too busy or tired to spare any energy for distractions.
If you’re tempted to masturbate in the morning, try to sleep with more than just one layer of clothing so touching yourself is more of an effort.

Limit your solitude. If you masturbate frequently because you feel lonely, find ways to be as socially engaged as possible. This means that you should join as many clubs or activities as you can, accept and give more invitations to people, and go out of your way to make more friends. If you want to date someone, consider asking a friend to set you up or join an online dating site.

Another thing you can do is to limit the times when you are likely to be home alone. If you tend to masturbate in the hour or two before your parents get home from work, go for a walk during that time, or do your homework in a coffee shop.
Even if all of your friends are busy, you can still limit your impulse to masturbate by going out in public. For instance, instead of watching the game at home by yourself, watch it at a sports bar. Even if you’re not hanging out with friends, you will not be alone, ultimately having no time for masturbation.

Stop watching porn on your computer. One of the reasons you may be masturbating so much is that you know that you can access porn within seconds if you want to. However, if you don’t have the willpower to stop looking at the porn on your own, then you may have to take other measures to get the job done:

Consider installing porn-blocking software on your computer. Of course you will know the password to bypass the blocking function, but just having it pop up will remind you of your priorities. You can also type a random password in a text file, copy and paste it when you enter your password and verify it, then delete the text file. Then, you will not be able to know the password of your own porn-blocker. This is the best way to keep you strong and spare you the struggle.

If you have the tendency to masturbate looking at porn on the computer, try moving your computer into a room where others can see you.
If you have a physical collection of porn, dispose of it ASAP.
Get Help. Porn addiction apps such as Brainbuddy are designed to rewire your brain so you crave real connection instead of porn.

Be persistent and patient. Stopping a masturbation addiction won’t hit you like a lightning bolt. It’s a process that requires commitment, and you might make mistakes or relapse on occasions. The real struggle is persevering, so commit now that you won’t let little mistakes stand in your way.

Set up a reward system. Bribe yourself to stay on-track with rewards for good behavior. For instance, if you can go two whole weeks without masturbating once, treat yourself to a small indulgence like a new game or an ice cream cone.
Reward systems are great; just make sure not to reward yourself with the very thing you’re trying to conquer, which, in this case, is masturbating. If you say that you’ll reward yourself with masturbation after a week of not doing it, then you’ll only be turning masturbation into something that you really, really want even more.

Part 2 of 2: Getting in the Right Mindset

Stop punishing yourself. Consider it this way: if you’re constantly dwelling on the disapproval that some may feel about masturbating, then you’re still thinking about masturbation all the time. Don’t just trade in your masturbation addiction for another one — they’re so closely related that you won’t resolve anything. Instead, acknowledge that this has been a problem for you, but you will persevere to stop the impulse.

Remember, you’re human, and humans masturbate. Some studies show that up to 95% of males and 89% of females admit that they have masturbated.[1] You’ll feel less shame once you realize you are not alone.
Resist the urge of sinking into despair by remembering the times spent feeling sorry for yourself when it could have been spent relinquishing your addiction.

Don’t believe the myths about the harms of masturbation. If you want to stop your masturbation addiction, then you should do it for reasons that are personal, moral and Godly, not for reasons that are health-related. The only real health problem that can be caused is pain and rawness from chronic masturbation, but that can go away if you stop touching yourself so frequently.

Know that it will get better. If you have the faith that you can really find a way to stop your masturbation addiction, then you’ll be able to do it. Maybe your goal isn’t to stop masturbating completely, but just to limit your masturbation to a healthy amount, such as once or twice a day. That’s perfectly fine, too. If you have the belief that you really can win this battle, you’ll be much more likely to succeed than if you’re constantly second-guessing yourself.

That being said, there may be days when you have relapses. If you find yourself masturbating one day when you planned not to, don’t think, “Oh, well, I’ve ruined this day anyway,” and then continue compulsively masturbating for the rest of the day and then starting fresh the next. This is about as logical as thinking that you should eat an entire pie because you’ve had one cookie and have ruined your diet for the day anyway.

Know when to seek help. If you’ve tried everything and just can’t seem to get your addiction under control, it might be time to tell someone else about your problem and ask for assistance. Don’t feel ashamed, and remember that many people have similar problems like an addiction. Seeking help is a brave action, and most people you ask will see it as such.

