“We ought to pray and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more we are lacking in wisdom, weak in strength, burdened with trouble, prone to sin, the more we should turn to Him, Who is the never-ceasing Fount of Light, Strength, Consolation and Holiness.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
Thought for the Day – 25 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Living in the Presence of God
“The masters of the spiritual life advise us to the best way to cultivate an awareness of the presence of God (Cf St Alphonsus Liguori, Al Divino Servizio, III, 3). This may be done by employing the intellect to form the concept of God’s nearness and by using the will, to offer to Him, ourselves and everything around us, with acts of humility, adoration and love. The intellect, enlightened by faith, tells us that God is everywhere, “Do not I fill heaven and earth? said the Lord” (er 23:24). We should see Him in all His creations which reflect His eternal glory. “Learn to love the Creator in the creature” says St Augustine, “so that you may not become attached to created things and so lose Him by Whom, you yourself were created” (In Px 18).
When we wish to revive, in our minds, a sense of the presence of God, we should not picture Him as a distant Being but, as our own God, Who condescended to dwell within us. We should then listen to His inspirations and humbly venerate His Divine Majesty, which resides in our souls. “Do you not know,” says St Paul, “that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16). God is everywhere but He dwells in a special manner, in our souls. It is difficult for us, however, to live with our minds constantly concentrated on Him. If we were able to do so, this would be an anticipation of the happiness of the Blessed in Heaven. But, we should have a habitual intention, which we should renew as often as possible, of living in the presence of God and of offering Him all our desires and actions. Then, our whole life will be a continual prayer of great value in the sight of God.
My loving Mother Mary, you lived both physically and spiritually, permanently in God’s presence, help me to live as you did. Help me to consciously remember the Divine presence in my soul and offer Him all that I am and do. Help me to love our good God, more and more. Amen.”
Quote/s of the Day – 25 May – St Madeleine Sophie Barat RSCJ (1779-1865) Virgin, Religious, Foundress of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
“Our Lord, Who saved the world, through the Cross, will only Work for the good of souls, through the Cross.”
“God does not ask of us, the perfection of tomorrow, nor even of tonight but only, of the present moment. ”
“More is gained by indulgence, than by severity.”
“Let us leave acts, not words. No-one will have time to read us.”
“Give only good example, to the children; never correct them, when out of humour or impatient. We must win them by an appeal to their piety and to their hearts. Soften your reprimands with kind words; encourage and reward them. That is, in short, our way of educating.”
One Minute Reflection – 25 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and the Memorial of St Pope Gregory VII (1015-1085) – 1 Peter 5:1-4; 5:10-11., Matthew 16:13-19
“Upon this rock I will build my church” – Matthew 16:18
REFLECTION – “Peter was to receive on deposit, the keys of the Church, or rather the keys of Heaven and, he should see himself entrusted with the numerous people. What did the Lord actually say to him? “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:19). For Peter had a somewhat abrupt character; if he had been without sin what sort of forgiveness would the disciples have received from him? This is why divine grace allowed him to fall into a certain fault, in order that his own trial should make him benevolent towards others. Do you see how God can let someone fall into sin; this Peter, the leader of the Apostles, the unshakable foundation, indestructible rock, first in the Church, impregnable harbour, unshakable tower — this same Peter who had said to Christ: “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you” (Mt 26:35), Peter who, by a divine revelation, had confessed the Truth: “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God” (Mt 16:16). (…) But as I said, God arranged it in this way and allowed Peter to sin because, he had it in mind, to confer numerous people on him and he feared, that his roughness, joined to his impeccability, might make him unsympathetic towards his brothers. He gave way to sin so that, remembering his own failure and the kindness of the Lord, he might testify to others, a grace of philanthropy in accord with the divine design conceived by God. The fall had been permitted, to the one, who was going to see himself entrusted with the Church, the Pillar of the Church, the Harbour of the Faith; the fall had been permitted to Peter, the Doctor of the Universe, in order that, the forgiveness received, might remain the foundation of love for others.” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church – On the apostle Peter and the prophet Elijah
PRAYER – O God, the strength of those who trust in You, Who fortified blessed Gregory, Your Confessor and Pontiff, with the virtue of firmness to protect the freedom of the Church, grant us, by his example and intercession, bravely to overcome all evil. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 25 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary”
Mother of my God, Lady Mary, Queen of Mercy By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Mother of my God and my Lady Mary, as a beggar, all wounded and sore, presents himself before a great Queen, so do I present myself before you, who are Queen of heaven and earth. From the lofty throne on which you sit, disdain not, I implore you, to cast your eyes on me, a poor sinner. God has made you so rich that you might assist the poor and has made you Queen of Mercy, that you might relieve the miserable. Behold me then and pity me. Behold me and abandon me not, until you see me changed from a sinner into a saint. Amen
Saint of the Day – 25 May – St Madeleine Sophie Barat RSCJ (1779-1865) Virgin, Religious, Foundress of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a worldwide religious institute of Teachers. Born on 12 December 1779 at Joigny, France and died on Ascension Thursday, 25 May 1865, aged 85 at Paris, France of natural causes. Patronage – Teachers. Her body is incorupt.
She was a delicate little girl, spoilt, bubbling over with life and intelligence. Born during the night of 13 December 1779 in the little Burgundian town of Joigny in the glimmer from a neighbour’s burning house, she was premature and so frail that she was Baptised at dawn. She was the third child in a family of craftsmen, barrel-makers and vine-growers, who lived comfortably enough, in a small house in the rue du Puits-Chardon (today, 11 rue Davier). When she was seven, she became the pupil of her brother Louis, eleven years her senior. He was teaching in the local college until he was old enough to be able to be Ordained Priest. Under his austere direction, she made astonishing progress in all her subjects, both secular and religious, yet she regretted hardly having time to play with friends her own age, even at the time of the grape harvest and traditional holiday in the country of vineyards! Her family’s Jansenistic severity, might have crushed and destroyed her liveliness but, fortunately, she kept her spontaneous vivacity and joyful character.
