vrijdag 30 juni 2023

Nero's reign of terror: how Christians became scapegoats for Rome's problems. "Christianity offered an attractive vision of a better world based on love, compassion, and equality".

Source: https://www.historyskills.com

Nero, the infamous Roman Emperor who ruled from 54 to 68 CE, is notorious for his persecution of Christians.  Nero’s reign was characterized by political turmoil, economic instability, and widespread social unrest. During this time, Christianity was still a new and growing religion, and its followers were often viewed with suspicion and hostility by the Roman authorities.

Nero’s persecution of Christians was a significant turning point in the early history of Christianity, and it had a profound impact on the development of the religion.

Growth of early Christianity

The spread of Christianity in the centuries leading up to Nero's persecution was a gradual process that was marked by both success and opposition.

Christianity began as a small sect within Judaism in the first century CE and gradually expanded beyond its Jewish roots to encompass a diverse group of believers from all walks of life.

One of the key factors in the spread of Christianity was the work of the apostles, including Peter and Paul, who traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean world to spread the message of Jesus Christ. These early missionaries established new communities of believers and wrote letters and other works that helped to define and spread the teachings of Christianity.

Another important factor in the spread of Christianity was its message of hope and salvation. At a time when many people in the Roman Empire were openly incorporating more foreign gods into their religious system, Christianity offered an attractive vision of a better world based on love, compassion, and equality.

Why did Nero target Christians?

The motivations behind Nero's persecution of Christians are complex and multifaceted. There is no one single reason for Nero's hostility towards Christians, but rather a combination of political, social, and religious factors that contributed to his actions.

One possible motivation for Nero's persecution of Christians was political. Nero was known for his authoritarian rule and was often at odds with various groups in Roman society, including the Senate, the military, and the Jewish population.  Christianity was seen as a threat to the established order, as it rejected the traditional Roman gods and did not recognize the authority of the emperor. By persecuting Christians, Nero may have been seeking to assert his power and authority over a group that he saw as a potential source of dissent and rebellion. 

Another possible motivation for Nero's persecution of Christians was social. Christianity was a new and growing religion in the Roman Empire, and it challenged traditional social hierarchies by promoting the idea of equality and brotherhood among all believers, regardless of social status or background. This may have been seen as a threat by some members of Roman society, particularly those in positions of power and influence.

Religious factors may have also played a role in Nero's persecution of Christians. The Roman Empire was a polytheistic society, and the worship of traditional gods was seen as essential to maintaining the favor of the gods and ensuring the stability of the state. Christianity, with its rejection of the traditional gods and promotion of monotheism, was seen as a direct threat to the religious and cultural identity of the Roman Empire.

Nero's cruel punishments for Christians

The persecution of Christians by Nero began in the year 64 CE, after a great fire swept through Rome, destroying much of the city. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, Nero himself may have been responsible for starting the fire, although this claim is disputed by some scholars. In any case, Nero was eager to deflect blame for the disaster, and he seized upon the growing Christian community as a convenient scapegoat. The persecution of Christians under Nero was marked by extreme brutality and cruelty, and some of the most horrific methods of execution were reserved for those who refused to renounce their faith. Nero preferred to publicly execute those who refused to renounce their faith, either in events he'd personally organised, or at regular state-sponsored times. At times, Christians were pitted against savage animals, such as dogs, in a gruesome display of violence and bloodshed. At others, victims were crucified. Another particularly gruesome form of execution was to burn Christians alive as human torches.

Nero was known for his extravagant gardens, which he would light up at night with burning torches. According to some accounts, Nero would have Christians tied to stakes and covered in tar or pitch before setting them alight. The burning bodies would then be used to light up the gardens, creating a macabre spectacle for Nero's guests.

The deaths of the apostles Peter and Paul

The persecution of Christians was not confined to Rome alone, but spread throughout the empire. According to Christian tradition, the apostles Peter and Paul were both martyred during Nero’s reign.

Peter, also known as Simon Peter, was one of Jesus' twelve apostles and is often considered to be the first pope of the Catholic Church. According to tradition, Peter was crucified upside-down during Nero's persecution of Christians. The reason for this unusual form of execution was reportedly at Peter's own request, as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus. The site of Peter's martyrdom is believed to be the Vatican Hill, where a basilica now stands in his honor. In the fourth century, the emperor Constantine built the original St. Peter's Basilica on the site, which was later replaced by the current basilica in the 16th century. 

The second famous victim of Nero's persecution was Paul, also known as Saint Paul. He was a prominent Christian missionary and writer who is credited with spreading Christianity throughout the Mediterranean world. According to tradition, Paul was beheaded during Nero's persecution of Christians, likely sometime between 64 and 67 CE.

What impact did the persecution have?

Despite the severity of Nero’s persecution, Christianity continued to grow and spread throughout the Roman Empire in the centuries that followed. The martyrdom of Christians during Nero’s reign became a rallying cry for the faithful, inspiring new converts and strengthening the resolve of those who already believed. The stories of the martyrs were passed down through the generations, becoming a powerful symbol of faith and sacrifice. In the end, Nero’s persecution of Christians failed to stamp out the religion, but instead helped to cement its place in the history of the Western world. Today, Christianity is the largest religion in the world, with over 2 billion followers, and its influence can be seen in everything from art and literature to politics and philosophy.

The First Holy Martyrs of the Roman Church - while Rome was on fire and emperor Nero played his violin.

Early Christian Martyrs

The Meaning of Martyr in Christianity

donderdag 29 juni 2023

What was the Relationship Between Peter and Paul? Reconciled or Rivals? by Noah Perez - Catholicism Coffee


Arguably the two greatest apostles of Christ, Paul and Peter stand in front of the crowd as the two major witnesses to the faith. Peter was the rock on which Christ formed His Church, and became the first Pope as the specialized Shepard of Christ’s Flock on Earth. Paul wrote the majority of the New Testament, with 13 letters ascribed to his name (most scholars agree that 7 are objectively his, yet the other 6 are of contested authorship).

However, when both of them met, their meeting was not one of jolly unification, but of stern confrontation. Furthermore, there is evidence to the claim that they met again, yet no evidence that their relationship healed. Today’s article will deal with all of the sources we have that combine the two figures.

Paul — Confronting the Leader

Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee, the persecutor of Christians turned Christian, the Apostle to the Gentiles, writes about Peter in detail only once; The Incident at Antioch.

For some context; in the beginning of Church history, the Apostolic Age, one of the earliest conflicts was that of the prospect of gentiles becoming Christian. As Christianity began as a sect of Judaism (and Jesus Himself was a Jew), many early Christians believed that in order to be a good Christian, you need to be a good Jew first. This entails of the food laws, Jewish practices and customs, and most notoriously, circumcision. Abraham was circumcised in Genesis 17:11 (You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you [NIV].) and since then, the act of circumcision was the act of the covenant between the Chosen People and God. Thus, when Gentiles converted to Christ, they didn’t want to circumcise, but many of the Jewish Christians demanded it of them, causing a rift.

The Jerusalem Council was held in order to settle this, concluding that circumcision and being a good Jew was not necessary to become Christian. (Acts 15 describes the event).