Ask your religious leader for guidance. If you belong to a church, consider asking your local clergy for help. Keep three things in mind: First, these people become part of the clergy because they’re dedicated to helping their congregations. Second, they’ve probably already assisted someone with a masturbation addiction before. Lastly, they’re bound by strict confidentiality. Request a private appointment with your pastor, bishop, imam, rabbi, or other religious leader, and see if his or her advice can help you.
Make an appointment with a medical professional. Counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists are all trained to help people with varying levels of addiction. Start by seeing a therapist in your area, who can assess your addiction and refer you to more specialized help if necessary. Several treatment options are available, from cognitive-behavior therapy to medication.

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Is masturbation sinful according to the Bible?

The Bible never explicitly mentions masturbation or states whether or not masturbation is a sin. The Scripture most frequently pointed to in regards to masturbation is the story of Onan in Genesis 38:9-10. Some interpret this passage as saying that “spilling your seed” on the ground is a sin. However, that is not precisely what the passage is saying. God condemned Onan not for “spilling his seed” but because Onan refused to fulfill his duty to provide an heir for his brother. The passage is not about masturbation, but rather about fulfilling a family duty. A second passage sometimes used as evidence for masturbation’s being a sin is Matthew 5:27-30. Jesus speaks against having lustful thoughts and then says, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” While there are parallels between this passage and masturbation, it is unlikely that masturbation was what Jesus was alluding to.

 

 

While the Bible nowhere explicitly states that masturbation is a sin, there is no question as to whether the actions that lead to masturbation are sinful. Masturbation is nearly always the result of lustful thoughts, sexual stimulation, and/or pornographic images. It is these problems that need to be dealt with. If the sins of lust, immoral thoughts, and pornography are forsaken and overcome, masturbation will become a non-issue. Many people struggle with guilty feelings concerning masturbation, when in reality, the things that led to the act are far more worthy of repentance.

There are some biblical principles that can be applied to the issue of masturbation.Ephesians 5:3 declares, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity.” It is hard to see how masturbating can pass that particular test. The Bible teaches us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If you cannot give God glory for something, you should not do it. If a person is not fully convinced that an activity is pleasing to God, then it is a sin: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Further, we need to remember that our bodies have been redeemed and belong to God. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do with our bodies. In light of these principles, the conclusion that masturbation is a sin is biblical. Clearly, masturbation is not glorifying to God; it does not avoid the appearance of immorality, nor does it pass the test of God’s having ownership over our bodies.

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Only 7 women in the world can wear white to officially meet the Pope

This is the traditional protocol of the “privilège du blanc.”

President Donald Trump’s first visit to Pope Francis captured the world’s attention for various reasons, both because of their differences of perspective on sensitive issues and also because both Melania and Ivanka wore a black dress and veil to meet the Holy Father.

The Holy See does not impose a compulsory dress code, but does suggest a protocol for state visits and hearings with the Pope, both for men and women.

In the case of the latter, the protocol requires a long black dress with a high neckline, long sleeves, and a black veil. For historical reasons, however, some Catholic queens or consorts of kings have traditionally been exempted from using black. This is the so-called “privilège du blanc” (privilege of white), a special prerogative granted under the Pope’s criteria.

At present, there are only seven queens, princesses, or consorts of kings (or kings emeritus) who are granted the “privilege of white”: Queen Consort Leticia of Spain, Queen Emeritus Sofia of Spain, Queen Matilde of Belgium, Queen Paola of Belgium, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Princess Charlene of Monaco, and Princess Marina of Naples, as a member of the House of Savoy.

It is a tradition meant to emphasize the importance of the Supreme Pontiff, but the popes themselves do not demand respect for the protocol.

In recent years, several heads of government or state were received by a pope without being dressed in black. This was the case, for example, of former Irish Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, as well as Raissa Gorbachev of the former Soviet Union. In all these cases, the visitors met with Pope John Paul II.

On several occasions, even queens and princesses who have the “privilege of white” have preferred not to use this prerogative, choosing to dress in black out of reverence for the Holy Father.

This article was originally published in the Italian Edition of Aleteia.


By Aleteia Brasil

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7 Things To Know That Will Change Your Next Mass Experience

I believe that we live in an age where fallen-away Catholics don’t really know what they’ve left, non-Catholics don’t really know what they’re missing, and many Catholics don’t really know what they’ve got. They don’t really know the Mass.