During the Revolution, Sophie was a courageous adolescent. She, who so loved study had to work as a seamstress and became an excellent embroidress. She had to be the link between her father, a good workman but illiterate and her mother, more refined, sensitive and cultured. Above all, she had to sustain the courage of her family when her brother was made prisoner by the revolutionaries and only escaped the guillotine by the intervention of providence. It was then that Sophie discovered devotion to the Sacred Heart and now, she put all her trust in the love of Christ.
Still very young, she gave proof of resolve and generosity, when her brother, liberated by the fall of Robespierre, asked her to come to Paris to continue her education. Certainly it cost her dearly to tear herself away from her mother’s tenderness but she was resolved to give herself entirely to God. The Revolution had closed all the Convents and her brother’s offer ,opened to her a way of renunciation and generosity. For five years she lived in Paris, a life of prayer and study, giving herself to catechising the children of the Marais quartier.
In 1800 her brother introduced her to Fr Varin who was trying to establish a congregation of religious women, founded on the spirituality of the Heart of Christ and vowed to education. She had wanted to enter Carmel but the appeal of Fr Varin made her reflect. The exceptional culture she had acquired, the needs of a society that was gradually coming out of the revolutionary torments and which lacked guidelines, were these not signs of the Will of God for her?
On 21 November 1800, in Paris, she made her first religious commitment. A year later, a first community was established at Amiens, of which she was soon named Superior. While for political reasons, the Congregation could only take the name of Society of the Sacred Heart in 1815. II spread gradually, to Grenoble, then to Poitiers where the first noviciate was opened. She was named Superior General at the age of twenty-six. Henceforward, Madeleine Sophie’s life merged with that of the Society of the Sacred Heart, which she governed. She crossed France and Europe, going wherever she was asked to found Boarding Schools. And she insisted on opening a free school, or sometimes an orphanage, alongside each one, to which poor girls came flocking, since at that time, there were no communal schools.
This long religious life from 1800 to 1865 was filled with prayer, work and suffering but also with deep joy.
First, prayer, intense and prolonged for seven hours, day and night sometimes. Faith in the Love of God, manifested in the Heart of Jesus, was so important for her, that what counted was to respond to this Love by adoration and making it known and loved by all, throughout the world.
This prayer animated her immense work and her entire life. To bring up children and young people one must first love them, seek to understand them, respect their budding personality, instruct them in awakening their faculties, exercising their judgement, affirming their will and developing in them, the sense of responsibility. It was in that spirit that she formed the Religious of the Sacred Heart to be Teachers. Her task was varied. She had to open schools, to negotiate with religious and civil authorities, buy or rent property, construct or adapt buildings. She also had to send groups of religious to various places, at a time when these had to assume almost single-handedly, all the tasks of teaching, administration and material work.
Once she had established Convents, she had to visit them. But journeys at that time, by coach hired with much trouble, were long, difficult and sometimes dangerous. There was also, a large correspondence to maintain, so as to keep in touch, advise and encourage. She opened 122 Convents. Several disappeared, suppressed as a result of war, persecution by hostile regimes or simply because, certain foundations had not been wise.
At her death in 1865, 89 of them were flourishing. Thousands of young people were being educated there, by 3,500 religious. These houses were dispersed throughout 16 countries of Europe, Africa, North and South America. In 1818, she had sent St Philippine Duchesne to the United States, where she opened the first schools in very hard conditions and in great poverty.
These results that might make one think of a triumphant development, should not create an illusion – they were only obtained in the midst of great trials and at the price of suffering,: long and repeated illnesses, epidemics which ravaged entire regions, decimating religious and pupils alike. 1350 Religious of the Sacred Heart died before their foundress. Political troubles, revolutions and persecutions, chased the religious from Northern Italy and Switzerland. Mother Barat was also faced with contradictions and even calumnies against herself and her work, dissensions at the interior of the Congregation, as a result of misunderstandings and incomprehension. Twice, from 1809 to 1815 and from 1839 to 1843, crises put in peril the very existence of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Madeleine Sophie rose above them all with her usual weapons – silence, humility and the prayer which united her ever more closely to Jesus Christ. From Him she drew an unshakeable hope and full forgiveness for those who made her suffer.
What can one say of the joys, which, on the other hand lightened her life – her union with God, the approbation and support of the Church, to which she was so deeply attached, the esteem and affection which responded to her loving devotedness, for she had a truly exceptional gift of communion with others and friendship.. She welcomed everyone in the same way – Ecclesiastical dignitaries, Princesses, men distinguished by their culture or their power, workmen, religious, pupils and their parents. She showed so much interest, such a quality of listening and sympathy that one left her conscious of having been understood and comforted. Her preferences were for the poor and the deprived, for whom she always had time, help and delicate attention.
In her old age, the only relaxation she allowed herself, was to see the Junior School of the Rue de Varenne, brought to see her by their mistress. They came across the garden to the Mother House, Boulevard des Invalides and sat round her under a great cedar tree, whence ensued joyous exchanges. Saint Madeleine Sophie listened to them, asked them questions, answered their questions and passed round sweets. It was mutual joy; for the children knew well who loved them.
Saint Madeleine Sophie died in Paris on 25 May, 1865. Ascension Day. She was buried in the cemetery at Conflans. In 1904, when the French Sisters were expelled by the Combes laws, her body was transferred to the Sacred Heart at Jette, Brussels. Since her Beatification in 1908 by St Pius X, her well-preserved body has been exposed in a Shrine. She was Canonised n 24 May 1908 by Pope Pius XI
Since 20 May 1998, her Shrine has been at 31 rue de l’Abondance 1210 Brussels. You can go there to pray to Saint Madeleine Sophie.
Today nearly 4,000 religious try to follow her example and continue her work. All over the world, thousands of pupils, former pupils and all sorts of people, benefit, often without knowing it,, from her influence, her holiness and her love. St Madelein Sophie Barrat, pray for our children, pray for us all! Thanks be to God, amen.
Our Lady the Nea/New Church of the Virgin Mary or New Church of St Mary, Mother of God, built by the Emperor Justinian the Good, Jerusalem (530) – 25 May:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady the Nea or New, at Jerusalem, built by the Emperor Justinian, at Jerusalem, in the year 530.”