Now that the context is set, we can venture into the Incident at Antioch.The event is described in the letter to the Galatians, where Paul writes:And when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews [also] acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not on the right road in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all, “If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” — Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 2:11–14 

In summary, when Paul met with Cephas (Peter), he realized that Peter was giving in to the pressure of the Jewish Christians around him. This fits in quite well with his character, such as when Peter gave into pressure by the crowd after Jesus’s arrest and rejected Christ three times (Mark 14:66–72). Peter, as is implied in the above writing, was on the side of those who believed Gentiles should be forced to circumcise and live like Jews (last sentence). However, Peter was hypocritical, and would eat with the Gentiles, yet would back away (out of fear and pressure) when the Jewish Christians came. As Peter, the leader, did this, so did the rest of the Jewish Christians and even Barnabas, which drove Paul mad. For Paul, you stay on one side, not shift back and forth and then influence everyone to be as hypocritical as you. As well, Paul was on the side of those who believed Gentiles did not have to circumcise themselves to be Christian. This is why Paul had to stand up to Peter, in front of everyone, and with much force. There is no recorded response from Peter, all we know is that this must have caused a rift between the two. There is a possibility Peter repented, yet we cannot know either way.

Paul and Peter did later meet at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), but nothing is recorded about their meeting or conversation (if they had one).

One final (possible) piece of evidence for a continuing rift between Paul and Peter is that of Paul’s apparent absence of Peter in his list of beloved brothers at the end of his letter to the Romans. Romans chapter 16, the end of the letter, pronounces a massive list of those whom Paul expresses greetings to, yet Cephas/Peter is not on the list, although he spent some of his life there. There are certain possible reasons for this:

Peter was not in Rome at the moment

Paul did not know Peter was at Rome

Paul and Peter’s rift was not reconciled

Paul did not want to reveal Peter as the Leader of the Church in case the letter got in the hands of Roman Persecutors

Lastly, for possible proof of either a mended relationship or for an increased respect/authority for Peter, Paul distinguishes his name among the Lord’s brothers in the first letter to the Corinthians, writing:

Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? — 1 Corinthians 9:5 (NIV)

In conclusion, we know there was a rift, but we do not know, from Paul’s written sources, whether or not the rift was mended or continued.

Peter (or pseudonym) and his respect for Paul

Peter, the Apostle to the Jews, only mentions Paul once (for whether or not 2 Peter was actually written by Peter, which most scholars disagree with. Even if 2 Peter was not written by Peter himself, the author most likely had connections with him or shared his basic viewpoints.) in his second letter, saying:

Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. — 2 Peter 3:15–16 This seems to imply that their relationship has mended by the time Peter was writing this letter; if not, at least the respect Peter had for Paul increased, as he even refers to Paul’s letters as “scriptures”. If Peter was not the one that wrote this letter, it nonetheless shows that there was common knowledge that Paul and Peter were not rivals or enemies, but instead brothers in Christ.

Statue of St. Paul in St. Peter’s Square, Rome

The 2 in Rome — Paul

The Acts of the Apostles does not record the end of Paul or Peter’s life, yet it does record that Paul was on house arrest in Rome, saying:

For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ — with all boldness and without hindrance! — Acts 28:30–31 (NIV)

Paul being under house arrest for two years means that he was awaiting his judgment, as prisons in Rome were not necessarily to hold someone as punishment, but to hold someone until they could be brought to trial and condemned. Paul thus was probably condemned to death after those two years.

This most likely took place in the early 60’s A.D., and Acts was written most likely from 80–85 A.D., testifying to the reliability of the claims (The Acts of the Apostles: Anchor Yale Bible Commentary by Joseph A. Fitzmyer pgs. 51–66).

The 2 in Rome — Peter

It is possible that Peter did go to Rome at least once in his life, as briefly alluded to above. However, let us list some more evidence for the possibility:

The First Letter of Peter (which has many more scholars who hold of Petrine authorship than 2 Peter) declares this to the readers:

She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. — 1 Peter 5:13 (NIV)

This verse has been taken by many to be code (necessary under times of persecution) to signify Rome. Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire, thus the allusion to Babylon is perfect. As well, this is not the only place in Christian literature where Rome is named Babylon, as Revelation takes the name and runs with it, using the symbol of “Babylon the Whore” to allude to Rome and the Empire (Rev. 17).

The Church Fathers also document some tradition of Peter being in Rome, such as when Ignatius wrote this to the Roman Church:

I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant. — Ignatius’s Letter to the Romans ch. 4

Written in the first century, this could refer to Paul and Peter both being present in Rome, yet it is sadly too vague to be certain.

Irenaeus, during the second century, wrote that Paul and Peter were the founders of the Church in Rome (no.2), yet this seems to be untrue as there was already a “church” present when Paul was under House Arrest (furthermore, Paul was writing TO the Romans before his house arrest). Maybe Irenaeus is referring to a larger, more formal Church. Once again, the source is too vague or otherwise a false statement.

Most likely in the late second century (190 A.D.), Clement of Alexandria writes:

And at last, [Peter] having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way.

— Church History III chapter 1 verse 2

As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit… — Church History VI chapter 14 verse 6

These verses, although not vague at all, cannot be objectively seen as historically reliable for their late date. It is very possible, and could be from tradition that has very early roots, yet with the sources we have presently, it is difficult to determine it’s reliability.

Lastly of the Church Fathers, Lactantius, writing in possibly 318, writes this about the dating of Peter’s coming to Rome:

And while Nero reigned, the Apostle Peter came to Rome, and, through the power of God committed unto him, wrought certain miracles, and, by turning many to the true religion, built up a faithful and steadfast temple unto the Lord.

— Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died ch. 2

Once again, because of the late dating, this is not something that we can objectively trust as true. It is very possible, yet on this source alone, no historical conclusions can be positively made for Peter’s presence in Rome.

All in all, the mass number of early traditions, compiled with Peter’s first letter, give us reason to say that the possibility of Peter being in Rome is very high (70–80% in my calculations). We cannot take these individual sources on their own, but combined, with all of their suggestions and implications. I believe that if we examine the whole scope of events, we can see that (objectively) Peter most likely was in Rome at least once in his life, and that it is very probable that he was also martyred there.

Many scholars believe this was also during the 60’s, during the reign of Nero and his persecution against the Christians. This lines up perfectly with Paul.

Martyrdom of the 2

There is early tradition that Paul was martyred in Rome, and some later tradition and stories describe the execution method being decapitation.

There is also early tradition that Peter was martyred in Rome by crucifixion, and apocryphal tradition states it was upside down.

Conclusion: Reconciled or Rivals?

In conclusion, Paul and Peter most likely did meet up again, yet there is no evidence that their their relationship healed, nor is there evidence to the contrary. It is all up to the subjective mind to decide whether or not they became unified. I personally believe, maybe because it is the most pleasing, that they did heal their friendship. It is your choice, as the reader, to come up with the conclusion that you decide upon with all the sources listed.

It is important to heal our relationships with those who we argue with, or those that we go out to fix straight. As Christ said:

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. — Matthew 18:15 (NIV)

As well, and most importantly in terms of repairing previous clashes:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

— Matthew 18:21–22 (NIV)

The feast day of Peter and Paul is on June 29th, in honor of their martyrdom in Rome, and also in honor of the tradition surrounding their martyrdom, that they died on the same day. It is a solemnity, which is a feast day of the highest rank. Nothing less for two of the greatest Apostles who ever lived.

Messe de la solennité des saints Pierre et Paul à Rome 2023

HH. Petrus en Paulus - Introitus: Nunc scio vere

19 June Sts. Peter and Paul: A look at the saints’ lives through the beauty of art.

woensdag 28 juni 2023

28 June - The witty way Saint Irenaeus preached against the heresies of the Gnosis

source: The archives near Emmaus

Irenaeus of Lyons seems like he was a witty fellow. If there are pubs in the age to come, where we can go to have a beer in the new creation, then I want to go have a drink with Irenaeus. I think he would be hilarious.

