Lenten Reflection – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Lenten Reflection – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Jeremiah 18:18-20, Psalms 31:5-6, 14-16, Matthew 20:17-28

Jeremiah 18:18-19 – Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue and let us not heed any of his words.” Give heed to me, O LORD and hearken to my plea.

Psalm 31:5 & 13-14 – Into thy hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. Yea, I hear the whispering of many – terror on every side! – as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.”

Matthew 20:26-28 – It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”wed of the second week - 28 feb 2018

There are several ways in which we can get things wrong on our journey to God and this season of Lent is a good time to become aware of them.

Firstly, we must not be taken by surprise if trying to follow God’s lead brings us persecution and hatred. Jeremiah in today’s first reading is not at all pleased with this state of affairs and is quite firm in his demands that his God should rescue him.

The psalmist is facing a similar situation (“terror all aound me”) and he is not exactly delighted that his life is in danger. However, he does not make any complaints, simply places his life confidently into the hands of God.

In the Gospel, Jesus is for the third time privately predicting to his slightly dim-witted disciples (though it is easy for us at this distance to second-guess the disciples – you? me? – have we done any better?) what is going to happen to Him and it is at least, as bas as what faces Jermiah, except for the last part of the prediction, which we hardly ever notice “and on the third day he will be raised.” That, however, is not what goes wrong. The failure on the part of His hearers is that of the mother of the sons of Zebedee. So James and John have to have it explained to them that Jesus’ way is the way of death.

Not that the other apostles are any better and now it is their turn to get things wrong, as they turn crossly on the two brothers. This is presumably not because they are shocked that James and John had so radically misunderstood Jesus but because, they had got ahead in the power-game.

For, the odd thing is – and at this point in Lent we shall do well to remind ourselves of it – that we are following a Lord who came not to be served but to serve – and to give His life!

On my journey to the Resurrection, do I trust God despite the difficulties I encounter?
Are there times in my life where I exercise power over others and delight in it?
Am I really one who serves?

Fr Nicholas King – The Lenten Journey to Easter

Loyalty to You 
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

O my God, my whole life has been a course of mercies and blessings shown to one who has been most unworthy of them.
I require no faith, for I have had long experience as to Your Providence toward me.
Year after year, You have carried me on, refreshed me, borne with me, directed me, sustained me.
O forsake me not when my strength fails me.
And You never will forsake me.
I may rest upon Your arm; I may go to sleep in Your bosom.
Only give me and increase in me, that true loyalty to You, which is the bond of the covenant between You and me and the pledge in my own heart and conscience that You, the Supreme God, will not forsake me, the most miserable of Your children!o my god, my whole life - bl john henry newman - 28 feb 2018


Thought for the Day – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Thought for the Day – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

“The cup that Jesus speaks about is neither a symbol of death nor a symbol of victory.
It is a symbol of life, filled with sorrows and joys, that we can hold, lift and drink
as a blessing and a way to salvation. “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?”,
Jesus asks us. It is a question that will have a different meaning every day of our lives.
Can we embrace fully the sorrows and joys that come to us day after day?

Drinking the cup that Jesus drank is living a life in and with the spirit of Jesus, which is
the spirit of unconditional love. The intimacy between Jesus and His Father is an
intimacy of complete trust….it is only love – pure, unrestrained and ultimate love.
That intimacy gave Jesus the strength to drink the cup.

That same intimacy Jesus wants to give us so that we can drink ours!”

Fr Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) (Can you drink the Cup)the intimacy between jesus and his father - 28 feb 2018-henri nouwen


Quote of the Day – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Quote of the Day – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

“Does our life become from day to day more painful,
more oppressive, more replete with sufferings?
Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so.
If life be harder, love makes it also stronger 
and only this love, grounded on suffering,
can carry the Cross of my Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Blessed Miguel Pro – Martyr (1891-1927)DOES OUR LIFE BECOME-BL MIGUEL PRO


One Minute Reflection – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent and the Memorial of Blessed Stanislaw Antoni Trojanowski (1908-1942) Martyr

One Minute Reflection – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent and the Memorial of Blessed Stanislaw Antoni Trojanowski (1908-1942) Martyr

But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”…Matthew 20:22

REFLECTION – “The task of the heart is self-preservation, holding together what is its own.   The pierced Heart of Jesus has truly… overturned this definition.   This Heart is not concerned with self-preservation but with self-surrender.   It saves the world by opening itself.   The collapse of the opened Heart is the content of the Easter Mystery.   The Heart saves, indeed, but it saves, by giving itself away.”…Pope Benedict XVIthe task of the heart is self-preservation - pope benedict xvi - 28 feb 2018