The Emperor Justinian the Good, is justifiably famous for many achievements and among them his construction of the magnificent Church of the Holy Wisdom, the Hagia Sophia, which is now a mosque in Istanbul. There was once another Church, though, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, that must have been just as splendid and an architecture wonder, as is, the Hagia Sophia but this magnificent structure was destroyed by an earthquake.
Recent archeological excavations have uncovered the foundations of the Church, but there were also one of Justinian’s court historians, a man named Procopius of Caesarea, who wrote in great detail about the construction of the Nea Church of Our Lady the New, Mother of God:
“These things the Emperor Justinian accomplished by human strength and skill but he was also assisted by his pious faith, which rewarded him with the honour he received and aided him in this cherished plan. The Church required throughout, columns whose appearance would not fall short of the beauty of the building and of such a size, that they could resist the weight of the load which would rest upon them. However, the site itself, being very far from the sea, inland and walled about on all sides by hills, that were quite steep, made it impossible for those who were preparing the foundations to bring columns from outside.
But when the impossibility of this task was causing the Emperor to become impatient, God revealed a natural supply of stone, perfectly suited to this purpose, in the nearby hills, one which had either lain therein concealment previously, or was created at that moment. Either explanation is credible to those who trace the cause of it to God, for while we, in estimating all things by the scale of man’s power, consider many things to be wholly impossible, for God nothing in the whole world can be difficult or impossible. So, the Church is supported on all sides by a number of huge columns from that place, which in colour resemble flames of fire, some standing below and some above and others in the stoas which surround the whole Church, except on the side facing the east.
Two of these columns stand before the door of the Church, exceptionally large and probably second to no column in the whole world. Here is added another colonnaded stoa, which is called the narthex, I suppose because it is not broad. Beyond this is a court with similar columns, standing on the four sides. From this there lead doors to the interior, which are so stately, that they proclaim to those walking outside what kind of sight they will meet within. Beyond there is a wonderful gateway and an arch, carried on two columns, which rises to a very great height. Then as one advances, there are two semi-circles which stand facing each other on one side of the road which leads to the Church, while facing each other on the other side, are two hospices, built by the Emperor Justinian. One of these is destined for the shelter of visiting strangers, while the other is an infirmary for poor persons suffering from diseases.”
Archaeologists working in the region near Jerusalem, believe they have found this miraculous quarry. They have found a stone pillar that was cracked and, therefore, not used, in a field of similar stones. Although the field cannot be linked to the Nea, it does seem to prove, that the stone for the Church was available for the project.
Recent archeology confirms that the Church was very large for the time, at over 100 meters long and 52 meters wide and probably had 5 aisles. St Antoninus of Piacenza, who visited the Basilica in about 570, wrote: “with its great congregations of Monks and its guest houses for men and women. In catering for travellers, they have a vast number of tables and more than three thousand beds for the sick!”
. In 1977, archeologists, led by Professor Nachman Avigad, found a large Greek inscription above a Cross that confirmed that construction of the Church was attributed to the generosity of Emperor Justinian. At that time, a corner of the Church, outside the Old City walls, was incorporated into the Beth Shalom Garden. In the following years, investigative and preservation work continued and in 1988 the restored vaults were incorporated into the Garden of Redemption.
St Pope Gregory VII (1015-1085) Confessor, Bishop of Rome 22 April 1073 to his death in 1085, Monk, Priest, Reformer, Administrator, Adviser. Pope Gregory “was probably the most energetic and determined man ever to occupy the See of Peter and was driven by an almost mystically exalted vision of the awesome responsibility and dignity of the papal office” (Eamonn Duffy, Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes). Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/05/25/saint-of-the-day-25-may-st-pope-gregory-vii-c-1015-1085/
St Agustin Caloca St Aldhelm of Sherborne Bl Antonio Caixal Bl Bartolomeo Magi di Amghiari St Canio St Cristobal Magallanes Jara St Denis Ssebuggwawo St Dionysius of Milan St Dunchadh of Iona St Egilhard of Cornelimünster Bl Gerardo Mecatti St Gerbald St Injuriosus of Auvergne St Iosephus Chang Song-Jib Bl James Bertoni Bl Juan of Granada St Leo of Troyes St Madeleine Sophie Barat RSCJ (1779-1865) Virgin, Religious, Foundress of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St Matthêô Nguyen Van Ðac Phuong St Maximus of Evreux Bl Nicholas Tsehelsky St Pasicrates of Dorostorum Bl Pedro Malasanch St Pherô Ðoàn Van Vân St Scholastica of Auvergne St Senzio of Bieda St Urban I, Pope St Valentio of Dorostorum St Victorinus of Acquiney St Winebald of Saint Bertin St Worad of Saint Bertin St Zenobius of Florence
Thought for the Day – 24 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Recollection of Mary
“We cannot all be Monks or Hermits. Most have to live in the world and look after their daily business., They have to deal with all kinds of people and are subject to the tremendous influences of the modern world. How can they be recollected? It is difficult but it is possible. Most of the Saints lived in the heart of the world, while still maintaining close contact with God. St Paul the Apostle and St John Bosco, are two examples which come to mind.
St Paul traversed the greater parts of the known world. He preached in the temple of Jerusalem and on the Areopagus of Athens, in the Synagogues, squares, court rooms and prsisons of countless cities. Throughout it all, his heart remained united to God, so that he could exclaim: “It is now no longer I who live but Christ lives in me” Gal 2:20). “For to me to live is Christ,” he said, “and to die is gain. But if to live in the flesh is my lot, this means for me, fruitful labour and I do not know which to choose. Indeed, I am hard-pressed from both sides – desiring to depart and to be with Christ – a lot by far the better; yet, to stay on in the flesh is necessary for your sake” |(Phil 1:21-23).
The superhuman industriousness of St John Bosco is well known. He never rested but, his extraordinary activity derived entirely from his close and loving union with God.
We also should try and preserve an oasis of silence in our heart, while we are making our way through the noisy uproar which prevails around us. We shall draw from this oasis of interior recollection, the power to conquer the temptations of the world and to accomplish all the good work which God wishes us to do.”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – James 1:22-27, John 16:23-30
“Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
“So also, you now indeed have sorrow but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice. And your joy, no man shall take from you.”
