Prolife Minstry – Hidden treasure of a JY

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The moment I heard about Chiara Corbella and Enrico Petrillo, I was eager to know more about them, especially curious due to a comment – second Gianna Beretta Molla – by His Eminence Cardinal Vallini, the vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome. Why should someone compare ‘Chiara Corbella’ with St. Gianna? What difference Petrillose brought to this world? There was not much internet said about these silent saints. Like a gentle breeze Chiara passed thru our lives, left behind memories of her fragrance of joy, Enrico and Francesco.

It is always joyful to watch wondrous ways of Holy Spirit. Recently I had a chat with one of our young JY and accidentally said that I am in preparation to write about Chiara. He replied, “My daughters name is Chiara.” Chiara is a common name, so I never specifically asked the intention behind that naming. However, few days back I met his family with their baby girl. I asked: “Is this Chiara?” He said: “No, she is Gianna, Chiara is elder daughter”. Without much explanation, it is revealed to me that both names perfectly displays that family’s missionary intentions. They are inclined towards the pro-life values which The Movement holds tight to her core. For me, that incident was a confirmation from Holy Spirit to write about Chiara and Enrico.

Chiara’s and Enrico’s inspiring, joyful life lead me to think about large families who stood and took their daily cross, for the cause of pro-life ministry, within Jesus Youth Movement. Do we remember them? Do our youngsters understand that there is a cause to stand for life. Do they understand human in any form is precious? As Enrico reflects – “We are born into eternity, and we shall never die.”

I am sure we have similar lives within our JY communities. However, they are hidden somewhere deep as treasures, waiting for seekers footfalls.

I pray that Chiara’s and Enrico’s life be a light in the path of young couples who are married or who are engaged. Especially to understand from their life that – Choosing marriage, like consecrating oneself to religious life, also requires a vocation. It is more than simply a natural inclination; it is necessary to respond to a special call from God. But to what does God call us? What does He ask us to do? Marriage can make saints. To understand that a gift from God is a gift from God at any given situation, in any given form. Amen!

Chiara Corbella met Enrico Petrillo during a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in the year of 2002. She was 18 and He was 23. She was talented in drawing and in music. So was Enrico, he wrote and composed songs. They decided to get to know each other. The relationship did not go smoothly. There were painful breakups, they quarreled very often. Much of the incidents were either resolved by the interventions of their spiritual director or by their own pilgrimages and prayers.

In 2003, during the Franciscan march and during adoration of the Cross on Good Friday it became clearer for them, that there is no time to loose to get married. Soon they became parents of little Maria Grazia Letizia. Initial checkups during pregnancy period revealed that Maria has serious malformation-anencephaly, and doctors advised them for an abortion. It is waste of time carrying this baby for whole nine months. However Chiara and Enrico, decided to accept Maria, they went thru all sufferings of the pregnancy, still knowing that Maria will not live. They believed, even with malformation life of Maria Grazia Letizia is an authentic gift from God!

Maria Grazia Letizia was born alive, lived for 40 minutes. During this period she got blessing of her grand parents and friends, she was baptized and was born again in Heaven. Their second baby David Giovanni had a different malformation, now the public is complaining that parents are sinners, that is why they are having these type of babies. Still they took their crosses, accompanied David in his life time (he lived for 30 minutes after birth) and during his way to Heaven.

Their third child, Francesco was healthy baby. Again, his parents accompanied him the same way they accompanied his sister Maria and brother David. However, Chiara was recognized with terminal cancer. Doctors advised to start cancer therapy immediately, but pregnant Chiara did not wanted to do anything, that harms Francesco who is still growing healthy in Chiara. She refused any treatment on her until Francesco is born.

After Francesco’s birth doctors started cancer treatments, however it was too late to save Chiara. Year of 2012 Chiara died, saving life of her baby Francesco. What challenges us always is Chiara and Enrico’s joyful life even during their sufferings and their total submission to providence of God. They found, in any given situation there is no reason to be sad!

Chiara and Enrico’s life shows us for what a Christian family should stand for. They proved with their life, shorter or longer life is always precious and it is OK to die for another life!