The Mass is the climactic form of Christian worship and within it is contained the greatest miracle on earth. It is a mystery in the fullest sense, and yet, it is comprehensible. As Christians we possess faith, but do we possess understanding? Do we even seek it? I know personally that my understanding of the Mass and what happens during it is inexcusably deficient, mostly from neglect. But I (and you) can change this — and it begins here.

I want to help change your next Mass experience, by the grace of God. So I’ve compiled a list of 7 interesting facts about the Mass, each with a brief explanation. I hope you learn something new!

 

1. The Mark of the Christian

The Sign of the Cross that marks the beginning and end of the Holy Mass, and which signifies the sealing of the Word of God “in our minds, on our lips and in our hearts” at the reading of the Gospel, has its origin in the first centuries of Christianity.

Tertullian wrote in the mid-3rd century:

“In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross” (De corona, 30).

The sign of the cross, done by faith, has immense power. St. Benedict once did the sign of the cross over a poisoned drink meant to kill him, and as his hand moved reverently through the four directions of the cross, the glass shattered. What would have happened if he had been insincere, or worse, not blessed his food and drink at all with the sacred sign? God only knows.

Each sign of the cross is also a sign —a renewal even — of one’s personal decision to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. How many times have we gone through the “motion of the cross” instead of the “sign of the cross”?

 

2. And With Your Spirit”

When the Christian people respond “and with your spirit” to the priest’s greeting (“The Lord be with you”) in the Holy Mass, it is not just a polite (and somewhat odd) response. It is a profession of faith in the power of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It recognizes the unique action of the Holy Spirit in the ordained priest, particularly in the Sacraments. Remember, for example, it is not the priest who changes the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ — it is Jesus Christ. Thus, the priest receives the power to serve as a special instrument of the Holy Spirit at his ordination; that is, when he receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders through the “laying on of hands” (see 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6).

Here’s what the 4th century bishop, St. John Crysostom,wrote about these words and their meaning:

“If the Holy Spirit were not in this your common father and teacher, you would not, just now, when he ascended this holy chair and wished you all peace, have cried out with one accord, ‘And with your spirit.’

Thus you cry out to him, not only when he ascends his throne and when he speaks to you and prays for you, but also when he stands at this holy altar to offer the sacrifice. He does not touch that which lies on the altar before wishing you the grace of our Lord, and before you have replied to him, ‘And with your spirit.’

By this cry, you are reminded that he who stands at the altar does nothing, and that the gifts that repose there are not the merits of a man; but that the grace of the Holy Spirit is present and, descending on all, accomplishes this mysterious sacrifice. We indeed see a man, but it is God who acts through him. Nothing human takes place at this holy altar.”

 

3. Kiss of the Priest

The priest kisses the altar in veneration, recognizing it as the sacred place where Christ’s once and for all sacrifice will be made present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus’s death is re-presented in the Holy Mass as a celebration of the New Covenant Passover, just as the Old Covenant Passover was made present each year it was celebrated (see Ex 12:27). St. Paul contrasts the Eucharistic sacrifice to the pagan sacrifice in 1 Cor 11. Jesus is therefore not re-sacrificed at each Mass but rather, His one sacrifice becomes present to us as He is eternally presenting Himself to God as the sacrificial Lamb of God (Heb 7:25; 1 Cor 5:7; 1 Cor 11:26; Rev 5:6).

Around 70 A.D. Church leaders wrote this about the Eucharistic sacrifice (the Mass):

“Assemble on the Lord’s day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23–24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, ‘Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations’ [Mal. 1:11, 14]” (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]). 

 

4. What’s Inside the Altar?

Did you know that many Catholic altars have a relic placed inside?

Father Carlos Martins, CC, of Treasures of the Church describes relics in this way:

Relics are physical objects that have a direct association with the saints or with Our Lord. They are usually broken down into three classes. First class relics are the body or fragments of the body of a saint, such as pieces of bone or flesh. Second class relics are something that a saint personally owned, such as a shirt or book (or fragments of those items). Third class relics are those items that a saint touched or that have been touched to a first, second, or another third class relic of a saint.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 302, contains the following statement:

“The practice of placing relics of Saints, even those not Martyrs, under the altar to be dedicated is fittingly retained. Care should be taken, however, to ensure the authenticity of such relics.”