“This is the time for Confession. Confess the sins you have committed in word or deed, by day or by night. Confess during this “favourable time” and on “the day of salvation,” receive Heaven’s treasure… ”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350), Father & Doctor of the Church
“Have faith and the One you cannot see, is with you.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Whoever has become a servant of the Lord, fears only his Master. But whoever is without the fear of God, is often afraid of his own shadow. Fearfulness is the daughter of unbelief. A proud soul is the slave of fear, hoping in itself, it comes to such a state, that it is startled by a small noise and is afraid of the dark.”
St John Climacus (579-649) Father of the Church
O Merciful God By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis
O merciful God, grant that I may ever perfectly do Your Will in all things. Let it be my ambition to work only for Your honour and glory. Let me rejoice in nothing but that leads to You, nor grieve for anything, that leads away from You. May all passing things be as nothing in my eyes and may all that is Yours, be dear to me and You, my God, dear above them all. May all joy be meaningless without You and may I desire nothing, apart from You. May all labour and toil delight me when it is for You. Make me, O Lord, obedient without complaint, poor without regret, patient without murmur, humble without pretence, joyous without frivolity, and truthful without disguise. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 24 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – James 1:22-27, John 16:23-30
“That your joy may be full.” – John 16:24
REFLECTION – “The entire life of a good Christian is, in fact, an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for but the very act of desiring, prepares you, so that when He comes, you may see and be utterly satisfied.
Suppose you are going to fill some holder or container and you know you will be given a large amount. Then you set about stretching your sack or wineskin or whatever it is. Why? Because you know the quantity with which you will fill it and your eyes tell you, there is not enough room. By stretching it, therefore, you increase the capacity of the sack and this is how God deals with us. Simply by making us wait, He increases our desire, which in turn, enlarges the capacity of our soul, making it able to receive what is to be given to us.
So, my brethren, let us continue to desire, for we shall be filled. Take note of Saint Paul, stretching as it were, his ability to receive what is to come – ‘Not that I have already obtained this,’ he said, ‘or am made perfect.Brethren, I do not consider that I have already obtained it.’ We might ask him, ‘If you have not yet obtained it, what are you doing in this life?’ ‘This one thing I do,‘ answers Paul, ‘forgetting what lies behind, and stretching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the prize to which I am called in the life above.‘ Not only did Paul say he stretched forward but he also declared that he pressed on toward a chosen goal. He realised, in fact, that he was still short of receiving ‘what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived.‘
Such is our Christian life. By desiring Heaven, we exercise the powers of our soul. Now this exercise will be effective, only to the extent, that we free ourselves from desires leading to infatuation with this world. Let me return to the example I have already used, of filling an empty container. God means to fill each of you with what is good – so cast out what is bad! If he wishes to fill you with honey and you are full of sour wine, where is the honey to go? The vessel must be emptied of its contents and then be cleansed. Yes, it must be cleansed, even if you have to work hard and scour it. It must be made fit for the new thing, whatever it may be!” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace (An excerpt from his Tractates on «The First Letter of John»)
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, unto all Thy servants, that they may remain continually in the enjoyment of soundness, both of mind and body and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, always a Virgin, may be delivered from present sadness and enter into the joy of thine eternal gladness. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Saint of the Day – 24 May – Blessed Philip of Piacenza OSA (Died 1306) Priest of the Order of the Hermits of St Augustine. Ascetic, Penitent, Miracle-worker.
Blessed Philip, a contemporary of St Nicholas of Tolentino OSA (1245-1305), was one of those who bore witness to the tradition of holiness, which the Order has had since its very beginnings.
The Anonymous Florentine in A Brief Life of Some Hermit Friars, offers the following information concerning Philip:
Friar Philip, who spent his ministry in the City of Piacenza, Italy, practiced an admirable asceticism. For he used an iron breastplate to subdue his flesh, instead of the wool or haircloth employed by other servants of God. It was, therefore, fitting for God to work miracles on his behalf. I heard what I am narrating from Friar Albertino of Cumi, who actually experienced it. More than once when I was a student at Genoa, he told me how he had recovered from a severe fever by commending himself to both the renowned miracle worker, Friar Philip and our Patron, Saint Augustine.
Friar Philip also freed Master William of Cremona, the present Prior General of the Order, from an infirmity of the leg. And he conferred the blessing of health on many other sick people, especially those suffering from melancholy. All this is well known at the Augustinian Monastery in Piacenza.
Philip lived and worked in the Augustinian Monastery of Saint Lawrence in Piacenza, Italy. After his death on 24 May 1306, the people remembered him and celebrated his memory. Since the suppression of religious houses in 1808, his body has been preserved and venerated, in the Cathedral Church of Piacenza.
Our Lady of China: Our Lady of China is a title for the Virgin Mary in China who is believed to have appear at the small village of Donglu in 1900. In Chinese she is called Zhōnghuá Shèngmǔ. She is also known as Our Lady of Donglu.
St Afra of Brescia Bl Benedict of Cassino
St David, King of Scotland (1085-1183) King David was a social and religious Reformer, a man of great administrative skills, apostle of charity and of holy piety. He transformed his Kingdom by the widespread introduction of Catholic Churches and Monasteries, thus also assisting in the international diplomatic influence of his country, it’s farming and agricultural wealth and it’s education. He was the main force and instrument of God in Christianising Scotland. St David’s life: https://anastpaul.com/2020/05/24/saint-of-the-day-24-may-st-david-king-of-scotland-1085-1183/
Bl Diego Alonso St Donatian of Nantes St Gennadius of Astroga St Hubert of Bretigny St Joanna the Myrrhbearer Bl John del Prado Bl John of Montfort Bl Juan of Huete Bl Louis-Zéphirin Moreau St Manahen St Marciana of Galatia St Meletius the Soldier Bl Nicetas of Pereslav St Palladia St Patrick of Bayeux Blessed Philip of Piacenza OSA (Died 1306) Priest of the Order of the Hermits of St Augustine St Rogatian of Nantes St Sérvulo of Trieste St Simeon Stylites the Younger
St Susanna Martyr (Died 2nd Century) One of a group of wives of 2nd century Martyred soldiers under the command of Saint Meletius. Following the death of the soldiers, the wives and children were Martyred, as well.