For further reading on Chiara and Enrico refer the book:
chiarabook
https://www.sophiainstitute.com/products/item/Chiara-Corbella-Petrillo?utm_source=CEArticle&utm_medium=TurleyChiara091615&utm_campaign=TurleyChiara091615

Chiara’s testimony with English subtitle :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbHpCJ8AfUY
Chiara’s testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZX-gFbtC2dU
Enrico’s testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r1xVmYo_ME
Chiara Corbella Website

Christian Mysticism

Altar boys arrive in procession during a mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI to commemorate cardinals and bishops who died this year, at the Vatican

The core of the Catholic Spirituality is ‘Christian Mysticism’ – Our secret paths of growth in God.

As a Jesus Youth, our pillars should fine tune us towards Christian Mysticism. But have to fight the emotions and temptations of flesh which will emphasize our self-importance. We are not important! Growth of Christ within us is important!

Remember, Kingdom of God is never spoon fed to anyone. Knowledge about the kingdom of God can be obtained from The Texts. But its existence cannot be experienced from texts. Its existence is revealed only to its ‘seekers’. So seek for that revelation in your life!

The truth is not what you see in this world. The truth is what is revealed to you. How much is it revealed to you? Let us reflect about it in this Lent season. God bless!

ASH WEDNESDAY

Ashes

Q: What is Ash Wednesday?

A: Ash Wednesday is the day Lent begins. It occurs forty days before Good Friday.

Q: Is Ash Wednesday based on a pagan festival?

A: Heck, no. Ash Wednesday originated in the A.D. 900s, long after Europe had been Christianized and the pagan cults stamped out.

Q: Why is it called Ash Wednesday?

A: Actually, Ash Wednesday is its colloquial name. Its official name is the Day of Ashes. It is called Ash <Wednesday> because, being forty days before Good Friday, it always falls on a Wednesday and it is called <Ash> Wednesday because on that day at church the faithful have their foreheads marked with ashes in the shape of a cross.

Q: Why do they have their foreheads marked with a cross?

A: Because in the Bible a mark on the forehead is a symbol of a person’s ownership. By having their foreheads marked with the sign of a cross, this symbolizes that the person belongs to Jesus Christ, who died on a Cross.

This is in imitation of the spiritual mark or seal that is put on a Christian in baptism, when he is delivered from slavery to sin and the devil and made a slave of righteousness and Christ (Rom. 6:3-18).

It is also in imitation of the way the righteousness are described in the book of Revelation, where we read of the servants of God (the Christian faithful, as symbolized by the 144,000 male virgins):

“Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.”(Revelation 7:3)

“[The demon locust] were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads”(Revelation 9:4)

“Then I looked, and lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”(Revelation 14:1)

This is in contrast to the followers of the beast, who have the number 666 on their foreheads or hands.

The reference to the sealing of the servants of God for their protection in Revelation is an allusion to a parallel passage in Ezekiel, where Ezekiel also sees a sealing of the servants of God for their protection:

“And the LORD said to him [one of the four cherubim], ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark [literally,”a <tav”>] upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.’ And to the others he said in my hearing, ‘Pass through the city after him, and smite; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity; slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one upon whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.’ So they began with the elders who were before the house.”(Ezekiel 9:4-6)

Unfortunately, like most modern translations, the one quoted above (the Revised Standard Version, which we have been quoting thus far), is not sufficiently literal. What it actually says is to place a <tav> on the foreheads of the righteous inhabitants of Jerusalem. <Tav> is one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and in ancient script it looked like the Greek letter <chi>, which happens to be two <crossed> lines (like an “x”) and which happens to be the first letter in the word “Christ” in Greek <(christos).> The Jewish rabbis commented on the connection between <tav> and <chi> and this is undoubtedly the mark Revelation has in mind when the servants of God are sealed in it.

