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GREGORY VII., by name Hildebrand, was born in Tuscany, about the year 1013. He was educated in Rome. From thence he went to France, and became a monk at Cluny. Afterwards he returned to Rome, and for many years filled high trusts of the Holy See. Three great evils then afflicted the Church: simony, concubinage, and the custom of receiving investiture from lay hands. Against these three corruptions Gregory never ceased to contend. As legate of Victor II. he held a Council at Lyons, where simony was condemned. He was elected Pope in 1073, and at once called upon the pastors of the Catholic world to lay down their lives rather than betray the laws of God to the will of princes. Rome was in rebellion through the ambition of the Cenci. Gregory excommunicated them. They laid hands on him at Christmas during the midnight Mass, wounded him, and cast him into prison. The following day he was rescued by the people. Next arose his conflict with Henry IV., Emperor of Germany. This monarch, after openly relapsing into simony, pretended to depose the Pope. Gregory excommunicated the emperor. His subjects turned against him, and at last he sought absolution of Gregory at Canossa. But he did not persevere. He set up an antipope, and besieged Gregory in the castle of St. Angelo. The aged pontiff was obliged to flee, and on May 25, 1085, about the seventy-second year of his life and the twelfth year of his pontificate, Gregory entered into his rest. His last words were full of a divine wisdom and patience. As he was dying, he said, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile." His faithful attendant answered, "Vicar of Christ, an exile thou canst never be, for to thee God has given the Gentiles for an inheritance, and the uttermost ends of the earth for thy possession."
Reflection. —Eight hundred years are passed since St. Gregory died, and we see the same conflict renewed before our eyes. Let us learn from him to suffer any persecution from the world or the state, rather than betray the rights of the Holy See.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven? Alleluia; He shall so come as you have seen Him going up into heaven, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 46, 2. O clap your hands, all ye nations; shout unto God with the voice of joy. Glory be …
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that, believing Thine only-begotten, our Redeemer, to have ascended to heaven on this day, we, too, may spiritually dwell in heavenly places. Through the same.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.
[The ascension of Christ. Matthias is chosen in place of Judas.]
The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.
They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments.
Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 46, 6. God hath ascended in jubilation, and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet. Alleluia. Ps. 67, 18, 19. The Lord is in Sina, in His holy place; ascending on high, He hath led captivity captive. Alleluia.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Mark.
[Christ's resurrection and ascension.]
At that time, Jesus At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.
God is ascended in jubilee, and the Lord with the sound of trumpet. Alleluia.
Receive, O Lord, the offering which we bring for the glorious ascension of Thy Son, and grant in Thy mercy that we may be delivered from present dangers and may attain unto life everlasting. Through our Lord.
Sing ye to the Lord, Who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the east. Alleluia.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty and merciful God, that what we have received in visible mysteries, we may also obtain in their invisible effect. Through our Lord.