The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 1: You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt

Leviticus 19:33-34 You shall love the alien as yourself

Psalm 146 The Lord watches over the strangers

Hebrews 13:1-3 Some have entertained angels without knowing it

Matthew 25:31-46 I was a stranger and you welcomed me

After becoming the first independent black republic, Haiti extended hospitality to other enslaved peoples in search of freedom. Recent times have brought severe economic hardship to Haitians, many of whom have left home, making perilous journeys in hope of a better life. In many instances they have been met with inhospitality and legal barriers. The Caribbean Council of Churches has been involved in advocacy to challenge those nations that are restricting or stripping Haitians of citizenship rights.


The Israelites’ memory of being strangers in the land of Egypt lay behind the Law’s instruction that God’s people were to welcome the stranger in their midst. The memory of their own exile was expected to prompt empathy and solidarity with contemporary exiles and strangers. Like Israel, our common Christian experience of God’s saving action goes together with remembering both alienation and estrangement – in the sense of estrangement from God and from his kingdom. This kind of Christian remembering has ethical implications. God has restored our dignity in Christ, and made us citizens of his kingdom, not because of anything we did to deserve it but by his own free gift in love. We are called to do likewise, freely and motivated by love. Christian love is to love like the Father, that is to recognize dignity and to give dignity, and thereby to help bring healing to the broken human family.


Eternal God,
You belong to no culture and land but are Lord of all,
you call us to welcome the stranger in our midst.
Help us by your Spirit,
to live as brothers and sisters,
welcoming all in your name,
and living in the justice of your kingdom.
This we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

The right hand of God
is planting in our land,
planting seeds of freedom, hope and love;
in these many-peopled lands,
let his children all join hands,
and be one with the right hand of God.


Novena to St Paul in preparation for the Feast of The Conversion of St Paul on 25 January: Day THREE – 18 January

Novena to St Paul in preparation for the Feast of The Conversion of St Paul on 25 January

Day THREE – 18 January

“Suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him…. (he) heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?…I am Jesus….” They led (Saul) by the hand” (Acts 9:3,4,5,8)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI speaks of conversion as an act of obedience toward a reality that does not originate from us, that precedes us:  the concrete God. (Joseph Ratzinger – The Nature and Mission of Theology {Ignatius, 1995 p 58})

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.
Help me to live a life of ongoing obedience to God
and conversion of my wilful heart.
Pray that I may renounce self-will
and surrender myself to my Creator
who has a plan to make me a saint.
May faith move me to believe that God can and will,
change the things in me that seem insurmountable.
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-three-st-paul - 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, NOVENAS

Novena to St Francis de Sales – Day Four: 18 January

Novena to St Francis de Sales
Day Four – 18 January

“Self-love dies only when our body dies, so we must, while we live in this land of exile, continue to counterattack its assaults on our senses and its underhanded tactics.   It is enough if we firmly withstand, giving no wilful or deliberate consent … When we feel within ourselves the first movements of self-love or of other passions, let us prostrate ourselves immediately before the heart of God and tell Him, in a spirit of confidence and humility, “Lord, have mercy on me because I am a very weak creature.”   Then let us tranquilly rest in peace and put ourselves at God’s disposal.” (St Francis de Sales Letters 1675; O. XIX, pp. 272-273)

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 long 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.DAY FOUR - ST FRANCIS DE SALES NOVENA - 18 JAN 2018jpg

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 18 January – The Memorial of St Margaret of Hungary (1242-1270)

Thought for the Day – 18 January – The Memorial of St Margaret of Hungary (1242-1270)

A young woman of extraordinary beauty, St Margaret attracted the attention of suitors even though she was a nun.   Ottokar, the king of Bohemia, was determined to marry her.   For political reasons, Béla liked the idea.   He asked Margaret to get released from her commitments and marry Ottokar.   Béla had not bargained for the steely resistance of his strong-willed daughter.   She responded to his request with defiance:

“When I was only 7-years-old, you tried to espouse me to the Polish Duke.   You will remember my answer then.   I said that I wished to serve Him only to whom you had espoused me at my birth.   As a child, I would not yield to your will in opposition to God’s claims on me.   Do you think that I am likely to give in to you now that I am older and wiser?   And am I more capable of grasping the greatness of the divine grace that has been given me?   Then, my Father, stop trying to turn me from my determination to remain a religious.   I prefer the heavenly kingdom to that which has been offered me by the King of Bohemia.   I would rather die than obey these commands of yours that will bring death to my soul.   Mark my words. If matters ever come to such a pass and I am driven to it, I will surely put an end to the whole affair by mutilating myself, so that I shall never again be desirable to any man.”