The early Church Fathers seized on this <tav-chi->cross-<christos> connection and expounded it in their homilies, seeing in Ezekiel a prophetic foreshadowing of the sealing of Christians as servants of Christ. It is also part of the background to the Catholic practice of making the sign of the cross, which in the early centuries (as can be documented from the second century on) was practiced by using one’s thumb to furrow one’s brow with a small sign of the cross, like Catholic do today at the reading of the Gospel during Mass.

Q: Why is the signing done with ashes?

A: Because ashes are a biblical symbol of mourning and penance. In Bible times the custom was to fast, wear sackcloth, sit in dust and ashes, and put dust and ashes on one’s head. While we no longer normally wear sackcloth or sit in dust and ashes, the customs of fasting and putting ashes on one’s forehead as a sign of mourning and penance have survived to this day. These are two of the key distinctives of Lent. In fact, Ash Wednesday is a day not only for putting ashes on one’s head, but also a day of fasting (see below).

Q: What are some biblical examples of people putting dust and ashes on their foreheads?

A: Consider the following verses from the New International Version:

“That same day a Benjamite ran from the battle line and went to Shiloh, his clothes torn and dust on his head.”(1 Samuel 4:12)

“On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and with dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.”(2 Samuel 1:20

“Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.”(2 Samuel 13:19)

“When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head.”(2 Samuel 15:32)

Q: Is there another significance to the ashes?

A: Yes. They also symbolize death and so remind us of our mortality. Thus when the priest uses his thumb to sign one of the faithful with the ashes, he says, “Remember, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return, “which is modeled after God’s address to Adam (Genesis 3:19; cf. Job 34:15, Psalms 90:3, 104:29, Ecclesiastes 3:20). This also echoes the words at a burial, “Ashes to ashes; dust to dust, “which is based on God’s words to Adam in Genesis 3 and Abraham’s confession, “I am nothing but dust and ashes”(Genesis 18:27). It is thus a reminder of our mortality and our need to repent before this life is over and we face our Judge.

Q: Where do the ashes used on Ash Wednesday come from?

A: They are made by burning palm fronds which have been saved from the previous year’s Palm Sunday, they are then blessed by a priest—blessed ashes having been used in God’s rituals since the time of Moses (Numbers 19:9-10, 17).

Q: Why are ashes from the previous year’s Palm Sunday used?

A: Because Palm Sunday was when the people rejoiced at Jesus’ triumphal entrance to Jerusalem. They celebrated his arrival by waving palm fronds, little realizing that he was coming to die for their sins. By using palms from Palm Sunday, it is a reminder that we must not only rejoice of Jesus’ coming but also regret the fact that our sins made it necessary for him to die for us in order to save us from hell.

Q: Is having one’s forehead signed with ashes required of the faithful?

A: No, it is not required. However, it is to be strongly encouraged as it is a fitting and visible spiritual reminder that encourages one to adopt an attitude of prayer, repentance, and humility. As James said: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”(James 4:10).

Q: Is Ash Wednesday a holy day of obligation, that is, a day on which we are required to go to Mass?

A: No, it is not a holy day of obligation. However, it is strongly advisable since it is fitting to mark the beginning of penitential season of Lent by going to Mass. The formal, corporate worship of God is a good way to get a good start to the season. Also, even though it is not a holy day of obligation, it is a day of fast and abstinence.

Q: Why isn’t Ash Wednesday a holy day of obligation?

A: Holy days of obligation are either commemorations of particular events (such as the birth of Christ or the presentation of Jesus in the Temple), particular people (such as Jesus’ earthly father, St. Joseph), or important theological concepts (such as the Kingship of Christ). Ash Wednesday does not commemorate any event (nothing special happened forty days before the crucifixion—at least not that we know of), and could only be said to indirectly commemorate a Person (Christ) since it is the beginning of preparation for the greater celebrations of Christ’s saving work, which follow, and although Ash Wednesday is a day of penance (like all of the days of Lent except Sundays, which are feast days no matter when they occur in the liturgical calendar since they celebrate Christ’s resurrection), the Church has never chosen to make it or any other specific day the definitive commemoration of the concept of repentance.

Reference: EWTN, James Akin

Isn’t Christmas on December 25th a continuation of the pagan holiday?