Bl Thomas Vasière St Vincent of Lérins St Vincent of Porto Romano
Martyrs of Istria: A group of early Martyrs in the Istria peninsula. We know little more than some names – Diocles, Felix, Servilius, Silvanus and Zoëllus.
Martyrs of Plovdiv: 38 Christians Martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian. We don’t even known their names. They were beheaded in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Thought for the Day – 23 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Prayer to Mary, Our Mother
“Even if we fall often into sin, we should never be discouraged. Although Mary is the Mother of all mankind, she, in a special fashion, is the merciful Mother of sinners. No matter how sinful a man maybe, he will not be lost if he is sincerely devoted to Mary. We must not be deluded into imagining, however, that it is enough to pray to Our Lady in order to be saved, even if we continue to commit sin. St Brigid tells us in her revelations, that Mary is not the Motbher of hardened sinners but, only of those sinners who desire to amend their lives and pray to her with this intention (Rev Bk 4, C 138).
Jesus has told us, moreover, that “not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 7:21). The same holds for those who are devoted to Our Lady. It is not sufficient to pray to her but we must also imitate her and accompany our prayers with the resolution of improving.
Fervent prayer is certain to obtain Mary’s intercession on our behalf. St Alphonsus recommends, in particular: (a) the Hail Mary repeated three times every morning and every night, with the invocation “Mother most pure, pray for me;” (b) an invocation to Our Lady everytime the clock strikes the hour; (c) the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary; (d) a visit to the Altar of Our Lady evertime we make our daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament; (e) and some acts of mortification on the vigil of principal Feasts of Our Lady, followed by a fervent celebration of the Feasts themselves. If we show our good dispositions in this manner, Mary will be our true Mother in life and in death.”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 May – James 5:16-20, Luke 11:5-13
“Ask and it shall be given you: s seek and you shall find: knock and it shall be opened to you. ”
“Ask with tears, seek with obedience, knock with patience.”
“A servant of the Lord stands bodily before men but mentally, he is knocking at the gates of Heaven. with prayer.”
St John Climacus (c 525-606) Father of the Church
“In prayer one must hold fast and never let go, because the one who gives up, loses all. If it seems that no-one is listening to you, then cry out even louder. If you are driven out of one door, go back in by the other.”
St Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641)
May We Love Only You By St Columban (543-615)
Loving Saviour, be pleased to show Yourself to us who knock, so that in knowing You, we may love only You, love You alone, desire You alone, contemplate only You, day and night and always think of You. Inspire in us the depth of love that is fitting for You to receive as God. So may Your love pervade our whole being, possess us completely and fill all our senses, that we may know no other love but love for You, Who are everlasting. May our love be so great, that the many waters of sky, land and sea cannot extinguish it in us – many waters could not extinguish love. May this saying be fulfilled in us also, at least in part, by Your gift, Jesus Christ, our Lord, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 23 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – James 5:16-20, Luke 11:5-13
“Ask and it shall be given you: seek and you shall find: knock and it shall be opened to you. ” – Luke 11:9
REFLECTION – “Whatever you shall ask.” Then why do we often see believers asking and not receiving? Perhaps it is that they do not ask correctly. When a person would make a bad use of what he asks for, God in His mercy, does not grant him it. It is even more the case, that if someone asks what would, if answered, only tend to his injury, there is surely greater cause to fear, in case what God could not withhold with kindness, He should give in His anger. Still, if God even in kindness, often refuses the requests of believers, how are we to understand “Whatever you shall ask in My Name, I will do?” Was this said to the Apostles only? No. He says …, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he shall do also.” And if we go to the lives of the Apostles themselves, we shall find that he who laboured more than them all, prayed that the messenger of Satan might depart from him but was not granted his request.
Wake up then, believer and note what is stated here: “In my Name.” That [Name] is Christ Jesus. Christ signifies King, Jesus signifies Saviour. Therefore, whatever we ask for that would hinder our salvation, we do not ask in our Saviour’s Name and yet, He is our Saviour, not only when He does what we ask but also, when He does not. When He sees us ask anything to the disadvantage of our salvation, He shows Himself our Saviour by not doing it. The physician knows whether what the sick person asks for, is to the advantage or disadvantage of his health. And [the physician] does not allow what would be harmful to him, although the sick person himself, desires it. But the physician looks to his final cure.
And some things we may even ask in His Name and He will not grant them to us, at the time, although He will some time. What we ask for is deferred, not denied. He adds, “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” The Son does not do anything without the Father, inasmuch as He does it, in order that the Father may be glorified in the Son, for the Father and Son are One.” – St Augustine (354-430) Great Western Father and Doctor of Grace of the Church (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 73)
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we, who in our tribulation are yet of good cheer because of Thy loving-kindness, may find Thee mighty to save from all dangers. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 23 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary”
Hail, O Mary, Mother of God By St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father & Doctor of the Church
Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Virgin and Mother! Morning Star, perfect vessel. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Holy Temple in which God Himself was conceived. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Chaste and pure dove. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, who enclosed the One, Who cannot be encompassed in your sacred womb. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, From you flowed the true Light, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Through you the Conqueror and triumphant Vanquisher of hell, came to us. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Through you, the glory of the Resurrection blossoms. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, You have saved every faithful Christian. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen
Saint of the Day – 23 May – Saint Desiderius of Langres (c 307-c 356) Martyr, the Third Bishop of Langres, France. St Desiderius is a Cephalophores (one who picks up his head, after being beheaded and walks). Born in c 307 in Genoa, Italy and died by being beheaded in c 356 near Langres, France. Patronages – of the City and Diocese of Langres, of difficult situations, he is invoked for assistance for those seeking the truth, of Assago and Castelnuovo Scrivia both towns in Italy. Also known as – Desiderius of Genoa, Desiderio of…, Dizier of…, Didier of…, Désiré of… Additional Memorial – 19 January (translation of his relics).