PRAYER – We give You thanks Holy God and Father, for sending us Your Son to teach us how to love, to teach us that only in giving ourselves may we receive ourselves.   Our hearts are made of stone but You O God, can turn them into flesh and teach us to open our hearts completely to the way of the Cross.   May the Martyr Blessed Stanislaw Trojanowski, offer his prayers for us, as we strive to learn, as he did, this way our Lord taught us.   Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, stanislaw trojanowski pray for us - 28 feb 2018


Our Morning Offering – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Our Morning Offering – 28 February 2018 – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Heart Of Jesus
By Blessed Miguel Pro – Martyr (1891-1927)

I believe, O Lord
but strengthen my faith,
Heart of Jesus, I love Thee
but increase my love.
Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee,
but give greater vigour
to my confidence.
Heart of Jesus,
I give my heart to Thee,
but so enclose it in Thee
that it may never
be separated from Thee.
Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine,
but take care of my promise
so that I may be able
to put it into practice even unto
the complete sacrifice of my life.
Amenheart of jesus - bl miguel pro - 28 feb 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 28 February – Blessed Stanislaw Antoni Trojanowski (1908-1942) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 28 February – Blessed Stanislaw Antoni Trojanowski (1908-1942) Martyr  and Religious Brother – also known as:  Tymoteusz, Timoteo Trojanowski, Stanislaw Tymoteusz Trojanowski,   prisoner 25431.   Born on 29 July 1908 in Sadlowo, Mazowieckie, diocese of Plock, Poland – 28 February 1942 in the death camp hospital at Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Malopolskie, Nazi-occupied Poland of pneumonia.   He was Beatified on 13 June 1999 by St Pope John Paul II.


In the Auschwitz death camp near Krakow in Poland, Blessed Timoteusz Trojanowski, a Brother of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual and martyr, who, during the domination of his homeland under a regime hostile to humanity and religion, exhausted by tortures suffered for confessing his Christian faith, brought to fruition his martyrdom.

Stanislaw Antoni was born 29 July 1908 in the village of Sadlowo, in the diocese of Plock, parents and Ignacy Franciszka Zebkiewicz.   The precarious economic situation of the family led him to work from an early age.   This involved poor attendance at primary school.   On 5 March 1930 he entered the convent of Friars Minor Conventual and Niepokalanow (founded by St Maximillian Kolbe) and on 6 January 1931 he was able to begin his novitiate with the name of Tymoteusz.   He made a simple profession of vows on 2 February 1932 and professed his solemn vows on 11 February 1935.   His whole religious life was held in Niepokalanow, working in the shipping department of the magazine “Knights of the Immaculate Conception” in the warehouse and infirmary, where he devoted himself to the sick brethren.

On 3 May 1937, he reported to his superior his wish to go on a mission “anywhere, anytime, provided the will of God.”

He was disciplined and faithful to his vocation, had great confidence on the part of his famous superior, Father Kolbe.

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he chose to remain at Niepokalanow.   On 14 October 1941 he was arrested by the Gestapo with six brothers, including a Friar Bonifacy and locked up in prison in Warsaw because they were Catholics.   In prison he was able to devote much time to prayer, bolstering the courage to others.

On 8 January 1942 he was again deported with Bonifacy to the concentration camp of Oswiecim with the number 25431.   He was originally intended for the transport of construction materials, then the excavation and transport of gravel and finally to the collection of rapeseed.   He endured, with great courage, the hunger, cold and hard work.   He never lost heart, always encouraging others to trust in the protection of God.   The cold caused the pneumonia that led to his death in the hospital at the death camp on 28 February 1942.   (From the translated Roman Martyrology)


Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 28 February

St Abercius
Bl Antonia of Florence
St Augustus Chapdelaine
St Caerealis
St Caerealis of Alexandria
St Cyra of Beroea
Bl Daniel Brottier
St Ermine
St Gaius of Alexandria
St Pope Hilary/Hilarius
St Justus the Potter
St Llibio
St Macarius the Potter
St Maidoc
St Marana of Beroea
St Oswald of Worcester
St Proterius of Alexandria
St Pupulus of Alexandria
St Romanus of Condat
St Ruellinus of Treguier
St Rufinus the Potter
St Serapion of Alexandria
St Sillan of Bangor
Bl Stanislaw Antoni Trojanowski  (1908-1942) Martyr
St Theophilus the Potter
Bl Villana de’Botti

Martyrs of Alexandria – A number of clerics and layman who died as martyrs of charity for ministering to the sick during a plague that ravaged Alexandria, Egypt in 261.