He mocks the Valentinians’ use of Scripture as being like some who deconstructs a mosaic made of beautiful jewels depicting a king who in turn reconstructs a picture of a dog or a fox thinking it is the same thing:

“Their manner of acting is just as if one, when a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skillful artist out of precious jewels, should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skillful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception what a king’s form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king. In like manner do these persons patch together old wives’ fables, and then endeavor, by violently drawing away from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions. We have already stated how far they proceed in this way with respect to the interior of the Pleroma.” (Against Heresies, 1.8.1)

Later he jokes about the novelty of the gnostics by inventing his own pantheon of deities with names like “gourd”, “melon”, and “cucumber”:

“There is a certain Proarche, royal, surpassing all thought, a power existing before every other substance, and extended into space in every direction. But along with it there exists a power which I term a Gourd; and alongwith this Gourd there exists a power which again I term Utter-Emptiness. This Gourd and Emptiness, since they are one, produced (and yet did not simply produce, so as to be apart from themselves) a fruit, everywhere visible, eatable, and delicious, which fruit-language calls a Cucumber. Along with this Cucumber exists a power of the same essence, which again I call a Melon. These powers, the Gourd, Utter-Emptiness, the Cucumber, and the Melon, brought forth the remaining multitude of the delirious melons of Valentinus.For if it is fitting that that language which is used respecting the universe be transformed to the primary Tetrad, and if any one may assign names at his pleasure, who shall prevent us from adopting these names, as being much more credible [than the others], as well as in general use, and understood by all?” (Against Heresies, 1.11.4)

28 juni - Why was St. Irenaeus proclaimed a Doctor of the Church? - in 2022 EWTN

maandag 26 juni 2023

Saint Thecla: A symbol of chastity, asceticism and perseverance , a very strong woman- by Heba Hrimat

From right to left: Theocleia (mother of Thecla), Paul, and Thecla
Fresco from the Grotto of Saint Paul at Ephesus

An article by Heba Hrimat - Patriarchate of Jerusalem,

0vergenomen van https://en.jerusalem-patriarchate.info
She’s widely celebrated and equally venerated and respected among the different churches of the world including the Orthodox, the Catholic and the Coptic. Saint Thecla whom we venerate on September 24/ October is an apostle and a protomartyr among women who’s
equal-to-apostles in sanctity.

In the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Saint Thecla’s day is joyfully celebrated inside the small beautiful church dedicated for her within the main monastery of the Patriarchate. His beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III normally leads the liturgy every year, where many pilgrims and local believers attend to take the blessings of the great saint.

Having been born to wealthy parents and engaged to a noble man, it was not easy nor acceptable for Thecla of Iconium (modern Konya, Turkey) to choose chastity over marriage and asceticism over nobility. However, no matter how hard her mother and fiancé tried to convince her -to the point of endangering her life- to alter her decision and live up to the family’s name, Thecla never settled and
remained patient as her teacher St. Paul urged her to be.

Her encounter with St. Paul
Thecla’s first insight to Christianity was through St. Paul. The earliest record of their encounter was when St. Paul was offered hospitality at the house of Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16), adjacent to her window. Three days and three nights she spent by her window, listening to Paul’s sermon praising virginity, explaining that the eternal reward awaits those who live a chaste life. That was the turning
point of Thecla’s life where she was determined to leave her family, fiancé and the noble life behind to follow St. Paul.

Thecla’s faith put to test
Seeing the effect St. Paul left on her daughter, Theoclia along with Thamyris (Thecla’s fiance) gathered a group of citizens who took Paul to the local magistrate and accused him of influencing the people with unnatural teachings. Awaiting for his trial, Thecla sneaked her way into St. Paul’s cell by bribing the guards with some jewelry, to receive further teachings. Her actions caused further rage to her mother, who demanded from the governor for Paul to be whipped and expelled from the city.

Theoclia wanted to set an example for ‘’all the women who have been taught by this man’’ to be afraid so she insisted to condemn her own daughter to be burned alive in the theatre. Taken to the theatre, Thecla was stripped naked and tied to a pole. Thecla found comfort in a vision of Christ who bore a resemblance to Paul. The pyre was set blazing around her. Miraculously, a hailstorm from heaven extinguished the fire causing many of the observers to be killed. Thecla escaped and started to search for St. Paul.

On the road with St. Paul
Six days later, Thecla was able to find St. Paul and followed him. Despite his many warnings that she would face another tribulation, worse than the first, Thecla remained her grounds and continued to follow him. She asked to be baptized in order to resist temptation and endure this trial, St. Paul however, asked her to be patient.

While they were in Pisidian Antioch (cp Acts 14:21), Thecla was tested again, this time by Alexander. This provincial high priest was struck by her beauty and wanted her for himself. When she resisted him, he sentenced her to be eaten by wild beasts. Waiting for her punishment, Thecla was permitted to stay with the rich and powerful Queen Antonia Tryphaena, a relative of Caesar. In their short time together, Tryphaena grew fond of Thecla.

The day of execution arrived. Thecla was tied to a fierce  lioness and paraded through the city, she was then stripped and thrown to beasts. Lions, bulls, seals and different types of aggressive animals were unleashed and ready to swallow her, and she was saved from death each time. The books record that a lioness protected Thecla and fought against her male aggressors. Thecla was then
 protected by a series of miracles until finally the women of the city and Queen Tryphaena intervened. To the joy of the women of the community, Thecla was released and stayed with Tryphaena for eight days. During that time, Thecla isbelieved to have converted the entire household.

Seal of Christ, Thecla is baptized
According to chapter nine of the book of ‘Acts of Paul and Thecla’*, it is mentioned that while Thecla was at the arena, she saw a vat of water that contained seals/seacalves. Since she thought it might be her last chance to be baptized, she jumped into the vat and proclaimed that she was baptizing herself. A miracle occurred and all the seals/sea-calves were killed by lightning before they could eat her.

Her last years
Upon returning to Iconium, she learned that Thamyris had died while her mother still had hardened her heart andremained immune to her message. After leaving Iconium, she went to Seleucia where she lived inside a cave for 72 years, ministering to many and living as a hermit performing miraculous cures. Until the district physician became upset with her, because people began to seek her out instead of going to him. In response, he hired a group of people to ravish her. Hearing this, Thecla fled and went into a rock that miraculously opened and closed her in, never to be seen again.

There are few shrines around the world that are connected to the life and miracles of St. Thecla, these happen to form a top tourist attraction for pilgrims from across the world.

Two of which are the most venerated: Tomb of Saint Thecla in Silifke/Turkey and Tomb of Saint Thecla in Maaloula/Syria. The others are Monastery of Saint Tecla near Larnaca, St. Menas in Cyprus and Catacomb of Saint

*The book of ‘Acts of Paul and Thecla’ is counted by the church as a non-canonical book, therefore the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church edited by F. L. Cross clears that “these acts contain a nucleus of genuine history, though it remains difficult to separate fact from legend.”

Women Leaders in Early Christianity - Thecla and Macrina

zondag 25 juni 2023

Nieuwe rubriek: In angulo cum libro -The Joy of Reading - In een hoekje met een boekje. Nederlandse vertaling voorgaande licht bewerkt. Wie kan zeggen dat hij nooit gehuild heeft bij het lezen van een boek?

Informatie overdragen in boodschappen van minder dan 140 tekens is erg beknopt. Overpeinzing van verhalen is een andere zaak . Een onderzoek uit 2009 met 72 kinderen tussen de acht en tien jaar ontdekte dat lezen nieuwe witte stof in de hersenen creëert, waardoor de communicatie in het hele systeem c.q. lichaam verbetert.

