LENTEN REFLECTION – Monday of the First Week of Lent – 6 MARCH
Let us glory in temptation
by St Ambrose (339-397 AD) – Doctor of the Church
The devil does not have only one weapon. He uses many different means to defeat human beings: now with bribery, now with boredom, now with greed he attacks, inflicting mental and physical wounds equally.
The kind of temptation varies with the different kinds of victim. Avarice is the test of the rich, loss of children that of parents and everyone is exposed to pain of mind or body. What a wealth of weapons is at the devil’s disposal!
It was for this reason that the Lord chose to have nothing to lose. He came to us in poverty so that the devil could find nothing to take away from Him. You see the truth of this when you hear the Lord himself saying:
“The prince of this world is come and has found nothing in me” [John 14:30]. The devil could only test him with bodily pain but this too was useless because Christ despised bodily suffering.
Job was tested by his own goods, whereas Christ was tempted, during the experience of the wilderness, by the goods of all. In fact, the devil robbed Job of his riches and offered Christ the kingdom of the whole world. Job was tested by vexations, Christ by prizes. Job the faithful servant replied: “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away” [Job 1:21] Christ, being conscious of His own divine nature, scorned the devil’s offering of what already belonged to Him.
So let us not be afraid of temptations. Rather, let us glory in them saying: “When I am weak, then am I strong.” [2 Cor. 12:10].
Like St Joan of Arc, St Colette had a mission from the Lord and, when she was sure of that mission, gave her whole life to it. In her day, holiness had declined even among religious and she was determined to recover a life of holiness for the daughters of St Francis and St Clare. No obstacles turned her back, for God was on her side. With God, she believed she could and she did, accomplish all things ……. and THIS is the message to you and me – with God on our side WE CAN!
Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer…….Romans 12:11-12
REFLECTION – “I dedicate myself in health, in illness, in my life, in my death, in all my desires, in all my deeds so that I may never work henceforth except for Your glory, for the salvation of souls and towards the reform for which you have chosen me. From this moment on, dearest Lord, there is nothing which I am not prepared to undertake for love of You.”………………..St Colette
PRAYER – “We must faithfully keep what we have promised. If through human weakness we fail, we must always without delay arise again by means of holy penance, and give our attention to leading a good life and to dying a holy death. May the Father of all mercy, the Son by his holy passion and the Holy Spirit, source of peace, sweetness and love, fill us with their consolation. Amen.” (Prayer of St Colette) St Colette Pray for us!
Saint of the Day – 6 March – St Colette PCC. (1381-1447) -aged 66, Abbess and Foundress of the Colettine Poor Clares, a reform branch of the Order of Saint Clare, better known as the Poor Clares. Patron against eye disorders, against fever, against headaches, against infertility, against the death of parents, of women seeking to conceive, expectant mothers and sick children craftsmen, Poor Clares, servants, Corbie, France, Ghent, Belgium.
She was born Nicole Boellet (or Boylet) in the village of Corbie, in the Picardy region of France, on 13 January 1381, to Robert Boellet, a poor carpenter at the noted Benedictine Abbey of Corbie and to his wife, Marguerite Moyon. Her contemporary biographers say that her parents had grown old without having children, before praying to Saint Nicholas for help in having a child. Their prayers were answered when, at the age of 60, Marguerite gave birth to a daughter. Out of gratitude, they named the baby after the saint to whom they credited the miracle of her birth. She was affectionately called Nicolette by her parents, which soon came to be shorted to Colette, by which name she is known.
After her parents died in 1399, Colette joined the Beguines, she was seventeen but found their manner of life unchallenging. She received the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis in 1402 and became a hermit under the direction of the Abbot of Corbie, living near the abbey church.
Renewing religious institutions is not easy. We would expect a person chosen to reform convents and monasteries to be formidable. Maybe even physically tall, overbearing, and somewhat threatening. God, however, doesn’t seem to agree. For example, in the fifteenth century he selected St. Colette, a young woman the opposite of these characteristics, to call Franciscans to strict observance of the rules of St. Clare and St. Francis.
Not that Colette was unimpressive. She was a beautiful woman whose radiant inner strength attracted people. However, her spirituality, her commitment to God, and her heart for souls, not her physical qualities, suited her for her reforming mission.
St. Francis appeared to her in a vision and charged her to restore the Poor Clares to their original austerity. When Friar Henry de Beaume came in 1406 to conform her mission, Colette had the door of her hut torn down, a sign that her solitude was over and her work begun. And she then prayed her commitment:
“I dedicate myself in health, in illness, in my life, in my death, in all my desires, in all my deeds so that I may never work henceforth except for your glory, for the salvation of souls, and towards the reform for which you have chosen me. From this moment on, dearest Lord, there is nothing which I am not prepared to undertake for love of you.”