The Roman Martyrology reads: “Near Langres in Lugdunense Gaul, now in France, the passion of St Desiderius, offering himself serenely for the good of the flock entrusted to him.”
Desiderius occupies the third place in the list of Bishops of Langres, it seems he was a native of the surroundings of Genoa and miraculously appointed to the Episcopal See of Langres.
A cleric from the aforementioned City named Varnacario, wrote an account of his Martyrdom at the beginning of the seventh century, based on local traditions. According to this account by Varnacario, the Bishop Desiderius was beheaded during an invasion of the Vandals in which he offered himself to save his flock.
A legend says that after his beheading, the holy Bishop, like so many other cephalophores, picked up his head and returned to the City, through a crack in the rock that had opened to let him pass, this opening is still shown today.
The City of Langres also remembers him on 19 January, the anniversary of the transfer of the relics of St Desiderius which occurred in 1315. His cult spread, not only in France but also in Italy, Switzerland, Germany. He is the Patron Saint of the City of Langres and many Churches in the Diocese are dedicated to him. His tomb was kept in a Benedictine Priory in the centre of the City.
In 1354, a famous brotherhood apostolate was founded in his honour to which Kings and Princes belonged. St Desiderius is invoked as a witness to the truth of the oaths and as a protector in difficult situations.
Rogation Day: Rogation Days are days of prayer and fasting in the Church. They are observed with processions and the praying of the Litany of the Saints. The major Rogation is held on 25 April, the minor Rogations are held on Monday to Wednesday, preceding Ascension Thursday. The word Rogation comes from the Latin verb rogare, meaning “to ask,” which reflects the beseeching of God, for the appeasement of His anger and for protection from calamities. Rogation Days began in the Fifth Century in France by St Mamertus (Died c 477) Archbishop of Vienne. His Life here: https://anastpaul.com/2019/05/11/saint-of-the-day-11-may-st-mamertus-died-c-475/
Martyrs of Béziers: 20 Mercedarian Friars murdered by Huguenots for being Catholic. Martyrs. 1562 at the Mercedarian convent at Béziers, France.
Martyrs of Cappadocia: A group of Christians tortured and Martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian and Galerius. Their names and the details of their lives have not come down to us. They were crushed to death in c.303 in Cappadocia (in modern Turkey).
Martyrs of Carthage: When a civil revolt erupted in Carthage in 259 during a period of persecution by Valerian, the procurator Solon blamed it on the Christians, and began a persecution of them. We know the names and a few details about 8 of these martyrs – Donatian, Flavian, Julian, Lucius, Montanus, Primolus, Rhenus and Victorius. They were beheaded in 259 at Carthage (modern Tunis, Tunisia).
Martyrs of Mesopotamia: A group of Christians Martyred in Mesopotamia in persecutions by imperial Roman authorities. Their names and the details of their lives have not come down to us. They were suffocated over a slow fire in Mesopotamia.
Martyrs of North Africa: A group of 19 Christians Martyred together in the persecutions of the Arian Vandal King Hunneric for refusing to deny the Trinity. We know little more than a few of their names – Dionysius, Julian, Lucius, Paul and Quintian. c 430.
Thought for the Day – 22 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth
“Mary is a supremely powerful Queen because she is the Mother of God. She is a more merciful Queen because she is our Mother and Mother of sinners. She is a most loving Queen because hers is a kingdom of love and of goodness. Even as she is the most lovable of creatures, so she is the most loving.
“To the immense love of God for His creatures,” writes Cardinal Massimi, “and to His command to rational beings, that they should love Him with all their hearts, there has been only one worthy response. That response, was yours, O Mary. You loved God with an intensity which surpassed the combined love of all other creatures. God created your heart, which was destined to be the heart of His Mother, after the fashion of His own. Adorned with every perfection, it had an immeasurable capacity for love, even as you are supreme in your love for God, O Mary, so you are supreme in your love for us. What a cause for gladness this is! God loves us and you love us, O Mary. Our poor hearts, which have a natural longing to be loved and suffer so much when they are disappointed, rejoice in being the object of your love. We thank you, O Mary, for favouring us, in spite your greatness and our unworthiness.” (Cardinal Massimo Massimi, Le Feste di Maria, p 82-83).
The realisation of Mary’s regal power and of her maternal love for us, should lead us to have complete confidence in her. This confidence should inspire us to pray fervently to her, to love her in return and to form a practical resolution of imitating her.”
Quote/s of the Day – 22 May – The Fifth Sunday after Easter – James 1:22-27, John 16:23-30
“In that day, you will ask in My Name”
“And you shall be hated by all men, for my name’s sake.”
“The eternal God asks a favour of His bride: “Hold me close to your heart, close as locket or bracelet fits.” No matter whether we walk or stand still, eat or drink, we should at all times wear the golden locket “Jesus” upon our heart.”
Bl Henry Suso (1295-1366)
May We Confess Your Name to the End By St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258) Bishop and Martyr Father of the Church
Good God, may we confess Your Name to the end. May we emerge unmarked and glorious from the traps and darkness of this world. As You have bound us together by charity and peace and as together we have persevered under persecution, so may we also rejoice together in Your heavenly kingdom. Amen
“The Name of Jesus is the purest and holiest, the noblest and most indulgent of names, the Name of all blessings and of all virtues, it is the Name of the God-Man, of sanctity itself.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 22 May – The Fifth Sunday after Easter – James 1:22-27, John 16:23-30
“In that day, you will ask in My Name” – John 16:26
REFLECTION – “At the end of our prayers we say: “Through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord” and not “Through the Holy Spirit.” This practice of the Universal Church is not without reason. At its root lies the Mystery according to which, Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God and humanity (1 Tim 2:5), a Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek, He who, with His own Blood, entered into the Holy of Holies, not that which was only a copy but, into Heaven itself, where He is at the Right Hand of God and intercedes for us (Heb 6:20; 9:24).