Een van de meest fascinerende bevindingen van neurowetenschap is dat taal de gebieden van de hersenen beïnvloedt die betrokken zijn bij de handelingen waar je over leest. Als je bijvoorbeeld "zeep" en "lavendel" leest, worden de delen van je hersenen die met geur te maken hebben geactiveerd. Die gebieden blijven stil als je "stoel" leest. Maar bij "leren stoel" wordt de sensorische cortex geactiveerd. Hoe voelt dat, hoe ruikt dat. Dat komt doordat  de hersenen oefenen via visualisatietechnieken.

Ook het lezen van romans is een boeiende manier om menselijk gedrag te oefenen. In plaats van voelen en ruiken gaat het dan bijvoorbeeld empathie? Als je dieper duikt in heldendaden, dwaasheden, of volwassen of ouder worden, voel je niet alleen de pijn en vreugde maar je ervaart die ook daadwerkelijk. Wie kan zeggen dat hij nooit gehuild heeft bij het lezen van een boek?

Lezen maakt ons daadwerkelijk intelligenter. Bovendien heeft onderzoek aangetoond dat lezen ook daadwerkelijk invloed heeft op onze hersenen. Het bevordert niet alleen de cognitieve vaardigheden, maar ook het vermogen tot inlevingsvermogen en emotionele intelligentie. Door regelmatig te lezen, kunnen we ons vermogen om complexe situaties te begrijpen vergroten en beter worden in het begrijpen van de emoties van anderen. Lezen kan ook dienen als een vorm van zelfreflectie en introspectie. Door verhalen te lezen die resoneren met onze eigen ervaringen en uitdagingen, kunnen we inzicht krijgen in onszelf en onze persoonlijke groei bevorderen. Het stelt ons in staat om na te denken over onze waarden, overtuigingen en doelen, en helpt ons om een dieper begrip van onszelf te ontwikkelen en betere beslissingen te nemen. Romans zijn hier bijzonder geschikt voor..

Romans vragen tijd en aandacht. Hoewel de voordelen de moeite waard zijn, vertonen zelfs kortere stukken proza diepgaande neurologische effecten. Poëzie roept sterke emotionele reacties op bij lezers en, zoals een onderzoek laat zien, bij luisteraars. Onderzoek toonde  aan dat het luisteren naar de gedichten delen van de hersenen van de deelnemers activeerde die niet geactiveerd worden bij het luisteren naar muziek of het kijken naar films. Deze hersenreacties deden zich voornamelijk voor aan het einde van een strofe en vooral aan het einde van het gedicht. Dit past goed bij onze inherente behoefte aan een verhaal: in afwezigheid van een conclusie creëren onze hersenen automatisch een afronding/ 

Onderzoek aan Stanford  Universty toonde een neurologisch verschil aan tussen lezen voor plezier en gefocust lezen, alsof het voor een test is. Bloed stroomt naar verschillende hersengebieden, afhankelijk van hoe het lezen wordt uitgevoerd. De onderzoekers hopen dat dit aanwijzingen kan bieden voor het verbeteren van methoden voor cognitieve training. “Diepdenken” is een begrip dat hierop betrekking heeft. Je kunt oppervlakkig lezen op de automatische piloot, maar je kunt ook rustig een moeilijke tekst lezen om deze goed c.q. diep te begrijpen.

Lezen is een vaardigheid net als andere vaardigheden. Oefening baart kunst. Het is moeilijk te zeggen of lezen iemand tot een slimmer of een beter persoon heeft gemaakt. Het is wel goed voorstelbaar. Misschien is zelfs lezen behulpzaam bij het reduceren van risico op dementie omdat de hersenen worden aangesproken tot activiteit,=,

Het leven zou wat minder betekenisvol zijn als we geen verhalen met elkaar zouden delen. Hoewel er veel media zijn om verhalen over te brengen, is er voor veel mensen geen enkele zo plezierig als het openen van een nieuw boek en het vervolgens verloren raken in een verhaal. Onderweg wordt er altijd iets dieps ontdekt. Lezen stelt ons in staat om na te denken over onze waarden, overtuigingen en doelen, en helpt ons om een dieper begrip van onszelf te ontwikkelen en dat niet zelden in een context van diepe vreugde en andere ontroering.

Nieuwe rubriek: In angulo cum libro -The Joy of Reading - In een hoekje met een boekje.

Samengevat over genomen van Bigthink.com Derek Beres "How reading rewires your brain for higher intelligence and empathy".

Information gathering in under 140 characters is lazy. The benefits of contemplation through narrative offer another story. One 2009 study of 72 children ages eight to ten discovered that reading creates new white matter in the brain, which improves system-wide communication.
One 2009 study of 72 children ages eight to ten discovered that reading creates new white matter in the brain, which improves system-wide communication.

In one of the most fascinating aspects of neuroscience, language affects regions of your brain involving actions you’re reading about. For example, when you read “soap” and “lavender,” the parts of your brain implicated in scent are activated. Those regions remain silent when you read “chair.” What if I wrote “leather chair?” Your sensory cortex just fired. That’s because their brains are practicing. That is, they’re practicing through visualization techniques.

Novel reading is a great way to practice being human. Rather than sprints and punches, how about something more primitive and necessary in a society, like empathy? As you dive deeper into follies or coming of age, you not only feel pain and joy. You actually experience it.

Because reading does in fact make us more intelligent. Research shows that reading not only helps with fluid intelligence, but with reading comprehension and emotional intelligence as well. You make smarter decisions about yourself and those around you.

All of these benefits require actually reading, which leads to the formation of a philosophy rather than the regurgitation of an agenda, so prevalent in reposts and online trolling. Recognizing the intentions of another human also plays a role in constructing an ideology. Novels are especially well-suited for this task. A 2011 study published in the Annual Review of Psychology found overlap in brain regions used to comprehend stories and networks dedicated to interactions with others.

Novels consume time and attention. While the benefits are worthwhile, even shorter bursts of prose exhibit profound neurological effects. Poetry elicits strong emotional responses in readers and, as one study shows, listeners. Heart rates, facial expressions, and “movement of their skin and arm hairs” were measured while participants listened to poetry. Forty percent ended up displaying visible goose bumps, as they would while listening to music or watching movies. As for their craniums:

Their neurological responses, however, seemed to be unique to poetry: Scans taken during the study showed that listening to the poems activated parts of participants’ brains that, as other studies have shown, are not activated when listening to music or watching films.

These responses mostly occurred near the conclusion of a stanza and especially near the end of the poem. This fits in well with our inherent need for narrative: in the absence of a conclusion our brain automatically creates one, which, of course, leads to plenty of heartbreak and suffering when our speculations prove to be false. Instead we should turn to more poetry:

There is something fundamental to the poetic form that implies, creates, and instills pleasure.

Whether an Amiri Baraka verse or a Margaret Atwood trilogy, attention matters. Research at Stanford showed a neurological difference between reading for pleasure and focused reading, as if for a test. Blood flows to different neural areas depending on how reading is conducted. The researchers hope this might offer clues for advancing cognitive training methods.

I have vivid memories of my relationship with reading: trying to write my first book (Scary Monster Stories) at age five; creating a mock newspaper after the Bernard Goetz subway shooting when I was nine, my mother scolding me for “thinking about such things”; sitting in the basement of my home in the Jersey suburbs one weekend morning, determined to read the entirety of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I did.

Reading is like any skill. Though it’s hard to tell if reading has made me smarter or a better person, I like to imagine that it has.

Life would seem a bit less meaningful if we didn’t share stories with one another. While many mediums for transmitting narratives across space and time exist, none is as pleasurable as cracking open a new book and getting lost in a story. Something profound is always discovered along the way.

