11/18 Dedication of the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul

We owe to the Holy Apostles the priceless treasure of the Christian faith.  They handed Chris’s teachings down to us.  From them, we recede the Holy Gospel and the letters of the Apostles.  They laid a firm foundation for the Church of Christ.

Both Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul are distinguished for this character, their zealous apostolic labors and their great cult in the Holy Church.

The Basilica of St. Peter on the Vatican and that of St. Paul outside the Walls were consecrated by St. Slyvester on November 18th.

The Basilica of St. Peter’s was completely rebuilt in the 16th century when it was falling into decay.  Julius II and Leo X had recourse to the greatest artists of the age, Bramante and Michael Angelo.  Urban VIII consecrated this church, the vastest and richest in the world, on November 18, 1626.

The Basilica of St. Paul, on the Ostian Way, was nearly completely destroyed by fire in 1823.  The church was rebuilt with unheard of magnificence by Gregory XVI and Pius IX, and consecrated by the latter on December 10, 1854, two days after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

St. Peter’s stature located at St. Peter’s in Rome
(Note St. Peter’s right foot is warn down from all the years of pilgrim veneration)

Our Lord Jesus Christ, having great plans for St. Peter at the beginning of his calling, changed the name Simon to the symbolic name of Peter-Cephas, which means rock, for he was to be the rock that will form the foundation of His Church.  St. Peter was closely associated with Christ during His public life:  He witnessed the glory of Christ on Mt. Tabor; in the name of all the Apostles, he professed the Divinity of Christ; he was sent with St. John to prepare the Paschal Supper; He witnessed Christ’s agony in the Garden of Olives; the temple tax was paid by Christ for Himself and for Peter.

After the Ascension of Christ, St. Peter became the head of the Apostles and the leader of the first Christian community in Jerusalem.  Under his leadership, a new Apostle was elected to take the place of Judas.   Peter convoked the first church Council in Jerusalem.   St. John Chrysostom calls Peter “the firstborn lamb from the flock of the Good Sheperd.”

The love of Christ was the chief motive of St. Peter’s apostolic activity, labors and sacrifices.  That love finally led him to suffer and die for the sake of his beloved Teacher.  A pious tradition relates that he considered himself unworthy to die on the cross as Christ did, and therefore asked to be crucified upside down.  This tradition is confirmed by Bishop Eusebius (+340) in his History of the Church, and by St. John Chrysostom in a sermon on the Apostles SS. Peter and Paul, in which he says:  “Rejoice, Peter, who dies on the cross head downward.”  St. Peter died in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero (54-58), between the years of 64-67 A.D.

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Statue of Saint Paul
by Giuseppe De Fabris 1840
in front of the St. Peters Basilica

St. Paul did not belong to the original group of the twelve apostles, but through his apostolic labors, his dedication, his superhuman sacrifices, and his sufferings in the service of Christ, he receive the title, along with Peter, of the First Apostle.  He is the only one of the Apostles who was highly educated and was by birth a Roman citizen.  While Paul was on his way to Damascus, Christ Himself converted him in a miraculous manner and called him to be an Apostle.  After his conversion from being a persecutor of Christians, he became, in heart and soul, a zealous and courageous apostle of Christ.

“Paul was a wolf,” says St. Chrysostom, “But he became a lamb.  He was a thorn, but he became a fruitful vine.  From an enemy, he became a friend; from a weed, he became wholesome bread . . . The blasphemer became a theologian; the persecutor, a herald of good news; the tormentor – a leader; the traitor – a fellow-champioin.”  (On the Holy Twelve Apostles)

In his apostolic work, St. Paul distinguished himself as a man of uncompromising character, remarkable strength of will and fervent spirit.  For many years, he fearlessly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ day and night.  His unlimited love for Christ knew no obstacle, recognized no difficulties, and placed no limit to sacrifice.  His love impelled him to undertake great missionary journeys and to establish new Churches; he was always ready to suffer and die for Christ.

The apostle of the Gentiles was not only an excellent preacher and a good organizer, but also an eminent theologian and writer.  From him we have fourteen letters addressed to various Churches or persons in which he clearly expounds the teachings of Christ.  St. Paul gave up his life for Christ in 65 or 67 A.D.

11/11 By going out of the Divine Will, one loses the knowledge of God and of self.

Book of Heaven 
11/11/00 – Vol. 4

It seems that the blessed Lord wants to exercise me in patience; He has no compassion, either for my tears or for my most sorrowful state. Without Him, I see myself immersed in the greatest miseries; I believe that there is no soul more wicked than mine. Even though when I am with Jesus I see myself cattiva [bad] more than ever, however, since I am with Him who possesses all goods, my soul finds the remedy for all evils. But when I do not have Him, everything is over for me – there is no more remedy for my great miseries; and what is more, I am oppressed by the thought that my state is no longer His Will, and not being in His Will, I seem to be outside of the center, and many times I think of how to go out of It.