Martyrs of Unzen – 16 lay people martyred together in one of the periodic anti-Christian persecutions in imperial Japan – They were martyred on 28 February 1627 in Unzen, Japan and Beatified on 24 November 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI.
• Alexius Sugi Shohachi
• Damianus Ichiyata
• Dionisius Saeki Zenka
• Gaspar Kizaemon
• Gaspar Nagai Sohan
• Ioannes Araki Kanshichi
• Ioannes Heisaku
• Ioannes Kisaki Kyuhachi
• Leo Nakajima Sokan
• Ludovicus Saeki Kizo
• Ludovicus Shinzaburo
• Maria Mine
• Paulus Nakajima
• Paulus Uchibori Sakuemon
• Thomas Kondo Hyoemon
• Thomas Uzumi Shingoro


Lenten Reflection – 27 February 2018 – Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent, Year B and the Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

Lenten Reflection – 27 February 2018 – Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent, Year B and the Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

Isaiah 1:10, 16-20, Psalms 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23, Matthew 23:1-12

Isaiah 1:10 – Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
Psalm 50:8-9 – I do not reprove you for your sacrifices;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will accept no bull from your house,
nor he-goat from your folds.
Matthew 23:2-3 – “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice…
All their actions are done to be seen by others, for they broaden their CLERICAL COLLARS and lengthen their CHASUBLES.”tuesday of the second week - 27 feb 2018

God often works by shocking us (otherwise we should drift into comfortable complacency).   Today’s readings are very shocking indeed.
First of all you have Isaiah calling the religious leaders of his time and place “rulers of Sodom” and his compatriots, ‘peoples of Gomorrah” and as they digest this he bellows at them:  “Wash! Make yourselves clean!” and reminds them – that is us of course, of how much they have got wrong and how much they have still to put right.
But there is hope, nevertheless, ‘come now, let us reason together’, says God disarmingly.

And the Psalm today offers another shock.   Suddenly, it is the sacrificial system that is thrown into doubt.   God is apparently bored by all these sacrifices – unless they are accompanied by internal reform, they are of not value.   And this Lent, the same applies to all of us, of course!

Finally, the Gospel brings yet another shock, as Jesus lays into the Pharisees and scribes. Now, we must be beware of nodding wisely as we listen and saying ‘quite right Jesus, they had it coming to them’, for the scribes and the Pharisees are you and me, anyone who exercises any kind of Christian leadership and so ‘I have translated the word ‘phylactery’ as ‘clerical collar’ and ‘hem’ as ‘chasuble’.   For all these criticisms can be laid against us all and this Lent we need to look closely at this fact!   (Fr Nicholas King S.J. – Daily Meditations for Lent)

Our task, by contrast, is to ‘humble ourselves’ as Jesus did in the awfulness of the Cross and from that plight it is possible for God to rescue us.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of our failings in order to start that turn back toward God. Many of us are unaware that we are in the pig pen like the prodigal before he realised his state and sought his father’s house.

Where in my life could I be more humble?
Where do I seek recognition, honour or positions of power, perhaps to the detriment of my neighbour?
Has power gone to my head?


“We can only find our happiness on earth in loving God and we can only love Him in prayer to Him.   We see that Jesus Christ, to encourage us often to have recourse to Him through prayer, promises never to refuse us anything if we pray for it as we should.   But there is no need to go looking for elaborate and roundabout ways of showing you that we should pray often, for you have only to open your catechism and you will see there that the duty of every good Christian is to pray morning and evening and often during the day — that is to say, always….

Which of us, my dear brethren, could, without tears of compassion, listen to those poor Christians who dare to say that they have not time to pray?   You have not the time!   Poor blind creatures, which is the more precious action:  to strive to please God and to save your soul, or to go out to feed your animals in the stable or to call your children or your servants in order to send them out to till the earth or to tidy up the stable?   Dear God!   How blind man is! …. You have not the time!   But tell me, ungrateful creatures, if God had called you to die that night, would you have exerted yourselves?   If He had sent you three or four months of illness, would you have exerted yourselves?   Go away, you miserable creatures;  you deserve to have God abandon you in your blindness and leave you thus to perish.   We find that it is too much to give Him a few minutes to thank Him for the graces which He is giving us at every instant! ….