 

The bones of St. Polycarp of Smyrna (a disciple of John the beloved apostle) were venerated in the early Church, for example:

“We took up his bones, which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place, where the Lord will permit us to gather ourselves together, as we are able, in gladness and joy and to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom” (The Martyrdom of Polycarp [A.D 156])

For more, I also discuss relics in this recent article.

 

5. Cross or Crucifix?

A cross with a figure of Christ crucified must be present on or near the altar. This is mandated by the Church. A bare cross or a cross with Jesus depicted in a non-crucified way (like the modern “resurrected” Christ portrayal which has become more common) does not meet this requirement. Like St. Paul in his first letter to the Church in Corinth, we preach Christ crucified as an ultimate sign of God’s love for us and the salvation won for us through His crucifixion:

“we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor 1:23; see also 2:2)

The crucifix, properly understood, is not an image of a mere gory execution; rather, it is a sign of the once for all sacrifice of the Lamb of God (1 Cor 5:7).

The General Instruction for the Roman Missal states:

There is also to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, either on the altar or near it, where it is clearly visible to the assembled congregation. It is appropriate that such a cross, which calls to mind for the faithful the saving Passion of the Lord, remain near the altar even outside of liturgical celebrations (GIRM 308).

 

6. Sit, Stand, Kneel and Bow

A genuflection before the Jesus in the tabernacle is not meant to be a purely physical action. It requires a simultaneous “bow of the heart.”

The venerable practice of genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament, whether enclosed in the tabernacle or publicly exposed, as a sign of adoration, is to be maintained. This act requires that it be performed in a recollected way. In order that the heart may bow before God in profound reverence, the genuflection must be neither hurried nor careless (Inaestimabile Donum 26).

Some people may wonder what’s up with Catholics and all the bowing, standing, sitting, kneeling that they do in the Mass. It’s a good and honest question. Catholics assume these gestures because of who and what they are encountering in the Mass — the King of Kings and His Word. In the case of veneration with the body, the body leads the heart.

Consider these words from C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters:

“At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls” (Letter IV).

Our postures matter, especially in the Mass — the climax of Christian Worship. As King David writes in this beautiful Psalm:

“O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God…” (Psalm 95)

 

7. The Fraction Rite

After the consecration (when the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus) but before Communion, the priest breaks off a piece of his “big” host and adds it to the precious blood (which still maintains the physical properties of wine). This breaking and commingling of the broken piece of the Body with the Blood is rich in significance:

First, it is not a separating of Christ, as though a “part” of Christ is here and a “part” of Christ is there. In each molecule of the consecrated host, the resurrected Christ is totally and perfectly present in His infinite divine substance.

Second, this “breaking”, called the “Fraction Rite”, follows Christ’s breaking of bread at the Last Supper and is rich in biblical significance (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:42, 46; 1 Cor 10:16).

Third, the commingling of the broken fraction with the blood in the chalice symbolizes the reunification of Christ’s body and blood in his glorious resurrection.

Now here’s an interesting tidbit to end off this post:

Originally, this Fraction rite and commingling had another important significance. At each Mass, the priest would break off a piece of the host (as he does now) but then, that consecrated fraction would be sent to another celebration of the Eucharist at another location. There, the fraction sent from the parish “down the road” would be commingled with the blood of Christ. The fraction of the host from that Mass would then be sent off to another Mass, and so on. This ritual created a great sense of unity among the faithful in the Mass, and signified the continuity of the eucharistic sacrifice in the Church (Mal 1:11; 1 Cor 10:17). This practice was known as fermentum, but has fallen out of practice in modern times.

If you would like to read more about the specifics of the Mass I highly recommend Mass Revision by Jimmy Akin to get you started.

See you in the Eucharist!

By MATT NELSON

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With the eclipse in sight, Pope Francis warns against turning to astrologers and fortune tellers

People are asking for deeper, occult meaning of the upcoming eclipse.

The August 21 solar eclipse will be visible mostly in the United States, but it’s impact is already being noticed around the world. It’s fueling an interest in astrology and fortune telling, as such events often do. Now, Pope Francis has issued a warning against “false securities,” reminding us to trust in Christ.

The August 21 total solar eclipse that will sweep across the United States has already made an impact. People are flocking to astrologers and fortune tellers to find meaning in the event.