Now, being with these dispositions, I felt Him behind my shoulders, saying to me: “You are tired, aren’t you?” And I: ‘Yes Lord, I feel quite tired.’ And He continued: “Ah, my daughter, do not go out of my Will, because by going out of my Will, you come to lose the knowledge of Me, and not knowing Me, you come to lose the knowledge of yourself. In fact, only in the reflections of the light can one distinguish with clarity whether there is gold or mud; if everything is darkness objects can easily be confused. Now, the light is my Will, which gives you the knowledge of Me, and in the reflections of this light you come to know who you are; and in seeing your weakness, your pure nothingness, you cling to my arms and, united with my Will, you live with Me in Heaven. But if you want to go out of my Will, first you would come to lose true humility, and then you would come to live on the earth and would be forced to feel the earthly weight, to moan and sigh like all the other unfortunate who live outside of my Will.” Having said this, He withdrew without even letting Himself be seen. Who can say the torment of my soul?

11/10 Effects of meditating continuously on the Passion.

Book of Heaven
11/9/06 – Vol. 7

Finding myself in my usual state, I was thinking about the Passion of Our Lord; and while I was doing this, He came and told me: “My daughter, one who meditates continuously on my Passion and feels sorrow for it and compassion for Me, pleases Me so much that I feel as though comforted for all that I suffered in the course of my Passion; and by always meditating on it, the soul arrives at preparing a continuous food. In this food there are many different spices and flavors, which form different effects. So, if in the course of my Passion they gave Me ropes and chains to tie Me, the soul releases Me and gives Me freedom. They despised Me, spat on Me, and dishonored Me; she appreciates Me, cleans Me of that spittle, and honors Me. They stripped Me and scourged Me; she heals Me and clothes Me. They crowned Me with thorns, mocking Me as king, embittered my mouth with bile, and crucified Me; while the soul, meditating on all my pains, crowns Me with glory and honors Me as her king, fills my mouth with sweetness, giving Me the most delicious food, which is the memory of my own works; and unnailing Me from the Cross, she makes Me rise again in her heart. And every time she does so, I give her a new life of grace as recompense. She is my food, and I become her continuous food. So, the thing that pleases Me the most is meditating continuously on my Passion.”

11/9 Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Basilica of St. John Lateran tourism destinations

Interior Lateran Basilica

The pavement of the basilica dates from Martin V and the return of the popes to Rome from Avignon. Martin V was of the Colonna family, and the columns are their badge. The high altar, which formerly occupied the position customary in all ancient basilicas, in the centre of the chord of the apse, has now beyond it, owing to the successive enlargements of the church, the whole of the transverse nave and of the new choir. It has no saint buried beneath it, since it was not, as were almost all the other great churches of Rome, erected over the tomb of a martyr. It stands alone among all the altars of the Catholic world in being of wood and not of stone, and enclosing no relics of any kind. The reason for this peculiarity is that it is itself a relic of a most interesting kind, being the actual wooden altar upon which St. Peter is believed to have celebrated Mass during his residence in Rome. It was carefully preserved through all the years of persecution, and was brought by Constantine and Sylvester from St. Pudentiana’s, where it had been kept till then, to become the principal altar of the cathedral church of Rome. It is now, of course, enclosed in a larger altar of stone and cased with marble, but the original wood can still be seen. A small portion was left at St. Pudentiana’s in memory of its long connection with that church, and is still preserved there. Above the High Altar is the canopy or baldacchino already mentioned, a Gothic structure resting on four marble columns, and decorated with paintings by Barna of Siena. In the upper part of the baldacchino are preserved the heads of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the great treasure of the basilica, which until this shrine was prepared to receive them had always been kept in the “Sancta Sanctorum”, the private chapel of the Lateran Palace adjoining. Behind the apse there formerly extended the “Leonine” portico; it is not known which pontiff gave it this name. At the entrance there was an inscription commemorating the dream of Innocent III, when he saw the church of the Lateran upheld by St. Francis of Assisi. On the opposite wall was hung the tabula magna, or catalogue of all the relics of the basilica, and also of the different chapels and the indulgences attached to them respectively. It is now in the archives of the basilica.

(Excerpt from Catholic Encyclopedia)

11/8 Eve of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

S_Lateran Basilica

St. John Lateran Basilica

This is the oldest, and ranks first among the four great “patriarchal” basilicas of Rome. The site was, in ancient times, occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani. A member of this family, P. Sextius Lateranus, was the first plebian to attain the rank of consul. In the time of Nero, another member of the family, Plautius Lateranus, at the time consul designatus was accused of conspiracy against the emperor, and his goods were confiscated. Juvenal mentions the palace, and speaks of it as being of some magnificence, “regiæ ædes Lateranorum”. Some few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large hall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the eighteenth century within the basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was then discovered of real value or importance. The palace came eventually into the hands of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, through his wife Fausta, and it is from her that it derived the name by which it was then sometimes called, “Domus Faustæ”. Constantine must have given it to the Church in the time of Miltiades, not later than about 311, for we find a council against the Donatists meeting within its walls as early as 313. From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome. The latter distinction it still holds, though it has long lost the former. Hence the proud title which may be read upon its walls, that it is “Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput”.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

11/7 How all the Truths written about the Divine Will will form the Day for those who will Live in It.

