It is easy to dismiss excessive penances of the saints as the expression of a certain culture or temperament. But a woman wearing a crown of thorns may at least prod our consciences. We enjoy the most comfort-oriented life in human history. We eat too much, drink too much, use a million gadgets, fill our eyes and ears with everything imaginable. Commerce thrives on creating useless needs on which to spend our money. It seems that when we have become most like slaves, there is the greatest talk of “freedom.” Are we willing to discipline ourselves in such an atmosphere? “Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. The gift of grace increases as the struggle increases.” (St Rose of Lima)
“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna” (Matthew 18:8–9)
One Minute Reflection – 23 August – St Rose of Lima
It is in Christ….that we have been redeemed and our sins forgiven, so immeasurably generous is God’s favour (grace) to us……..Ephesians 1:7
REFLECTION – “If only we would learn how great it is to possess divine grace and how many riches it has within itself, how many joys and delights. We would devote all our concern to winning for ourselves pains and afflictions in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace.”…St Rose of Lima
PRAYER – God is all goodness, keep ever in my mind the surpassing riches of Your grace. Grant that I may devote all my efforts to co-operating with that grace and growing in it day by day. St Rose of Lima Pray for us! Amen
To You we Cry, O Queen of Mercy! By St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor mellifluus (Mellifluous Doctor)
To you we cry,
O Queen of Mercy!
Return, that we may
behold you dispensing favours,
Ah, tender Mother!
Tell your all-powerful Son
that we have no more wine.
We are thirsty after the wine of His love,
of that marvelous wine
that fills souls with a holy inebriation,
and gives them the strength to despise
the things of this world
and to seek with ardour heavenly goods.
Saint of the Day – 23 August – St Philip Benezi OSM (1233-1285) Co-Founder, Servite Priest Confessor, Superior, Reformer, Preacher, Medical Doctor. Born on15 August (Feast of the Assumption and the day that the Blessed Virgin appeared to the first of the Founders of the Servite Order) 1233 at district of Oltrarno, Florence, Italy -and died on 22 August (Octave of the Assumption i.e. the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) 1285 at Todi, Italy). Patronages – Minor Basilica of Monte Senario (Vaglia) in the Diocese of Florence, Tuscany, Italy; Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. The Church of the Servites of Mary in Todi, Umbria, contains the body of St Philip Benizi, where the Statue below resides and is the work of Bernini. St Philip was Beatified on 8 October 1645 by Pope Innocent X and Canonised on 12 April 1671 by Pope Clement X – he was first Servite to be Canonised.
Saint Philip Benizi was born in Florence on the Feast of the Assumption, 1233 of a noble family. That same day the Order of Servites was founded by the Mother of God. As an infant one year old, Philip spoke when in the presence of these new religious and announced the Servants of the Virgin. Amid all the temptations of his youth, he longed to become a Servant of Mary and it was only the fear of his own unworthiness which made him yield to his father’s wish and begin to study medicine. He received the bonnet of a doctor of medicine at Padua.
After long and weary waiting, his doubts were solved one day by Our Lady Herself, who in a vision during a Mass in Florence offered in the Servite Chapel, bade him enter Her Order. Still Philip dared only offer himself as a lay brother and saying nothing of his studies, in this humble state he strove to do penance for his sins. Two Dominican Fathers traveling with him one day recognised the great talents, wisdom and knowledge which he had succeeded in concealing. They talked to his Superiors and he was told to prepare for the priesthood. As a priest he did immense good. He pacified many dissensions, common among the city-states of those days. One day he met a leper, almost naked and having no money, gave him his tunic. When the leper put it on, he was instantly cured.
Thereafter ,honours were accorded him in rapid succession; he became General of the Order and only by flight did he escape elevation to the Papal throne; he retired to a grotto in the mountains until the conclave had ended. His preaching restored peace to Italy, wasted by civil wars. He was sent not only to various cities of that country but to the Netherlands and Germany, where he converted many, not without opposition and even a flogging by rebels. At the Council of Lyons, he spoke to the assembled prelates with the gift of tongues. Amid all these favours Philip lived in extreme penitence, constantly examining his soul before God and condemning himself as only fit for hell.