It’s natural for people to seek meaning in things they don’t understand. This is especially common when the event in question is rare or poorly understood.

Read Pope Francis’ 13 Warnings about Satan

A solar eclipse is the product of the Moon passing in front of the Sun from the perspective of a person on the surface of the Earth. There is no meaning beyond this.

Yet, astrologers are enjoying renewed interest in their trade.

Scientific experiments have proved that there is no connection between what happens in the heavens to what happens in our daily lives. And fortune tellers have repeatedly been exposed as hoaxes, performing cold readings and other tricks to convince customers they are real.

The Bible provides a warning against entertaining these deceptive practices. In fact, the Old Testament suggests harsh penalties for people who engage fortune telling. Today, there are no such earthly penalties, which is a welcome change. However, Christians should still shy away from astrology and fortune telling. Not only are these hoaxes, they are also distractions from what Christians ought to trust, which is Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis reminded audiences on Sunday when he said, “When we do not cling to the Word of the Lord, but consult horoscopes and fortune tellers, we begin to sink.”

Pope Francis connected his comment to the Gospel reading in which Peter began to sink in the water but was saved by Christ. The word of God, Pope Francis said, is “like an outstretched rope to cling to in front of the hostile and turbulent waters.”

We sink when we put our faith in the wrong things. “the guarantee against a shipwreck is faith in Christ and in his word.”

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Over 20 million people facing starvation – and we should care!

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Think to a time when you were hungry. Remember how it felt, a bit uncomfortable, right? You may have even said, “I’m starving!” But you knew that in a short time the next meal would be there for you. Knowing that a good meal was awaiting you allowed your slight hunger to actually whet your appetite.

Now imagine that you are very hungry and have no idea where the next meal will come from for you and your family. In this case your hunger is physically painful and terrifyingly stressful.

Imagine now that there is no work to be found, the drought has dried up your crops. Your livestock is dead. And you and your family have eaten the last seeds that were meant for next season’s planting.

Now how are you feeling?

This is how many Africans are feeling, especially those in South Sudan, Somalia, Northeast Nigeria, and nearby Yemen. In these nations over 20 million people are facing famine and starvation. Armed conflict and severe drought are the main engines driving this emergencythe world’s largest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II (see: http://arcg.is/2tjzoRe).

“Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death” and “many more will suffer and die from disease,” said Stephen O’Brien, U.N. under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs. He emphasized that to avert a catastrophe, immediate adequate funding from wealthy nations is critical.

O’Brien said the largest humanitarian emergency was in Yemen – the Arab world’s poorest nation – where two-thirds of the population – 18.8 million people – desperately need aid, and over seven million people are hungry and dont know where their next meal will come from (see: http://bit.ly/2ks1Mvt).




Compounding the famine, Yemen is now facing the world’s worst cholera outbreak according to the U.N. which has placed blame on all sides of the nation’s ongoing conflict between the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabialed coalition and the Houthis (see: http://cbsn.ws/2ui2bph).

An editor friend of mine in Nigeria put me in touch with Bishop Stephen Mamza, head of the northeast Nigerian Diocese of Yola. Bishop Mamza sent me a report with his assessment of the

crisis in Yola. His report states that the U.N. World Food Program’s response to the food crisis in Nigeria is critically underfunded, meaning that hundreds of thousands of food insecure Northeast Nigerians are not being helped.

Bishop Mamza wrote that he and other diocesan aid workers visited a makeshift settlement where “we met scores of hungry, malnourished and crying children who told us that they had not eaten for three days.”

Please email and call your two U.S. senators and congressperson highlighting this emergency, and urging that instead of slashing funding to programs that feed desperately hungry fellow human beings and programs that assist the poorest of the poor to build self-sustaining lives, the 2018 fiscal year budget needs to robustly increase funding for these life-saving programs (see: http://bit.ly/2uLv0qI).

And urge them to stop supplying weapons to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, and instead to broker an immediate cease-fire with total access to humanitarian relief.

Catholic Relief Services is on the ground in Bishop Mamza’s diocese and throughout Northeast Africa working to ease the suffering. Please help them expand their life-saving efforts by making a generous donation to CRS’ “Africa Hunger Crisis Emergency Fund” (see: http://bit.ly/2wMIxQf).

For I was hungry and you gave me food (Matt. 25: 31-46).


By Tony Magliano

[Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.]

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