“Conversion to Christ,” says Pope Benedict XVI, “ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need – the need of others and of God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship.”
LET US PRAY:
Glorious St Paul,
your conversion is a powerful witness to the world
that God loves us and does not give up on us,
no matter how far we stray.
May every circumstante of my life be an occasion
to change my way of thinking,
to renounce self-will and
to surrender myself to the wisdom and tenderness of Jesus Christ
who is acting to make me His saint.
Pray that I may love God’s will and providence for me.
In this confidence, I entrust to you, St Paul,
these, my intentions
(mention your request)
I ask this through Christ, Our Lord, amen.
St Paul Pray for us!
Day SIX “Do not pay any attention to the kind of work you do, but rather to the honour that it brings to God, even though it may seem quite trivial. Desire only to do the Divine Will, following Divine Providence, which is the disposition of Divine Wisdom. In a word, if your works are pleasing to God and recognized as such, that is all that matters. Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God’s will.” (St Francis de Sales Letters 280; O. XIII, p. 53)
O blessed Francis de Sales,
who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbour,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people, especially …………….
(names of those whom you wish to include)
may experience the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven even as I walk each day
with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble in my attempt to follow Christ and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern that I now lift up in prayer.
(mention your particular need)
O God, for the salvation of all, you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many along the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we, infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit may experience eternal life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.
Many saints, like St Sebastian, are merely names in history and little is known of their lives and their deaths. But something of their example remained aglow in the memories of their contemporaries, who passed on their stories to future Christians. They are remembered for their heroic witness to Christ – that is what is treasured – they express the very substance of the faith, and their names are immortal.
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.”
May the Lord….make you overflow with love for one another and for all……….1 Thes 3:12
REFLECTION – “The means for attaining perfect love is to accomplish frequent acts of love.
Fire is kindled by the wood that we cast into it and love is enkindled by acts of love.”……..St Alphonsus Liguori
PRAYER – Loving Father, grant me the grace to strive after perfect love. Help me to bring forth frequent acts of love so that I may grow in this greatest of virtues, even if, like St Sebastian, through my love for others, I should suffer and die for You. St Sebastian Pray for us, amen!
Our Morning Offering – 20 January
I love You, O my God
and my only desire is to love You
until the last breath of my life.
I love You, O my infinitely lovable God,
and I would rather die loving You,
than live for an instant without loving You.
I love you, O my God
and I desire only to go to heaven
to have the happiness of loving You perfectly.
I love You, O my God
and my only fear is to go to hell
because one will not have
the sweet solace of loving You there.
O my God,
if my tongue cannot say at all times that I love You,
at least I want my heart to repeat it to You as I breathe.
Ah! Do me the grace to suffer while loving You,
to love You while suffering.
And, that when I die, I not only will love You
but experience it in my heart.
I beg You that the closer I come to my final end,
You will increase and perfect my love for You, amen.
Saint/s of the Day – 20 January – Fabian & Sebastian
Fabian was a pope, and Sebastian was believed to be a soldier. Both were faithful to Christ until death. The traditional story told about Saint Sebastian is that he was an army officer who was condemned to death for his belief in Jesus. His fellow soldiers shot him with arrows. Surviving this, he was clubbed to death.
More is known about Saint Fabian (born c200-250) who was pope in 236 during unstable political times. Philip, an ambitious and ruthless man, killed Emperor Maximus and made himself emperor. Later, he regretted his behavior and changed the government policy from persecution of Christians to tolerance for them. For the first time, being a Christian was legal but peace for the Christians did not last long. Philip was killed by his lieutenant, Decius, who became the next emperor. Decius believed that his empire could be saved only if the pagan customs of ancient Rome were restored. He sent an edict that commanded the death penalty for all who would not give up their following of Christ. Pope Fabian eagerly died for the faith. Following his example, many Christians died as martyrs, though many others denied their faith in Christ.
St Sebastian (c256-287) – Captain of the Praetorian Guard, Roman Soldier and Martyr – Patron of against cattle disease, against plague, diseased cattle, dying people, plague victims, against enemies of religion, of archers, rmourers, arrowsmiths, athletes, bookbinders, letchers, gardeners, gunsmiths, hardware stores, ironmongers, lace makers, lace workers, lead workers, masonary workers, police officers, racquet makers,
soldiers, stone masons, stonecutters, Pontifical Swiss Guards, World Youth Day 2013,
Bacolod, Philippines, diocese of Tarlac, Philippines, 21 cities
St Sebastian is one of the great heroes of the early Church and has been venerated since his death during the Great Persecution of Diocletian. According to St Ambrose, he was born in Narbonne, in France but was raised in Milan. The persecution began under Decius continued under Diocletian and the days were difficult for Christians. This was in the final throes of the Roman Empire to stamp out Christianity and it failed, in fact is strengthened.
Little is known with certainty about Sebastian’s life except that he came from Milan, the fact that he was a soldier and some of the details of his martyrdom. An early account of his martyrdom is that he was shot with arrows by his fellow soldiers but recovered through the ministrations of fellow Christians, in particular St Irene. Once he regained health, Sebastian stood by a staircase where the emperor was to pass and harangued Diocletian for his cruelties against Christians. This freedom of speech and from a person whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus, where now stands the Basilica of St. Sebastian.
Sebastian was said to be a defense against the plague. The Golden Legend transmits the episode of a great plague that afflicted the Lombards in the time of King Gumburt, which was stopped by the erection of an altar in honour of Sebastian in the Church of Saint Peter in the Province of Pavia.
An ancient window in the Cathedral of Strasbourg shows him as a knight with a sword and shield and he has long been invoked as the patron of soldiers, with St Martin of Tours. Because of the legend of his being pierced with arrows, he is the patron of archers.
His name has always been linked with that of St Fabian, Pope and Martyr.
St Fabian, Pope (Optional Memorial)
St Sebastian (Optional Memorial)
St Ascla of Antinoe
Bl Basil Anthony Marie Moreau
St Basilides the Senator
St Bassus the Senator
Bl Benedict Ricasoli
Bl Bernardo of Poncelli
Bl Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi
St Daniel of Cambron
Bl Didier of Thérouanne
St Eusebius the Senator
St Eustochia Calafato
St Euthymius the Great
St Eutyches the Senator
Fechin of Fobhar
Bl Francesco Paoli
St Henry of Uppsalla
Bl Jeroni Fábregas Camí
St Maria Cristina dell’Immacolata Concezione
St Molagga of Fermoy
St Neophytus of Nicaea
St Stephen Min Kuk-ka