It was in His consideration of Christ’s Priesthood, that the Apostle said: “Through Him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which confess His Name” (Heb 13:15). It is through Him that we offer the sacrifice of praise and prayer because it is His death that reconciled us while we were still enemies (Rom 5:10). He willed to offer Himself in sacrifice for our sakes and, since then, it is through Him, that our offerings can be acceptable in God’s sight. This is why Saint Peter warns us in these words: “Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ” (1 Pt 2:5). This is the reason why we say to God the Father: “Through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord.” – Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532) – Bishop in North Africa (Letter 14,36).
PRAYER – O God, from Whom all good things do come, grant to us Thy humble servants, that by Thy holy inspiration, we may think those things that are good and by Thy merciful guidance, may perform the same. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 22 May – The Fifth Sunday after Easter
O God, the House of My Soul is Narrow By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
O God, the Light of the heart, that sees You, The Life of the soul, that loves You, The Strength of the mind, that seeks You, May I ever continue to be steadfast in Your love. Be the Joy of my heart, Take all of me to Yourself and abide therein. The house of my soul is, I confess, too narrow for You. Enlarge it, that You may enter. It is ruinous but do repair it. It has within it what must offend Your Eyes, I confess and know it, But whose help shall I seek in cleansing it but Yours alone? To You, O God, I cry urgently. Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep me from false pride and sensuality, that they not get dominion over me. Amen
Saint of the Day – 22 May – St Basiliscus of Pontus (Died c 310) Martyr, Bishop of Comana in Pontus, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey) Died by beheading in c 310 in Comana, Pontus (in modern Turkey). Also known as – Basiliscus of Pontus, Basilicus, Basilisco. Additional Memorials – 22 May, 3 March (Byzantine synaxary; as one of the Martyrs of Pontus), 30 July (Greek calendar).
The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Comana, in Pontus, under the Emperor Maximian and the Governor Agrippa, the holy Martyr Basiliscus, who was forced to wear iron shoes, pierced with heated nails and endured many other trials. Being at last decapitated and thrown into a river, he obtained the glory of Martyrdom.”
In our earliest sources Basiliscus is said to have announced in a vision at Comana, to the dying St John Chrysostom, the latter’s immediate entry into Heaven and to lead him home and to have identified himself as a Bishop of Comana, Martyred at Nicomedia under Maximian at about the same time as St Lucian of Antioch (who is reported by Eusebius to have been Martyred in 312 under Maximinus Daia).
In the seventh- or eighth-century Vitas of St John Chrysostom ascribed to George of Alexandria Basiliscus, makes the same appearance but identifies himself as a military Martyr. In this latter construction, he has a legendary Greek-language Passio, making him a Martyr at Comana under Maximian. In this version, Basiliscus was brought to a pagan temple to perform ritual sacrifice, which resulted, both in the temple’s being set afire by lightning and in the destruction of its idols, after which he was executed on this day, by decapitation and his body was thrown into the river Iris. Christians secretly retrieved the Saint’s remains and buried them in a freshly plowed field, where later a Martyrion or Shrine, was built in his honour. Thus far Basiliscus’ own Passio.
A related account under today’s date in a Byzantine menologion (the Greek version of the Martyrology) specifies, that he had been tortured by being forced to wear iron shoes studded with red-hot nails.
St Boethian of Pierrepont St Castus the Martyr St Conall of Inniscoel Bl Diego de Baja Bl Dionisio Senmartin St Emilius the Martyr St Faustinus the Martyr St Francisco Salinas Sánchez St Fulgencio of Otricoli Bl Fulk of Castrofurli Bl Giacomo Soler Bl Giusto Samper St Helen of Auxerre
Thought for the Day – 21 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Since Mary excelled so much in this virtue and had so great a love for it, she will obtain for us from God, the grace necessary for us to preserve it, as long as we pray humbly to her, especially in times of temptation.
Let us remember, that at Baptism, we became members of the Mystical Body of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit (Cf 1 Cor 6:15-20). We are obliged to avoid defiling this temple and making the Mystical Body of Christ a dwelling-place for the devil! It is not true to say, that this is an impossible fight. We know, from our own experience, that we can win. We have often battled with, or fled from occasions of sin. We have prayed and made sacrifices, in order to avoid sin and, with the help of God and the protection of the Blessed Virgin, we have won! After our victory, we have felt elated and have experienced that peace, which only God’s grace can bestow. If we have succeeded so many times, why cannot we do the same always? There is no need to be afraid. If we do all that we can, God’s grace will do the rest. “I can do all things in Him, Who strengthens me,” Phil 4:12) says St Paul. “God is faithful,” he writes elsewhere “and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength but, with the temptation, will also give you a way out, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).
If we remain pure, we shall see God. We shall see Him in the work of His creation in this world and we shall see and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and Sanctae Mariae Sabbato, Mary’s Saturday
“Go to Mary and sing her praises and you will be enlightened. For it is through her, that the true Light shines on the sea of this life.”
St Ildephonsus (607-670)
“As breathing is not only a sign but even, a cause of life, so the name of Mary, which is constantly found on the lips of God’s servants, both proves that they are truly alive and, at the same time, causes and preserves their life and gives them, every succour . . . may Your name, O Mother of God, be the last sound that escapes my lips!”
St Germanus of Constantinople (c 640-733)
“We may seek graces but shall never find them without the intercession of Mary.”
St Cajetan (1480-1547)
“Do you not know, that not only is Jesus, resting and dwelling continually in the Heart of Mary but that He is, Himself the Heart of Mary … “
St John Eudes CO (1601-1680) Apostle of the Two Holy Hearts
REFLECTION – “Mary, the Mother of the Lord, stood by her Son’s Cross. No-one has taught me this but the holy Evangelist John. Others have related how the earth was shaken at the Lord’s Passion, the sky was covered with darkness, the sun withdrew itself and how, the thief was, after a faithful confession, received into paradise. John tells us what the others have not told, how the Lord, while fixed on the Cross called to His Mother. He thought it was more important that, victorious over His sufferings, Jesus gave her the offices of piety, than that He gave her a Heavenly Kingdom. For if it is the mark of religion to grant pardon to the thief, it is a mark of much greater piety, that a mother is honoured with such affection, by her Son. “Behold,” He says, “thy son.” “Behold thy mother.” Christ testified from the Cross and divided the offices of piety, between the mother and the disciple.