So Béla backed down.   Witnesses say that had he persisted, gritty Margaret would likely have fulfilled her threat.   Butler’s Lives of the Saints says that she performed “marvellous” service to the sick, so nauseating that its “details cannot be set out before the fastidious modern reader.”   Out of sympathy for the poor, Margaret also imitated their squalor. She so neglected all personal hygiene, for example, that she repulsed her sisters.   And for long periods she denied herself food and sleep.   Since she was a princess and the convent was built for her, no one seems to have been able to temper her excesses.

The church recognises Margaret of Hungary as a saint in spite of the traces of wilfulness and pride that seem to have marked her life.   But she excelled in charity and “love covers over many a sin” (1 Peter 4:8).   Those of us who want to be holy but have many “in-spite-ofs” to contend with, can be glad of that!

St Margaret of Hungary, pray for us!st margaret of hungary - pray for us 2 - 18 jan 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SACRAMENTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Quote/s of the Day – 18 January – “Speaking of the Holy Eucharist/Holy Mass”

Quote/s of the Day – 18 January – “Speaking of the Holy Eucharist/Holy Mass

“Let us return from that Table,
like lions breathing out fire,
terrifying to the devil!”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchlet us return from that table - st john chrysostom - 18 jan 2018

“O Sacrament of Love!
O sign of Unity!
O bond of Charity!
He who would have Life finds here indeed
a Life to live in and a Life to live by.”

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churcho sacrament of love - st augustine - 18 jan 2018

“What does the poor man do
at the rich man’s door,
the sick man in the presence of his physician,
the thirsty man at a limpid stream?
What they do, I do before the Eucharistic God.
I pray. I adore. I love.”

St Francis of Assisiwhat does the poor man do - st francis - 18 jan 2018

“Put all the good works in the world
against one Holy Mass;
they will be as a grain of sand
beside a mountain.”

St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)put all the good works - st john vianney - 18 jan 2018

“When you look at the crucifix,
you understand how much Jesus loved you then.
When you look at the Sacred Host,
you understand how much Jesus loves you now.”when you look - st mother teresa - 18 jan 2018

“Unless we believe and see Jesus
in the appearance of bread on the altar,
we will not be able to see Him
in the distressing disguise of the poor.”

St Mother Teresaunless we believe - st mother teresa - 18 jan 2018


One Minute Reflection – 18 January – The Memorial of St Margaret of Hungary (1242-1270)

One Minute Reflection – 18 January – The Memorial of St Margaret of Hungary (1242-1270)

Just as the Father who has life sent me and I have life because of the Father, so the man who feeds on me will have life because of me...John 6:57john 6 57 - 18 jan 2018

REFLECTION – “The Holy Eucharist, is a fire that purifies and consumes all our miseries and imperfections.   Do everything in your power to make yourself worthy of the Eucharist and this Divine Fire, will take care of the rest.”…St Hyacinth of Mariscotti T.O.R.(1585-1640)the holy eucharist - st hyacinth - 18 jan 2018

PRAYER – Living God, You have given me the Eucharist as my food for heavenly life.   Help me to partake of it often and so be strengthened on my pilgrim journey on earth.   Grant that St Margaret of Hungary, may add us all to her prayers, that by her intercession, we too may learn the true way home.   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, margaret of hungary - 18 jan 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 18 January

Our Morning Offering – 18 January

Daily Prayer “Grant me Grace”
By St Thomas Aquinas
(1225-1274) Doctor of the Church

Grant me grace,
O merciful God,
to desire ardently
all that is pleasing to You,
to examine it prudently,
to acknowledge it truthfully,
and to accomplish it perfectly,
for the praise and glory of Your name.
Amengrant me grace - st thomas aquinas - 18 jan 2018

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 January – St Margaret of Hungary OP (1242-1270)

Saint of the Day – 18 January – St Margaret of Hungary OP (1242-1270) – Nun and Virgin – born in 1242 and died on 18 January 1271 at Budapest, Hungary.   Her relics were given to the Poor Clares at Pozsony (modern Bratislava, Slovak Republic) when the Dominican Order in the area was dissolved, however, most of her relics were destroyed in 1789 though what remains are still preserved at Gran, Gyor, Pannonhalma, Hungary.   Patronage – against flood.   Attributes – Dominican holding a lily and a book, a princess with a lily,  Dominican in prayer with a globe of fire over her head.    Princess Margaret was a Dominican nun and the daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary and Maria Laskarina.   header - Margaret of Hungary

Margaret, the daughter of King Bela IV, champion of Christendom and Queen Mary Lascaris of Hungary, was offered to God before her birth, in petition that the country would be delivered from the terrible scourge of the Tartars.   The prayer having been answered, the king and queen made good their promise by placing the rich and beautiful three-year-old in the Dominican convent at Vesprim.   Here, in company with other children of nobility, she was trained in the arts thought fitting for royalty.