Nederlandse vertaling volgt later.

THE CATHOLIC LIBRARY - Episode 2: "The Power and the Glory" Graham Greene

Lezingendienst 12e zondag door het jaar - Bidden in woorden en in daden!

Uit de verhandeling van de heilige martelaar Cyprianus, bisschop van Carthago (†258), over het gebed des Heren

Bidden in woorden en daden!

Vindt u het verwonderlijk, geliefde broeders en zusters, dat het onze vader zo kort is? En dan heeft onze Meester ook nog alles wat wij kunnen bidden, in deze korte maar heilzame zinnen samengebracht! De profeet Jesaja heeft hierover al gesproken toen hij, vervuld van de heilige Geest, over de majesteit en de goedheid van God zei: dit is een volmaakt woord dat in het kort alle gerechtigheid bevat; op de gehele aarde zal God dit korte woord tot vervulling brengen (vgl. Jes. 10, 22b. 23). En inderdaad, toen het woord van God in onze Heer Jezus Christus voor alle mensen is gekomen - voor beide geslachten, alle generaties, geleerden en ongeletterden - heeft Hij al zijn leringen en geboden in weinig woorden samengevat, opdat het geheugen van de geloofsleerlingen niet te zeer zou worden belast en zij zouden kunnen leren wat voor een eenvoudig geloof nodig is.

Op deze wijze heeft hij in het kort uitgesproken wat het geheim van het eeuwig leven is: ‘Dit is het eeuwige leven, dat zij U kennen, de enige ware God en Hem die Gij hebt gezonden, Jezus Christus’ (Joh. 17, 3). En zo heeft Hij ook de eerste en grootste geboden uit de wet en de profeten bijeengebracht: ‘Hoor, Israël! De Heer onze God is de enige Heer’ (Mc. 12, 29), en: ‘Gij zult de Heer uw God beminnen met geheel uw hart, geheel uw ziel en geheel uw verstand. Dit is het voornaamste en eerste gebod. Het tweede, daarmee gelijkwaardig: gij zult uw naaste beminnen als uzelf. Aan deze twee geboden hangt heel de wet en de profeten’ (Mt. 22, 37-40); en tenslotte: ‘Alles wat gij wilt dat de mensen voor u doen, doet dat ook voor hen. Dat is de wet en de profeten’ (Mt. 7, 12).

God heeft ons niet alleen met zijn woord maar ook met zijn voorbeeld geleerd hoe te bidden. Hij bad zeer dikwijls, zoals er geschreven staat: ‘Hij trok zich telkens terug in de eenzaamheid om te bidden’ (Lc. 5, 16), en: ‘Hij ging naar het gebergte om te bidden en bracht de nacht door in gebed tot God’ (Lc. 6, 12). Daarmee toonde Hij ons wat ook wij moeten doen.

De Heer bad niet voor zichzelf - wat zou Hij, zondeloze, voor zich moeten vragen? - maar voor onze zonden, zoals Hij tot Petrus heeft gezegd: ‘De satan heeft geëist u te ziften als tarwe. Maar Ik heb voor u gebeden dat uw geloof niet zou bezwijken’ (Lc. 22, 31-32). En later heeft Hij voor alle mensen tot de Vader gebeden: ‘Niet voor hen alleen bid Ik, maar ook voor hen die door hun woord in Mij geloven, opdat zij allen één mogen zijn, zoals Gij, Vader, in Mij en Ik in U: dat ook zij in Ons mogen zijn’ (Joh. 17, 20-21).

Hoe goed en barmhartig is God! Niet alleen verlost Hij ons door zijn bloed, maar Hij bidt bovendien ook voor ons heil. Ziet toch hoezeer Hij verlangt dat, evenals de Vader en de Zoon één zijn, ook wij in hun eenheid blijven.

Introitus: Dominus fortitudo 12e zondag door het jaar

zaterdag 24 juni 2023

National Gallery - Saint John the Baptist: From Birth to Beheading.

In Nativitate Sancti Joannis Baptistae - Communio (Tu puer propheta)

The Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Savannah USA

Nativity of John the Baptist: "a voice crying in the wilderness" - with images of the places where Saint John lived

Ut queant laxis - Hymn to St. John the Baptist with commentary

Meditation - The Nativity of St. John the Baptist/ June 24

24 June St. John the Baptist

donderdag 22 juni 2023

More about Margareth More by Susan Abernethy - Blog The Freelance History Writer


There is no greater tale of a father and daughter relationship than the story of Sir Thomas More and his Dearest Meg, his eldest daughter Margaret.

Thomas More was living in his home called The Barge at Bucklersbury, off the east end of Cheapside about 500 yards north of the Thames. His first wife was named Joanna Colt and their first child Margaret was born at home sometime between August and October of 1505. She was baptized and turned over to a close neighbor, Mistress Giggs who was her wet nurse and had just had a child of her own, another Margaret. Mistress Giggs died shortly after giving Margaret back to her parents and Margaret Giggs was adopted by Thomas and Joanna and became Margaret More’s closest friend.

Joanna Colt was to have three more children, Elizabeth, Cecily and John before she died in 1511. Thomas married a wealthy widow, Alice Harper within a month of Joanna’s death. In the early days before he went to work for King Henry VIII, More was to teach his own children. Thomas believed strongly in education for everyone, including women. This education consisted of languages, history, philosophy and rhetoric. Margaret was taught reading at the age of three, studying Aesop’s Fables as her father had when he was a child. When Thomas couldn’t teach his children due to his duties, he hired William Gonnell to tutor his children full time. The school of children tutored by Gonnell included the two older Margarets, Margaret’s siblings and Alice Harper’s daughter Alice.

Margaret progressed well in her studies and soon became her father’s favorite. She was fascinated by geography and astronomy and became proficient in Latin. More relied on her to keep him updated about family news when he was abroad working for the King. Despite all of Margaret’s studies and learning, she was still expected to marry. By 1521, talks were initiated between the More family and the Roper family to marry Margaret to the eldest Roper son, William.

Margaret’s expected dowry would be about 200 pounds. Her father didn’t have the money so a contract was worked out where Margaret and William would receive free room and board for five years and the dowry would be paid at a later date. They were married in 1521. They did not have any children until 1523. Margaret was to have five children, the last one being born in 1544. In 1524, Thomas More decided to move his family from Bucklersbury to a new manor house in Chelsea, just down the river. Margaret and William moved with him. Margaret refused to leave her father’s house and always lived in his home or very nearby until his death.

Also in 1524, Margaret had finished one of her grandest projects as a scholar and an intellectual. She translated the soliloquy on the Lords Prayer called “Precatio dominica”, by the Dutch humanist and great friend of her father’s, Erasmus of Rotterdam. Her aim was to write vivid and readable English prose. The work isn’t an exact word-for –word translation but an attempt to represent Erasmus’s “sense and meaning”. Her book is called “A Devout Treatise upon the Pater Noster, made first in Latin by the most famous doctor Master Erasmus Roterodamus, and turned into English by a young, virtuous and well-learned gentlewoman of xix years of age”. It was published in October 1524. Margaret became the first non-royal woman to publish a book she had translated into English.

In the spring of 1528, there was an outbreak of the dreaded sweating sickness and Margaret fell ill. Her fever was so severe, she fell into a coma. Her father despaired for her life and went to pray. He remembered Galen’s recommendation of a clyster made of oil of violets, leaves of red roses dried in an oven and the yokes of two eggs blended in a thick astringent syrup. The clyster was administered and Margaret recovered.