Nor was Mary below what was becoming the Mother of Christ. When the Apostles fled, she stood at the Cross and with pious eyes beheld her Son’s wounds. For she did not look to the death of her offspring but to the salvation of the world. Or perhaps, because that “royal hall” knew, that the redemption of the world would be through the death of her Son, she thought that by her death, she also might add something to that universal gift. But Jesus did not need a helper, for the redemption of all, Who saved all without a helper. This is why He says, “I am counted among those who go down to the pit. I am like those who have no help.” He received indeed, the affection of His Mother but sought not another’s help. Imitate her, holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son, set forth so great an example of maternal virtue. For neither have you sweeter children, nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Archbishop of Milan, Great Western Father and Doctor (Letter 63)
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, unto all Thy servants, that they may remain continually in the enjoyment of soundness, both of mind and body and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, always a Virgin, may be delivered from present sadness and enter into the joy of Thine eternal gladness. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 21 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and Sanctae Mariae Sabbato, Mary’s Saturday
The Mater Christi Unknown Author
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, What shall I ask of thee? I do not sigh for the wealth of earth For the joys that fade and flee, But, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, This do I long to see — The bliss untold which thy arms enfold, The Treasure upon thy knee.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, He was All-in-All to thee, In the winter’s cave, in Nazareth’s home, In the hamlets of Galilee, So, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, He will not say nay to thee, When He lifts His Face to thy sweet embrace, Speak to Him, Mother, of me.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, The world will bid Him flee, Too busy to heed His gentle voice, Too blind His charms to see, Then, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, Come with thy Babe to me, Tho’ the world be cold, my heart shall hold A shelter for Him and thee.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, What shall I do for thee? I will love thy Son with the whole of my strength, My only King shall He be. Yes! Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, This will I do for thee, Of all that are dear or cherished here, None shall be dear as He.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, I toss on a stormy sea, O lift thy Child as a Beacon Light, To the Port where I fain would be! And, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, This do I ask of thee — When the voyage is o’er, oh! stand on the shore And show Him at last to me.
Saint of the Day – 21 May – Saint Godric of Finchale (c 1070-1170) Hermit, Merchant, Pilgrim, Hymnist, Spiritual Advisor to Saints, both great and small, friend of all animals. Born in c 1070 at Walpole, Norfolk, England and died in 1170 at Finchale, County Durham, England of natural causes, Also known as – Godrick
Godric’s life was recorded by a his contemporary, a Monk named Reginald of Durham. Several other Hagiographies are also extant. According to these accounts, Godric, who began from humble beginnings as the son of Ailward and Edwenna, “both of slender rank and wealth but abundant in righteousness and virtue,” was a pedlar, then a sailor and entrepreneur and may have been the captain and owner of the ship which conveyed King Baldwin I of Jerusalem to Jaffa in 1102.
After years at sea, Godric went to the Island of Lindisfarne and there experienced a vision of St Cuthbert. This encounter changed his life and, thereafter, he devoted himself to Christianity and service to God.
After many pilgrimages around the Mediterranean, Godric returned to England and lived with an elderly hermit named Aelric for two years. Upon Aelric’s death, Godric made one last pilgrimage to Jerusalem and then returned home, where he convinced Ranulf Flambard, the Bishop of Durham, to grant him a place to live as a Hermit at Finchale near the Monastery, by the River Wear. He had previously served as doorkeeper, the lowest of the minor orders, at the hospital Church of nearby St Giles Hospital in Durham. He is recorded to have lived at Finchale for the final sixty three years of his life, occasionally meeting with visitors approved by the Prior of Finchale Monaster, under whose care and obedience he lived and died. A Monk of that house was his Confessor, said Mass for him and administered him the Sacraments in a Chapel adjoining to his cell, which the holy man had built in honour of St John the Baptist.
As the years passed, his reputation grew, and St Thomas à Becket (Martyr) (1118-1170) and Pope Alexander III, both reportedly sought Godric’s advice as a wise and holy man.
Reginald of Durham.describes Godric’s physical attributes:
For he was vigorous and strenuous in mind, whole of limb and strong in body. He was of middle stature, broad-shouldered and deep-chested, with a long face, grey eyes most clear and piercing, bushy brows, a broad forehead, long and open nostrils, a nose of comely curve and a pointed chin. His beard was thick and longer than the ordinary, his mouth well-shaped, with lips of moderate thickness, in youth, his hair was black, in age as white as snow; his neck was short and thick, knotted with veins and sinews; his legs were somewhat slender, his instep high, his knees hardened and horny with frequent kneeling; his whole skin rough beyond the ordinary, until all this roughness was softened by old age.
For several years before his death, Godric was confined to his bed by sickness and old age. Father William of Newburgh OSA, Augustinian Priest and Historian, who visited him during that time, tells us that although his body appeared in a manner dead, his tongue was ever repeating the sacred names of the Three Divine Persons and, in his countenance, there appeared a wonderful dignity, accompanied with an unusual grace and sweetness. Having remained in his desert for sixty-three years, he was seized with his last illness and happily departed to his Lord on the 21st of May, 1170,
His body was buried in the Chapel of St John Baptist. Many miracles confirmed the opinion of his sanctity and a little Chapel was built in his memory by Richard, brother to Hugh Pidsey, Bishop of Durham.
St Godric is often remembered for his affinity with and kindness toward animals and many stories recall his protection of the creatures, who lived near his forest home. According to one of these, he hid a stag from pursuing hunters; according to another, he even allowed snakes to warm themselves by his fire.
Godric lived on a diet of herbs, wild honey, acorns, crab-apples and nuts. He slept on the bare ground.
Reginald of Durham recorded four hymns of St Godric. They are the oldest hymns in English for which the original musical settings survive. Reginald describes the circumstances in which Godric learnt the first hymn. In a vision, the Virgin Mary appeared to Godric “two maidens of surpassing beauty clad in shining white raiments,” at her side. They pledged to come to his aid in times of need and the Virgin herself, taught Godric a hymn of consolation, to overcome grief or temptation Saintë Marië Virginë.
The novel Godric (1981) by Frederick Buechner is a fictional retelling of his life and travels. It was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.