Margaret was not content with simply living in the house of God, she demanded the religious habit–and received it–at the age of four.   Furthermore, she took upon herself the austerities practised by the other sisters–fasting, hairshirts, the discipline (scourge), and night vigils.   She soon learned the Divine Office by heart and chanted it happily to herself as she went about her play.   She chose the least attractive duties of the nuns for herself.   She would starve herself to keep her spirit humble.   No one but Margaret seemed to take seriously the idea that she would one day make profession and remain as a sister, for it would be of great advantage to her father if she were to make a wise marriage.

This question arose seriously when Margaret was 12.   She responded in surprise.   She said that she had been dedicated to God, even before her birth and that she intended to remain faithful to that promise.   Some years later her father built for her a convent on the island in the Danube between Buda and Pest.   To settle the matter of her vocation, here she pronounced her vows to the master general of the order, Blessed Humbert of the Romans, in 1255 and took the veil in 1261.

Again, when Margaret was 18, her father made an attempt to sway her from her purpose, because King Ottokar of Bohemia, hearing of her beauty, had come seeking her hand.   He even obtained a dispensation from the pope and approached Margaret with the permission.   Margaret replied as she had previously, “I esteem infinitely more the King of Heaven and the inconceivable happiness of possessing Jesus Christ than the crown offered me by the King of Bohemia.”   Having established that she was not interested in any throne but a heavenly one, she proceeded with great joy to live an even more fervent religious life than she had before.

Margaret’s royal parentage was, of course, a matter of discussion in the convent.   But the princess managed to turn such conversation away from herself to the holy lives of the saints who were related to her by blood–King Saint Stephen, Saint Hedwig, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and several others.   She did not glory in her wealth or parentage, but strove to imitate the saints in their holiness.   She took her turn in the kitchen and laundry, seeking by choice much heavy work that her rank might have excused her from doing.   She was especially welcome in the infirmary, which proves that she was not a sad-faced saint and she made it her special duty to care for those who were too disagreeable for anyone else to tend.


Margaret’s austerities seem excessive to us of a weaker age.   The mysteries of the Passion were very real to her and gave reason for her long fasts, severe scourgings and other mortifications detailed in the depositions of witnesses taken seven years after her death (of which records are still in existence).   Throughout Lent she scarcely ate or slept. She not only imitated the poverty-stricken in their manual labour and hunger but also in their lack of cleanliness–a form of penance at that time.

She had a tender devotion to Our Lady and on the eve of her feasts, Margaret said a thousand Hail Mary’s.   Unable to make the long pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to Rome, or to any of the other famous shrines of Christendom, the saint developed a plan by which she could go in spirit:  she counted up the miles that lay between herself and the desired shrine and then said an Ave Maria for every mile there and back.   On Good Friday she was so overcome at the thoughts of Our Lord’s Passion that she wept all day.   She was frequently in ecstasy and very embarrassed if anyone found her so and remarked on her holiness.

A number of miracles were performed during Margaret’s lifetime and many more after her death because Margaret had an implicit faith in the power and efficacy of prayer. The princess nun was only 28 when she died.   Most of the particulars of her life are recorded in existing depositions of witnesses taken in 1277.   Her friends and acquaintances petitioned for her to be acclaimed a saint almost immediately after her death.   Among them was her own servant, Agnes, who rightly observed that this daughter of a monarch showed far more humility than any of the monastery’s maids. Although their testimony expressed Margaret’s overpowering desire to allow nothing to stand between her and God, the process of canonisation was not complete until 1943, when she was canonised on 19 November by Venerable Pope Pius XII.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 18 January

St Margaret of Hungary (1242-1270)

St Agathius the Martyr
St Ammonius of Astas
St Archelais the Martyr
Bl Beatrix of Este the Younger
Bl Charlotte Lucas
St Catus
Bl Christina Ciccarelli
St Day/Dye
St Deicola of Lure
Bl Fazzio of Verona
Bl Félicité Pricet
St Jaime Hilario Barbel Cosen
St Leobard of Tours
St Margaret of Hungary
Bl Maria Teresa Fasce
Bl Monique Pichery
St Moseus of Astas
St Prisca of Rome
St Susanna the Martyr
St Thecla the Martyr
S tUlfrid of Sverige
Bl Victoire Gusteau
St Volusian of Tours

Martyrs of Carthage – 3 saints
Martyrs of Egypt -37 saints
Martyrs of Nicaea – 3 saints