Colette’s first reports to reform convents met vigorous opposition. Then she sought the approval of the Avignon pope, Benedict XIII, who professed her as a Poor Clare and put her in charge of all convents she would reform. He also appointed Henry de Beaume to assist her. Thus equipped, she launched her reform in 1410 with the Poor Clares at Besancon. Before her death in 1447, the saint had founded or renewed seventeen convents and several friaries throughout France, Savoy, Burgundy, and Spain.
Like Francis and Clare, Colette devoted herself to Christ crucified, spending every Friday meditating on the passion. She is said to have miraculously received a piece of the cross, which she gave to St.Vincent Ferrer when he came to visit her.
St. Joan of Arc once passed by Colette’s convent in Moulins but there is no evidence that the two met. Like Joan, Colette was a visionary. Once, for instance, she saw souls falling from grace in great numbers, like flakes in a snowstorm. Afterward she prayed daily for the conversion of sinners. She personally brought many strays back to Christ and helped them unravel their sinful patterns. At age sixty-six, Colette foretold her death, received the sacrament of the sick and died at her convent in Ghent, Flanders.
Miracles Helping a mother in childbirth While traveling to Nice to meet Pope Benedict, Colette stayed at the home of a friend. His wife was in labour at that time with their third child and was having major difficulties in he childbirth, leaving her in danger of death. Colette immediately went to the local church to pray for her. The mother gave birth successfully and survived the ordeal. She credited Colette’s prayers for this. The child born, a girl named Pierinne, later entered a monastery founded by Colette. She would become Colette’s secretary and biographer.
Saving a sick child After the pope had authorised Colette to establish a regimen of strict poverty in the Poor Clare monasteries of France, she started with that of Besançon. The local populace was suspicious of her reform, with its total reliance on them for the sustenance of the monastery. One incident helped turn this around. According to legend, a local peasant woman gave birth to a stillborn child. In desperation, out of fear for the child’s soul, the father took the baby to the local parish priest for baptism. Seeing that the child was already dead, the priest refused to baptise the body. When the man became insistent, out of frustration, the priest told him to go to the nuns, which he did immediately. When he arrived at the monastery, Mother Colette was made aware of his situation by the portress. Her response was to take off the veil given to her by the Pope, when he gave her the habit of the Second Order and told the portress to have the father wrap the child’s body in it and for him to return to the priest. By the time he arrived at the parish church with his small bundle, the child was conscious and crying. The priest immediately baptised the baby.
Colette was beatified 23 January 1740, by Pope Clement XII and was canonized 24 May 1807 by Pope Pius VII.
You call us back to You
to come with all the strength of our hearts.
I feel Your call to me deep inside
and I know You want me to come to You
as much as I wish to return and give You my all.
give me the wisdom to know how to
make my journey to You this Lent.
And fill me with Your grace,
forgiveness and gentle love.
St Baldred of Strathclyde
St Baldred the Hermit
St Balther of Lindisfarne
St Basil of Bologna
St Chrodegang of Metz
St Cyriacus of Trier
St Cyril of Constantinople
St Evagrius of Constantinople
Fridolin Vandreren of Säckingen
Bl Guillermo Giraldi
St Heliodorus the Martyr
Bl Jordan of Pisa
St Julian of Toledo
St Kyneburga of Castor
St Kyneswide of Castor
St Marcian of Tortona
Bl Ollegarius of Tarragona
St Patrick of Malaga
St Rose of Viterbo
Bl Sylvester of Assisi
St Tibba of Castor
St Venustus of Milan
Martyrs of Amorium – 42 saints – Also known as Martyrs of Syria and Martyrs of Samarra
A group of 42 Christian senior officials in the Byzantine empire who were captured by forces of the Abbasid Caliphate when the Muslim forces overran the city of Amorium, Phrygia in 838 and massacred or enslaved its population. The men were imprisoned in Samarra, the seat of the Caliphate, for seven years. Initially thought to be held for ransom due to their high position in the empire, all attempts to buy their freedom were declined. The Caliph repeatedly ordered them to convert to Islam and sent Islamic scholars to the prison to convince them; they refused until the Muslims finally gave up and killed them. Martyrs. We know the names and a little about seven of them:
• Constantine Baboutzikos
• Theodore Krateros
but details about the rest have disappeared over time. However, a lack of information did not stop several legendary and increasingly over-blown “Acts” to be written for years afterward. One of the first biographers, a monk name Euodios, presented the entire affair as a judgement by God on the empire for its official policy of Iconoclasm.
• beheaded on 6 March 845 in Samarra (in modern Iraq) on the banks of the Euphrates river by Ethiopian slaves
• the bodies were thrown into the river, but later recovered by local Christians and given proper burial
Martyrs of Nicomedia