In the Eucharist Jesus gives himself to us in the bread and wine. Receiving Jesus unites us with him and with all believers. We are fed so that we can go forth and love one another.
- What special meal do we celebrate at Mass?
- How does sharing in the Eucharist help us to love one another?
- How does sharing in the Eucharist help us to follow Jesus?
In this weekend’s gospel Jesus feeds thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus wants to show them that God loves and cares for his people. There is plenty of food to eat with some left over. No one is turned away, Everyone is welcome at the Lord’s table. The multiplication of the loaves and fishes is the only miracle found in all four Gospels.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- What does the miracle of the loaves and fishes teach us about God?
- Why is it important to share?
- How can you show people that God cares for them?
Feast Day: May 25
Born into one of the richest and most powerful families in Italy in that era, this saint was christened Caterina in honor of St. Catherine of Siena. From an early age, the girl loved prayer and practiced penance. She also performed works of charity for the poor. She developed a love for the Blessed Sacrament while she was very young and liked being around anyone who had just received Eucharist or anyone who was talking about the sacrament.
Caterina received her First Communion at the age of ten, rare at that time, and experienced the first of many ecstasies that she would experience in her lifetime when she was twelve years old. Her mother watched as Caterina, watching a sunset, was able to focus her mind totally on God.
Sent to a convent school when she was fourteen, Caterina lived such a holy life that the sisters predicted that she would become a great saint. From this experience, she told her parents that she wished to become a religious. While they were loath to give up their only daughter, being saintly people, they agreed to allow her to respond to her calling. In 1582, Caterina entered the Carmelite convent of Santa Maria deali Angeli. She chose this convent because of the rule which had the sisters receiving Communion daily, not a common practice at the time.
After entering the convent and, a few months later, receiving the veil, the young girl took the name Maria Maddalena (Mary Magdalen). Sr. Maria became quite ill and, fearing she might die, the superior allowed her to take her final vows in the Spring of 1584. Immediately after, Maria experienced a series of ecstasies for forty consecutive days. Seemingly at the point of death following this sequence, she had what was described as a miraculous cure and, despite a constant state of poor health, was able to carry on with all of the duties to which she was assigned.
For several years following, Maria suffered from terrible depression. The steps which she took to overcome these trials so impressed her sisters that they were more convinced than ever of this young girl’s virtue. Feeling that she was called to renew the Church, she wrote letters to the pope, cardinals of the curia, her archbishop, and others, twelve in all, asking them to make commitments to “The Renovation of the Church.” Finally, on Pentecost in 1590, her sufferings from the depression and temptations abated.
Over the years, Maria filled several positions in the convent: teacher, novice mistress, and finally, in 1604, superior. In the last few years of her life, she was stricken with consumption and was forced to withdraw gradually from the life of her community. The terrible physical and spiritual pain with which she was afflicted lasted until her death in May 25, 1607.
An optional memorial honors this saint on the anniversary of her death.
Mary Magdalen de Pazzi’s message today: God will give us the strength that we need to overcome any trials that come to us. We just need to ask for his grace.
- Do you ask for God’s help when difficulties come into your life?
In Italy since Pope John XXIII, the Pope delivers an address every Sunday at noon. Known informally as the Angelus Address ("Regina Cœli Address" during Eastertide), the short ritual is broadcast by public television (Rai Uno) and Eurovision Network. At the end of the Address, the Pope leads recitation of the Angelus or Regina Cœli, and concludes with a blessing upon the crowds in Saint Peter's Square and televiewers.
The Angelus, in all its stages of development, was closely associated with the ringing of a church bell. The bell is still rung in some English country churches and has often been mistaken for, and alleged to be a remnant of, the curfew bell. The Angelus is replaced by Regina Coeli during Eastertide, and is not recited on Good Friday or Holy Saturday.
In his Apostolic Letter Marialis Cultus (1974), Pope Paul VI encouraged the praying of the Angelus considering it important and a reminder to faithful Catholics of the Paschal Mystery, in which recalling the incarnation of the son of God they pray that they may be led "through his passion and cross to the glory of his resurrection."
As the Month of Mary comes to a close, you can learn and practice another popular prayer to the Mother of God. The Angelus is a prayer that calls to mind the mystery of the Incarnation. In the prayer we remember the call of Mary to be the mother of Jesus and her acceptance of this role. With Mary’s willing participation Jesus, the Word, becomes human.
The short time of prayer creates a space for people to pause from work and remember the presence of God in the ordinariness of life. The day is punctuated with prayer. Hence the practice is one way to create a routine of prayer.
- 12th Century: The custom of reciting the Hail Mary three times in a row in the evening was encouraged. This practice was a way of ending the day with prayer.
- 15th Century: The practice of saying the Hail Mary three times began to include three different times of the day: morning, noon and evening.
- 16th Century: The Angelus took on the structure we have today, reciting the Hail Mary three times with the verses in between, and saying the Angelus in the morning (6am), noon and evening (6pm).
know someone who fits into two or even all three of these categories. Make an effort to take a
meal to them, or better yet, have them share a meal and conversation with your family. Learn as
much as you can about their needs by listening carefully to what they tell you in conversation.
After the event, decide if there is anything you learned that you might do to help lighten their
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