In 1529, Thomas More was asked by Henry VIII to take the place of the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey and became Lord Chancellor of England. He reluctantly accepted the position. He took his job seriously and had heretics burned at the stake. Margaret supported her father in this. More was also drawn into “The King’s Great Matter” regarding his divorce from Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn. More knew this matter was fraught with peril. In 1531, after years of working behind the scenes to persuade Henry to not divorce Katherine and break with the Catholic Church, he decided he needed to resign. Henry was asking everyone to swear an oath, giving the succession to his children by Anne Boleyn and acknowledging him as Supreme Head of the Church in England. Thomas More agreed to the succession part of the oath but not the part making Henry head of the Church.

In 1534, after years of refusal to take the oath and attempts by officials high and low to prevail in making him swear, Thomas More was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Margaret became his main channel of communication with the outside world. She tricked Thomas Cromwell, the King’s new secretary, into thinking she would persuade him to swear the oath and was given open access to her father. His cell door was unlocked except at night, Margaret could come and go as she pleased and More was allowed to walk in the precincts of the Tower and have books, paper and pens. Margaret smuggled her father’s letters out of the Tower unmolested.

In November of 1534, Parliament was convened to put through the final enactment of the break with the Catholic Church. At this time, Margaret’s privilege of visiting her father was taken away and More was put in solitary confinement. In early 1535, More and Margaret couldn’t meet but did resume their clandestine correspondence. As death loomed for More, he became afraid. Margaret did her best to lift his spirits and reassure him. She wrote a special prayer, which pleased her father greatly. Margaret was granted one last visit with her father on May 4.

Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger from the Metropolitan Museum’s Tudor Exhibition. (Photo copyright: The Freelance History Writer)

On July 1, 1535, Thomas More was tried before eight judges and eleven courtiers for not taking the oath. He argued valiantly and brilliantly but to no avail. He was condemned to death and escorted back to the Tower. He was rowed downstream to about a half mile from his destination and finished his journey on foot. He walked to Tower Wharf and turned right, going towards a small drawbridge to cross and there he spotted Margaret. She forced her way through the soldiers and threw her arms around her father’s neck, kissing him over and over. She couldn’t even speak. He told her to have patience, it was God’s will. The soldier’s ordered her to step aside. More took a step toward the drawbridge and Margaret ran back and kissed him one more time. He released her and walked on, not looking back. It was the last time Margaret saw her father alive.

More was executed on Tower Hill by decapitation on July 6, 1535. More’s head was hoisted on a pike and displayed on London Bridge for one month. Margaret bribed the man who was to throw the head into the river and surreptitiously took the head down and preserved it.

Margaret’s grand plan was to publish all her father’s works but she ran into many obstacles. She was to die unexpectedly in 1544 of unknown causes and was buried in the Roper family tomb with her father’s skull beside her. Margaret’s daughter Mary managed, with the help of others, to have the collected works of Sir Thomas More printed in April of 1557. Margaret’s husband was to write a biography of his father-in-law twenty years after his execution but it wasn’t printed until 1626. It serves as the principle source of information we have on More’s life. Thomas More was canonized on May 19, 1935.

Further reading: “A Daughter’s Love” by John Guy

Link naar artikel

Uit een Brief van de heilige Thomas More aan zijn dochter Margaretha, in de gevangenis geschreven - Niets kan mij treffen, wat God niet wil.

Thomas More

Margareth More (Roper)

Thomas More werd in 1477 geboren en studeerde in Oxford. Uit zijn huwelijk werden drie dochters en een zoon geboren. Hij bekleedde de post van kanselier aan het koninklijk hof. Bekend zijn zijn geschriften die betrekking hebben op het staatsbestuur (Utopia|) en op de verdediging van het katholiek geloof.  Omdat hij zich samen met de eveneens heilige John Fisher tegen Hendrik VIII verzet had inzake de ontbinding van zijn huwelijk, werden beiden op last van de koning onthoofd. John Fisher op 22 juni 1535, Thomas More op 6 juli daaropvolgend. 

(The English Works of Sir Thomas More, Londen 1557, p. 1454)

Met alle hoop en vertrouwen vertrouw ik me geheel aan God toe

Ofschoon ik mij, mijn beste Margaretha, wèl bewust ben dat de slechtheid van mijn voorgaande leven zó is geweest, dat ik volkomen verdien door God te worden verlaten, zal ik toch niet ophouden voortdurend op zijn onmetelijke goedheid te vertrouwen en wel zeer sterk te hopen, dat, zoals tot nu toe zijn allerheiligste genade mij de krachten schonk om alles in de geest gering te schatten, Hij mij ook de goederen, de teruggave van eigendom en het leven zèlf zal schenken, liever dan met een knagend geweten de eed af te leggen; en aan de koning zelf heeft Hij in zijn goedheid ingegeven dat hij mij tot nu toe alleen maar van mijn vrijheid beroofde, waardoor zijne majesteit tenminste zeer zeker in één opzicht de grootste weldaad heeft bewezen aan mij, namelijk vanwege de geestelijke vooruitgang van mijn ziel die ik nu hoop te bereiken, een grotere weldaad dan al die eerbetuigingen en goederen die hij vroeger zo zeer voor mij opstapelde, hetzij God door dezelfde genade ofwel het gemoed van de koning zó zal leiden, dat hij niets zwaarders voor mij bepaalt, òf dat God mij voor altijd die kracht zal geven dat ik de zware dingen, in welke mate die mij ook zullen overkomen, geduldig (sterk en graag) kan dragen.

Wanneer deze dingen door het geduld van mijn kant verbonden zijn met de verdiensten van het zeer bittere lijden van de Heer (dat zeer zeker heel mijn lijdzaamheid in oneindige mate geheel en al terecht te boven gaat), zal Hij de straffen die mij toekomen in het vagevuur milderen, en zal Hij door zijn vrijgevige goddelijke goedheid zelfs iets meer loon in de hemel geven.

De Goedheid van God wantrouwen, mijn beste Margaretha, wil ik niet, hoe gebrekkig en zwak ik me ook voel. Ja, zelfs als ik daarbij schrik en onrust zou bemerken dat ik schijn te zullen vallen, zal ik tòch de heilige Petrus mij voor de geest roepen die bij die ene windvlaag als gevolg van zijn klein geloof begon te zinken en zal ik doen wat hij heeft gedaan. Christus zal ik met aandrang toeroepen: “Heer, red mij!” Want ik vertrouw er op dat Hij zijn hand toesteekt en mij vast zal grijpen en niet zal dulden dat ik onderga.

Ja, als Hij mij nog verder de rol van Petrus toestaat te spelen en mij volkomen op de grond vallen, zweren en vals zweren laat (wat God omwille van zijn barmhartigheid allerverst van mij moge houden en liever voor mij nadeel dan voordeel uit die val zou laten volgen - als het zou gebeuren -) en zèlfs dàn nog vertrouw ik er op dat Hij met ogen vol barmhartigheid op mij zal neerzien zoals Hij genadig neerzag op Petrus en dat Hij mij tenslotte zal oprichten, opdat ik opnieuw de waarheid kan belijden en mijn geweten kan ontlasten; en de straf en de schande van de eerste verloochening zal ik dan moedig dragen.

Tenslotte, mijn Margaretha, weet ik zeer zeker, dat God mij zonder schuld niet in de steek zal laten. Met alle hoop en vertrouwen dus vertrouw ik me geheel aan Hem toe. Als Hij mij vanwege mijn zonden verloren laat gaan, zal zijn rechtvaardigheid tenminste in mij geprezen worden. Toch hoop ik vast en zeker dat zijn allermildste goedheid mijn ziel veilig zal bewaren, en dat Hij maakt dat zijn barmhartigheid eerder dan zijn rechtvaardigheid in mij bevonden wordt.