Saint Philip, although he was free from every stain of mortal sin, was never weary of beseeching God’s mercy. From the time he was ten years old he daily prayed the Penitential Psalms. On his deathbed he recited verses of the Miserere, his cheeks streaming with tears; during his agony he went through a terrible contest to overcome the fear of damnation. But a few minutes before he died, all his doubts disappeared and were succeeded by a holy trust. He uttered the responses to the final prayers in a low but audible voice and when at last the Mother of God appeared before him, he lifted up his arms with joy and breathed a gentle sigh, as if placing his soul in Her hands. He died on the Octave of the Assumption – the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 1285.
An ancient chronicle recounts that “in the time of his transfer, when the brothers took the sarcophagus in which his most holy body laid, from one part of the church to a more honourable part of the church, they noticed that all of the images in the church turned towards his precious body and kneeled in supplication, miraculously praying to him. “That same day the whole city of Todi was filled with a sweet soft smell that came from the religious reliques and having secretly opened the tomb, the brothers were clearly alerted by everyone who ran from the city, after having touched the holy reliques, they reacquired the sight of the marvelous general. The son of a widow, who died that same day, was brought to the tomb and he was immediately revived. Also many paralyzed people, handicapped people and sick people, while praying in the church that day of the transfer, were cured. So many in fact, sick and deformed came to the tomb of the man of God and returned home healthy and happy, thanking God infinitely.”
It is said that the title of “Our Lady of the Divine Providence”, came from Saint Philip Benizi, fifth superior of the Servants of Mary, who one day called out for the protection of the Virgin when the brothers had nothing to eat. St Philip then found two baskets of bread at the door of the monastery and no one knew how they got there.
Five scenes from his life were painted in the early 16th century by the Florentine Andrea del Sarto: “His Charity to a Leper,” “The Smiting of the Blasphemers,” “The Cure of the Woman Possessed with a Devil,” “The Resurrection of Two Children near the Tomb of the Saint” and “The Veneration of his Relics.” These are murals and too faded to post.
There is a Statue of him on the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. Designed in 1714, this Statue was made from Salzburg marble and donated by the Servites’ Convent in Prague. The Statue portrays him holding a Crucifix, a book and a spray. At his feet, there is the Crown of the Pope. A clay model of this statue can be found in the Salzburg museum. The second statue below is on the Colonade at St Peter’s.
St Rose of Lima (Optional Memorial)
St Abbondius of Rome
St Apollinaris of Rheims
St Archelaus of Ostia
St Asterius of Aegea
St Claudius of Aegea
St Domnina of Aegea
St Eleazar of Lyons
St Flavian of Autun
Bl Franciszek Dachtera
Bl Giacomo Bianconi of Mevania
St Ireneus of Rome
Bl Jean Bourdon
St Lupo of Novi
St Maximus of Ostia
St Minervius of Lyons
St Neon of Aegea
St Philip Benizi
St Quiriacus of Ostia
St Theonilla of Aegea
St Timothy of Rheims
St Victor of Vita
St Zaccheus of Jerusalem
Martyrs of Agea – 4 saints: A group of Christian brothers, Asterius, Claudius and Neon, denounced by their step-mother who were then tortured and martyred in the persecutions of Pro-consul Lysias. They were crucified in 285 outside the walls of Aegea, Cilicia (in Asia Minor) and their bodies left for scavengers.
Martyred in the Spanish Civl War:
• Blessed Constantino Carbonell Sempere
• Blessed Estanislau Sans Hortoneda
• Blessed Florentín Pérez Romero
• Blessed José Polo Benito
• Blessed Lorenzo Ilarregui Goñi
• Blessed Manuela Justa Fernández Ibero
• Blessed Mariano García Méndez
• Blessed Nicolás Alberich Lluch
• Blessed Pere Gelabert Amer
• Blessed Petra María Victoria Quintana Argos
• Blessed Ramón Grimaltos Monllor
• Blessed Urbano Gil Sáez
• Blessed Vicente Alberich Lluch