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December 25th was indeed a pagan holiday. In ancient ages many new converts yielded to temptation to keep that feast. It seems that Christian leaders endeavored to counteract that practice by giving believers a Christian festival on the same day, celebrating the birth of Christ. Some churches in our day conduct special banquets or other attractions for their high school seniors on the night of the senior prom for much the same motive. Certainly the celebration of Christmas is not a continuation of the pagan holiday. It is a unique Christian observance hailing the birth of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, December 25 is especially fitting in that it comes four days after the winter solstice. As the days grow longer with more light, Christians rejoice in the hope of the world in the birth of him who called himself the Light of the World. G. H. Montgomery wrote, “Church leaders saw in the birth of Jesus a triumph of light over darkness, spring over winter and of life over death. What more appropriate time could have been selected to commemorate the birth of the Man whose life, teachings and vicarious death were to change the trends of history, cause light to shine out of darkness and offer light to those who dwell in the valley of death! It will be good to keep these things in mind as you observe Christmas.”

God isn’t against Christmas. God is in favor of Christmas—of the proper observance of the holiday, that is. God planned and executed the first Christmas. No matter how flagrantly men may abuse this holiday, they cannot rob devout believers of its wonder and glory as expressed by the angel of old, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10, 11).

Ref# Raymond L. Cox., Answers In Action.

December 25th is the wrong date for Christmas.

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Probably it is. There is one chance in 365 (or 366 if Jesus was born, as some suppose, in a leap year) that the date is correct. But because we do not know the date, must we ignore Christ’s birth? We don’t know for sure in what year Jesus came. Yet we mark our calendars according to anno domini (AD). We do know for sure that Jesus was not born in the year one of the Christian era, for Herod the Great died in what we call 4 BC! Shall we junk our calendars and stop keeping track of dates just because the year marked AD is incorrect?

Jesus’ birth probably did not take place in December. But those who insist it could not have taken place in December go too far. They argue that shepherds could not have been in their fields as it was the height of the rainy season. However, weather is a variable quantity and the Palestinian climate is quite mild. The particular December—if it was December—could have been a warm, rather dry, month. But what if Jesus was born instead in January, March, April or October, as has been suggested? Would that make God object to the observance on December 25?

Secular events are sometimes observed on dates different from their occurrences. England’s late King George VI annually proclaimed a date in June for the celebration of his birthday, but he was born on December 14th. His people did not rebel, because they celebrated his birth and not just its date!

Ref# Raymond L. Cox, Answers In Action

Is God against Christmas?

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What’s wrong with the use of the word Christmas?

The ecumenical atmosphere which seems prevalent in many religious circles today tends to muffle this objection, but it will be heard this year and next and probably for a long time to come. The objection to the name pertains to its derivation. Christmas is obnoxious to some because it represents the combination of two words, “Christ” and “mass.” The word means “the mass of Christ.”

But what does “mass” really mean in the compound word Christmas? Any authoritative dictionary will reveal that the English term mass evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word maesse, which derived in turn from the Latin missa, which is a form of the verb mittere, which means “to send.”

Consequently, the root meaning of Christ-mass is “to send Christ,” or “Christ is sent.”

Is God against describing the coming of His son with a word meaning “Christ is sent”? Did not Paul refer to Immanuel’s incarnation as the sending of Christ? “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4). Moreover, the Savior spoke often of “him who sent me.” There is nothing inherently obnoxious in the name Christmas. The term accurately represents what the holiday is all about or should be—the sending of Christ.

Ref# Raymond L. Cox.

THE NATIVITY

Thphoto0344e tradition of having a nativity scene or “crèche” was made popular by St. Francis of Assisi. It is a reproduction of the cave in Bethlehem with Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus in a manger, shepherds, angels, and animals. Each night during Advent, children are encouraged to place in the manger one piece of straw for each good deed done that day by a family member. This Advent tradition combines the spirit of conversion and the coming of Jesus. There is a blessing ceremony provided by the Church in the Book of Blessings for the crèche.

Ref# Fr. Hal Stockert, Fishnet
Ref# EWTN