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Ordinary Time: June 20th

Friday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Other Commemorations: St. John Matera, Abbot (RM); Bl. Margareta Ebner, Virgin (RM) ; Other Titles: John Pulsano


June 20, 2014 (Readings on USCCB website)


O God, strength of those who hope in you, graciously hear our pleas, and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing, grant us always the help of your grace, that in following your commands we may please you by our resolve and our deeds. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


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St. Silverius was pope for a very short time in 546-7 A.D. But his brief pontificate made him a martyr for the truth, which he defended at the cost of his life. He died in exile at the isle of Ponza, for refusing the empress Theodora's demand to reinstate the heresiarch Anthimos in the see of Constantinople. His body was brought back to Rome and laid in the Vatican basilica. According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is his feast.

St. John of Matera
St. John was born toward the end of the 11th century at Matera, a town in the Kingdom of Naples. On reaching adulthood, he joined a monastery on the island of Taranto. His single-mindedness in keeping the Rule created problems for the others monks and led John to leave. Seeking a monastery that would fit his makeup, the Saint went to Calabria and then to Sicily. In his quest he returned to the mainland at Ginosa. He rebuilt a church nearby dedicated to St. Peter.

However, John was arrested and imprisoned because there was a belief that he had found and kept hidden treasure. He escaped to Capua and joined the community of St. William of Vercelli. When fire destroyed their dwelling, he journeyed to Bari, where the people were deeply moved by his preaching. A charge of heresy was leveled at the Saint out of jealousy, but he was easily cleared of it. Returning to Ginosa, he was welcomed by his former disciples and preached a successful mission at St. Peter’s Church.

Still following his religious impulse, John went to Mount Gargano and at nearby Pulsano built a monastery. Some sixty monks flocked to his community, and he shepherded them as their Abbot. So well did he do so that he became renowned for his wisdom, miracles, and gift of prophecy. He died on June 20, 1139.
—Excerpted from the Divine Redeemer Sisters

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Bl. Margareta Ebner
Margareta Ebner was a Nun of the Order of Preachers. Bl. Margaret was born in 1291 at Donauworth in Bavaria and made her profession in the Dominican monastery at Maria Medingen in 1306. By her own account, her true conversion to God began in 1311, when she was twenty years old. Shortly thereafter she fell seriously ill and remained bedridden for nearly thirteen years. This life of continual suffering and prayer brought her to the heights of contemplative union with God. She became one of the most prominent of the Rhineland mystics, known and admired by her Dominican brothers, John Tauler and Henry Suso.

Margaret's spirituality as almost entirely Christocentric and was profoundly influenced by the cycle of the liturgical year. One of her favorite invocations (which shows also her sense of Dominican identity) was: "Jesus, pure Truth, teach me the truth." Among her writings are her Spiritual Journal or autobiography, and also a treatise on the Lord's Prayer. She died on June 20, 1351, and she was beatified by Pope John Paul II on February 24, 1979.

Recent years have seen a real surge of interest and publications on Bl. Margaret Ebner and the Rhineland mystics, the most notable being Margaret Ebner: Major Works, edited by Leonard Hindsley (Paulist Press, 1993). Several interesting articles on Margaret and her fellow Rhineland mystics can be found on-line, including "Life in Abundance: Meister Eckhart and the German Dominican Mystics of the the Century: The Importance of Dominican Sisters in German Mysticism" by Gundolf M. Gieraths, O.P. (Spirituality Today, 1986) and "Dominican Spirituality in the Rhineland."
—Excerpted from the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary

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