Heb dus goede moed, mijn dochter, en wees niet in het minst bekommerd om mij, wat mij ook in deze wereld overkomt. Niets kan mij treffen, wat God niet wil. Wat Hij echter wil, hoe slecht het ons ook toeschijnt, is toch werkelijk het beste.

22 June - Saint Thomas More A man for all seasons - complete movie

woensdag 21 juni 2023

Van jezuieten.org H. Aloysius van Gonzaga sj "Hij walgde van het gekonkel en geroddel, de vleierijen en pluimstrijkerijen".

 zie link

Op 21 juni viert de Kerk de heilige Aloysius van Gonzaga sj.

Aloysius stamde uit het Italiaanse adellijke geslacht der Gonzaga’s. Hij werd geboren in 1568, in het kasteel van Castigilioni. Hij kreeg zijn opleiding aan het hof van de De’ Medicis. Voor ons roept dat de oogverblindende rijkdom en schoonheid op van de kunst uit de 16e eeuw. Maar reeds als tienjarig jongetje keek Aloysius dwars door de mooie aankleding en rijke façades heen. Hij walgde van het gekonkel en geroddel, de vleierijen en pluimstrijkerijen. Hij had een haarfijn gevoel voor de opgeschroefde onechtheid; wel ridderlijk opkomen voor Christus en zijn kerk, en het intussen houden met een of meerdere maîtresses. Als hij het onveilige wereldje wilde ontvluchten, trok hij zich terug in de enige plek die veilig was, de kapel. In zijn persoonlijk gebed beloofde hij nooit en te nimmer mee te doen met dat holle vertoon. Door toedoen van kardinaal Carolus Borromeus deed Aloysius op zijn twaalfde zijn Eerste Heilige Communie.

Zo jong als hij was, nam hij zich voor het leven te leiden van een kloosterling, van gebed, vasten en boetepraktijken. Hij verhuisde naar het Spaanse hof in Madrid. Zijn biechtvader daar was een pater jezuïet. Dat wou hij ook.Maar zijn vader was mordicus tegen en stuurde hem in gezelschap van zijn jongere broer Rudolf langs de Italiaanse hoven in de hoop dat die bevlieging wel zou overgaan. Maar daar zag de jongen alleen maar meer van hetzelfde. Uiteindelijk gaf vader met tegenzin toestemming. Zo trad Aloysius in bij de jezuïeten te Rome op 25 november 1585, zeventien jaar oud.

Zijn geestelijk leidsman leerde hem zich te matigen in de strenge religieuze praktijken waaraan hij in de afgelopen jaren zo gewend was geraakt. De jonge novice zei van zichzelf: “Ik ben een stuk kronkelig metaal en ben ingetreden om gladgeschaafd te worden.” Vanaf nu leidde hij het leven van elke jezuïet in het begin van zijn opleiding: hij legde na afloop van het tweejarige noviciaat de drie religieuze geloften af, studeerde filosofie en deed zijn examens. In 1589 werd hij naar zijn ouderlijk huis teruggestuurd om een ruzie bij te leggen tussen zijn vader en zijn broer Rudolf. Daar had hij een flinke tijd voor nodig en pas in mei 1590 keerde hij naar Rome terug.
De pest

In 1591 werd Italië getroffen door de pest. Aloysius ging uit bedelen om aalmoezen in te zamelen. Stuitte hij op straat op een stervende patiënt, dan droeg hij hem in zijn armen naar een hospitaaltje, waste de zieke, gaf hem te eten en deed alles wat nodig was. Zijn overste werd ongerust. Er waren al genoeg jonge jezuïeten in opleiding het slachtoffer geworden van hun heldhaftigheid; ze raakten zelf besmet en stierven meestal niet lang daarna. Aloysius mocht alleen naar het hospitaaltje gaan van Maria van Altijddurende Bijstand. Daar werden geen pestlijders of andere besmettelijke patiënten heengebracht. Aloysius gehoorzaamde. Maar de eerste de beste patiënt die hij er verzorgde, bleek achteraf wel degelijk besmet te zijn. Uiteindelijk bezweek hij aan de gevolgen ervan op 21 juni 1591, drieëntwintig jaar oud.

Op 19 oktober 1605 werd hij door paus Paulus v zalig verklaard. Paus Benedictus xiii verklaarde hem heilig op 31 december 1726 tegelijk met Stanislas Kostka, die in 1568 op achttienjarige leeftijd was gestorven.

Hij is patroon van Mantua; van de (studerende) jeugd; zijn voorspraak wordt ingeroepen tegen oogziekten en de pest; hij is ook patroon van de beroepskeuze. Omdat hij zo zuiver aanvoelde wat echt was en wat niet, zou je hem ook de patroon van de onderscheiding der geesten kunnen noemen.

19 june St. Aloysius Gonzaga - Jesuit Saints

dinsdag 20 juni 2023

Palestrina - Sicut cervus Psalm 42 - with short commentary Saint Augustine - a profound expression of the human soul's yearning for God

Commentary by Saint Augustine

In the timeless words of Psalm 42, "Sicut Cervus," we find a profound expression of the human soul's yearning for God, likened to a deer thirsting for streams of water. As a saint deeply moved by these verses, I offer my humble commentary on this psalm, reflecting on its spiritual significance and the transformative journey it unveils.

The imagery of a deer panting for water represents the soul's intense desire for communion with God. Just as the deer's very survival depends on finding water, our spiritual survival hinges on seeking the living waters of the Divine. The psalmist's longing is an invitation for each one of us to recognize our inherent thirst for God's presence.

Moreover, the psalmist acknowledges the moments of separation from God, as tears become the bread of their soul. We often find ourselves in similar desolate states, experiencing spiritual dryness or feeling distant from the Divine. But amidst this inner turmoil, we must remember that the longing itself is a sign of life—a testament to the soul's innate connection with its Creator.

The psalmist's journey takes a transformative turn as they recall the vibrant memories of communal worship. They remember the joyous processions and the multitude of voices praising God together. These recollections serve as a source of hope and encouragement, reminding us that even in our moments of darkness, communal worship and shared faith can rejuvenate our spirits and reignite our devotion.

The psalmist's resolve to put their hope in God, even amidst anguish and turmoil, provides us with a timeless lesson. In times of adversity, when doubts arise or our thirst feels insurmountable, we must cling to our unwavering trust in God's faithfulness. By fixing our hope on the Divine, we find strength to persevere and discover solace in the midst of life's challenges.

Finally, the psalm concludes with a resounding call to praise. It is a plea for the soul to rise above its circumstances and, like the deer, find satisfaction and fulfillment in God alone. The ultimate purpose of our longing and our journey is to lead us into a state of joyful communion with the Divine. As we respond to this call, our souls are lifted, and our spirits are united with the source of all life and love.

In "Sicut Cervus," we encounter a profound exploration of the human soul's yearning for God and its transformation through trust, hope, and praise. This psalm teaches us that our longing for the Divine is not in vain but rather a profound expression of our spiritual essence. It calls us to persevere in our pursuit, even amidst challenges, knowing that the final destination is communion with the One who satisfies our deepest longings. May we, like the psalmist, embrace this journey and find solace in the ever-flowing streams of God's presence.

zaterdag 17 juni 2023

The Miracle Of Our Lady Of Fátima (1952) - Catholic Film In English complete version

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima is a Warner Color feature film made in 1952. It was promoted as a fact-based treatment of the events surrounding the apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima, in Portugal, in 1917.