Book of Heaven
11/7/37 – Vol. 35

I felt my poor mind as though crowded by so many Truths that Jesus made me write about the Divine Will; and I was thinking to myself:  “Who knows when these Truths on the Divine Fiat will come to Light, and what Good they will produce?” 

My sweet Jesus, surprising me with His little visit, all Goodness and Tenderness told me:  “My daughter, I too feel the Love-need of making you see the Order that these Truths will have and the Good they will produce.

“These Truths on My Divine Will will form the Day of My Fiat in the midst of the creatures.  According to their knowledge, this day will be rising.  So, as they begin to know the first Truths that I have Manifested to you, a Most Splendid Dawn will arise—provided that they will have good will and the disposition to make their own life of these Truths.  However, these Truths will also have the virtue of disposing the creatures, and of giving the Light to many blind who don’t know My Will or love It.

“Then, once the Dawn is risen, they will feel invested by a Celestial Peace, and more strengthened in the Good.  They, themselves, will yearn to know more Truths, which will form the beginning of the Day of My Divine Will.  This beginning of the Day will increase the Light and the Love; all things will turn into Good for the creatures; passions will lose the power to make them fall into sin.  One can say that they will feel the first Order of the Divine Good, which will facilitate their actions for them.  They will feel a Strength with which they can do everything, since its Primary Virtue is exactly this:  to inject in the soul a Transformation of her nature in Good.  So, feeling the Great Good of the beginning of the Day, they will long for the Day to advance.  They will then know more Truths that will form the Full Day.

“In this Full Day they will vividly feel the Life of My Will within themselves—Its Joy and Happiness, Its Operative and Creative Virtue within them.  They will feel the possession of My very Life, becoming the bearers of My Divine Will.  The Full Day will provoke in them so much yearning to know more Truths that, once known, they will form the Full Afternoon.  In this, the creature will no longer feel alone:  between her and My Will there will be no more separation.  What My Will will do, she will do as well—Operating together.  All will be her own by right—Heaven, earth, and God Himself.

“Do you see then, how noble, Divine and precious will be the scope of these Truths that I made you write on My Divine Will in order to form the Day of the creature?  For some they will form the Dawn; for some the beginning of the Day; for some others the Full Day and, lastly, the Full Afternoon.  These Truths will form, according to their knowledge, the different categories of the souls who will Live in My Will.  One Knowledge more, or one less, will make them rise or stay in the different categories. Knowledge will be the hand to boost them up to the higher categories—it will be the very Life of the Fullness of My Will within them.  Therefore, I can say that with these Truths I formed the Day for whoever wants to Live in My Divine Will—a Day of Heaven, greater than Creation itself; not of sun or stars, because each Truth has the Virtue of Creating Our Life in the creature.  O, how this surpasses the whole of Creation!  Our Love surpassed everything in Manifesting so many Truths on My Divine Will.  Our Glory, on the part of the creatures, will be Full, because they will possess Our Life to Glorify Us and to Love Us.

“As far as the emerging of these Truths goes, just as I had the Power and the Love to assist the one to whom I had to Manifest Them, in the same way I will have Power and Love to Invest the creatures, and Transform them into these very Truths.  And feeling Their Life, they will also feel a great need to give to the Light what They feel within Themselves.  Therefore, don’t get worried.  I, who can do all, will do all and take care of all.” . . .

11/6 The good that the Hours of the Passion produce for Jesus and for the soul who does them.

 

Jesus’ voice led the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta to detachment from herself and from everyone. At about eighteen, from the balcony of her house in Via Nazario Sauro, she had a vision of Jesus suffering under the weight of the Cross, who raised his eyes to her saying: O soul, help Me! From that moment an insatiable longing to suffer for Jesus and for the salvation of souls was enkindled in Luisa.  

 Balcony of Luisa’s home at Via Nazario Sauro
now named Via Luisa Piccarreta
The Pious Association Luisa Piccarreta
is now located in Luisa’s former home on Via Luisa Piccarreta

***

Book of Heaven
11/6/14 – Vol. 11

The good that the Hours of the Passion produce for Jesus and for the soul who does them.

As I continued the usual Hours of the Passion, my adorable Jesus told me: “My daughter, the world is in continuous act of renewing my Passion; and since my Immensity envelopes everything, inside and outside the creatures, I am forced to receive from their contact nails, thorns, scourges, scorns, spits and all the rest which I suffered in the Passion – and still more. Now, at the contact with souls who do these Hours of my Passion I feel the nails being removed, the thorns shattered, the wounds soothed, the spits taken away. I feel compensated by good for the evil that others do to Me. Feeling that their contact does not do harm to Me, but good, I lean more and more on them.”

Furthermore, returning to speak about these Hours of the Passion, blessed Jesus said: “My daughter, know that by doing these Hours the soul takes my thoughts and makes them her own; she takes my reparations, my prayers, desires, affections, and even my most intimate fibers and makes them her own. So, rising up between Heaven and earth, she does my same office, and as co-redemptrix, she says to Me: ‘Ecce ego, mitte me [Here I am, send me]. I want to repair for all, answer to You for all, and plead good for all.’”