It stars Susan Whitney as Lúcia dos Santos, Sherry Jackson as Jacinta Marto and Sammy Ogg as Francisco Marto, with Gilbert Roland as a fictional character named Hugo, a kindly but agnostic friend of the three children, who rediscovered his faith in God through the Miracle of the Sun. The musical score by Max Steiner received an Academy Award nomination. The film was released on DVD on April 4, 2006.

Our Lady of Fátima (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora de Fátima, formally known as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fátima, European Portuguese: [ˈnɔsɐ sɨˈɲɔɾɐ dɨ ˈfatimɐ] Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈnɔsɐ siˈɲɔɾɐ d(ʒ)i ˈfatʃimɐ]), is a Catholic title of Mary, mother of Jesus based on the Marian apparitions reported in 1917 by three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria, in Fátima, Portugal. The three children were Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

Bishop José Alves Correia da Silva declared the events worthy of belief on 13 October 1930.[3] On 13 May 1946, Pope Pius XII granted a canonical coronation to the venerated image enshrined at the Chapel of the Apparitions of Fátima via his apostolic legate, Cardinal Benedetto Aloisi Masella. On 11 November 1954, he raised the Sanctuary of Fátima to the status of a minor basilica by his papal brief Luce superna.

The published memoirs of Lúcia dos Santos in the 1930s revealed two secrets that she claimed came from the Virgin while the third secret was to be revealed by the Catholic Church in 1960. The controversial events at Fátima gained fame due partly to elements of the secrets, prophecy and eschatological revelations allegedly related to the Second World War and possibly more global wars in the future, particularly the Virgin's alleged request for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

IMMACULATE HEART of MARY Explained in 2 Minutes. What is the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

dinsdag 13 juni 2023

13 June - The History of the Only Apparition of St. Anthony of Padua (in Poland)| EWTN

On June 13th, the Church celebrates Saint Anthony of Padua. St. Anthony was a Franciscan friar and a doctor of the Church, who was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. After joining the Franciscan Order, he moved to Padua, Italy, where he worked and died. Though St. Anthony is venerated worldwide, there is only one place where he has appeared. It happened in a tiny village located in Western Poland, called Radecznica. In May 1664, a special event took place in the small village. Szymon the weaver had an apparition from the saint. St. Anthony gave him some messages, one of them was the request of constructing a shrine in a nearby hill. And St. Anthony made a promise that because he appeared near a water source, whoever came to this place and cleaned their wounds or drank the water with faith, would be given graces. The news of the miraculous water spread all over the country and soon after, the Shrine of St. Anthony was erected next to the lake. The fame of the Shrine of St. Anthony eventually reached the Vatican and in 2015, Pope Francis granted it the title of a minor basilica.

The Joy of Adoration by St. Teresa of Calcutta via Archdiocese of San Francisco

Editor’s Note Archdiocese of San Francisco: This reflection on the Eucharist by St. Teresa of Calcutta is one of a series by Catholic authors and saints that will be published by Catholic San Francisco Magazine as part of the U.S. Catholic Church’s Eucharistic Revival (eucharisticrevival.org/) that began June 19, on the feast of Corpus Christi, and continues through Pentecost 2025.

By St. Teresa of Calcutta

The Holy Eucharist is the continuation of Christ’s incarnation on earth. The mystery of the Eucharist gives us the joy of having Christmas every day. When we come to the Blessed Sacrament, we come to Bethlehem, a name which means house of bread.

Jesus chose to be born in Bethlehem because He would dwell with us forever as the “Living Bread” come down from heaven. When the shepherds and Magi came to adore Him, they brought Him so much joy with their humble visit to Bethlehem that their visit has been praised and retold down through the centuries. God has never stopped honoring them for honoring His Son in Bethlehem. So too, your humble visit to Jesus today in the Blessed Sacrament brings Him so much joy that it will be retold for all eternity and bring the world closer to His promise of peace on earth.

We are as privileged in being called to adore Him today as were Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and Magi then, because here, Jesus continues His incarnation on earth. Here, Jesus loses His heart to us in love. Love expresses itself to the object of its affection; the Eucharist is the continual expression of God’s perfect, unselfish love for man. The Word again becomes flesh and dwells among us, veiled under the species of the Sacred Host, where the same Jesus born 2,000 years ago as a little babe in Bethlehem is truly, really, bodily and personally present to us in this Most Blessed Sacrament.

The greatest love story ever told is contained in the Sacred Host. Here, we see His glory in the depth of His humility, for God Who created the whole world and Whom the whole world cannot contain, contains Himself in the Blessed Sacrament for love of us, to be our Good Shepherd who leads us to life-giving waters, to be our Divine Physician who heals the brokenhearted, to be our Divine Companion in our pilgrimage throughout life. Here, you behold His glory IN THE MIRACLE OF HIS LOVE, for He becomes small in the Sacred Host so that He may give Himself to you where “you are filled with the fullness of God.”

Jesus becomes poor in the Blessed Sacrament, “emptying Himself” of His glory and majesty, that He may make you rich with the abundance of His grace, “transforming you from glory to glory” and making your soul everlastingly more beautiful with each Communion and each visit you make to Him in the Blessed Sacrament. “For your sake, He made Himself poor though He was rich, so that you might become rich by His poverty.”

The Eucharist is Divine Love made visible in the Sacred Host! This is why the angels continue to sing to Him here as they did in Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of good will.” COME LET US ADORE HIM for here Jesus continues to come to us “filled with enduring love” as the Word becomes flesh in the Holy Eucharist and makes His dwelling among us. “IT IS HE WHO IS OUR PEACE.” 

Excerpt from “Rosary Meditations from Mother Teresa of Calcutta: Loving Jesus With the Heart of Mary: Eucharistic Meditations on the Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary” Paperback. By V Lucia (Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament, 1984). Copyright, Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament. All rights reserved. Used with permission. To order the book, or for more information on the Holy Eucharist and Adoration, contact: Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament, PO Box 1701, Plattsburgh, NY 12901. www.ACFP2000.com

Eucharistic procession St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney - 2023 - several scenes

dinsdag 6 juni 2023

St. Dorotheus of Gaza - On Self-Accusation | Catholic Culture "Where the Cross is, there the demonic powers do no harm."

Dorotheos of Gaza

St Dorotheus of Gaza
Our venerable and God-bearing Father Dorotheos of Gaza (also Dorotheus or Dorotheos of Egypt) was a sixth-century hermit. He practiced asceticism in the desert of Egypt for 60 years, and became known for his sermons. His feast day is celebrated on September 16 and August 13 in the Greek (and Romanian) tradition.


Dorotheus, an Egyptian hermit, was a native of the Thebaid region in Egypt and labored in asceticism for 60 years in the Skete desert, on the Western side of the River Nile. Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis and author of the renowned Lausiac History, was a disciple of Dorotheus in his youth, and preserved what memories we have of him. According to his work, Dorotheus led an austere and ascetical life. After finishing his prayers, he would venture into the heat of noon and gather stones along the seashore to build cells for the other hermits. By night he would weave baskets, in exchange for which he received the supplies he needed in order to live.

His food consisted of bread and the the grass of the wilderness and would eat only once a day and drank a little water. He barely slept, but only dozed off sometimes at work, or after eating.

Once, St. Dorotheus sent his disciple to fetch water, but he returned saying that he saw a snake in the well and that the water in the well was now poisoned. St. Dorotheus went to the well himself, took up a ladle of water, and making the Sign of the Cross over it he drank it, saying: "Where the Cross is, there the demonic powers do no harm." St. Dorotheus died peacefully at an advanced age.


"What we need is a little labor! Let us endure this labor that we may obtain mercy."