You must get on with your work, you say.

That, my dear people, is where you are greatly mistaken.  You have no other work to do except to please God and to save your souls.   All the rest is not your work.   If you do not do it, others will, but if you lose your soul, who will save it?”

St John Vianney (1786-1859)

And now, my heavy laden soul,
what will you do?
You call with your lips and voice to
God most high,
God, who cares only for deeds and
is not taken in by words.
You, my soul, with a heart always turned toward Egypt,
how can I describe you?

Am I
a Sodom, to be punished likewise with destruction, 
or the prosecutor of Ninevah, who was struck dumb? 

Am I
more cowardly and barbarous than the
queen of the south, 
lower than Canaan, 
more stubborn than Amalek,
incurable as the city of idols, 
a relic left behind from the rebellion of Israel,
a reminder of the broken covenant of Judah, 
more reproachable than Tyre, 
more shunned than Zidon, 
more immoral than Galilee,
more unpardonable than faithless Capernaum,
maligned like Korazin, 
slandered like Bethsaida? 

Or am I
immodest as Ephraim as he grayed,
or a dove, whose gentleness seems due to
feeblemindedness and not to inner calm, 
or an evil serpent born of lion’s cubs,
or the serpent’s egg filled with decay,
or like the last blow against Jerusalem?

Or am I
in the words of our Lord
and the sayings of the prophets,
an abandoned tabernacle about to collapse,
the unlatched doors of the stronghold,
my speaking edifice stained again,
having given up my rightful inheritance,
my home built by God,
as Moses, David and Jeremiah prophesied?  
My thinking body now consumed by disease,
afflicted with carping counsel, rehabilitated by the law,
anointed with the clay of mildness,
incapable of finding my own salvation,
torn away from the maker’s hand,
expelled as just punishment
by order of the Almighty, to an unholy place,
rejected, exiled, greatly shunned, nothing spared,
having buried my gift in the ground, 
like the one chastised in the Gospel by
losing his inheritance.

But you, God,
Lord of souls and all flesh,
in the words of one divinely graced, 
You are long-suffering and abounding in mercy.
In the voice of blessed Jonah,
grant that I finish to Your delight
this book of prayers, now begun.
And having sown these words with tears
and set forth on this journey toward the dwellings You have prepared,
may I return joyfully in the time of harvest
with the bounty of atonement,
with sheaves of goodness and the fruits of delight.

St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Churchbut you God - st gregory of narek - 27 feb 2018


Thought for the Day – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church and Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent, Year B 2018

Thought for the Day – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church and Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent, Year B 2018

We welcome you, St Gregory of Narek, as our newest Doctor of the Universal Church, with gratitude and joy!
Gregory’s Book of Lamentations was the source of consolation and guidance for generations in times of immense suffering. His monastery survived for a thousand years but was destroyed by the Turks during the genocide.
Armenians lost Narek but they still have the book they call by that name “Narek”, in his honour and many Armenians have traditionally slept with a copy of the work under their pillows.
The words of Gregory, too, are consonant with Pope Francis’ call on all Catholics to reach out to God in our brokenness with humble and contrite hearts.
Perhaps we should allow St Gregory to help us through our Lenten journey this year?
As Gregory wrote in the Lamentations, “Hear the prayers of my embattled heart for mercy, when I cry out to you, ‘Lord,’ in my time of need.”

St Gregory of Narek- Doctor of the Universal Church, pray for us!st-gregory-of-narek-pray-for-us-27 feb march 2018.3

All you Holy Martyrs and Saints of Armenia, pray for us!armenian-martyrs-ico-pray-for-us-27 feb 2017


Quote of the Day – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

Quote of the Day – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

“You found me,
a sinner,
lost in darkness
crying like
the psalmist in prayer,
and because of
Your willing care
you were called Shepherd,
for not only
did You care
but You sought,
not only did You find,
O worker of miracles
but with the goodness
of Your love,
a love that
defies description,
You rescued me,
lifting me upon
Your shoulders,
to set me down alongside
Your heavenly army,
the heirs to
Your fatherly legacy. ”

St Gregory of Narek (Book of Lamentations)you found me a sinner - st gregory of narek - 27 feb 2018


One Minute Reflection – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

One Minute Reflection – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken…“…Matthew 12:36.

REFLECTION – “But so that I do not become tedious and long-winded, let me compress my words, words I say echoing the blessed David in his inspired voice, “I seek you with all my heart.”…St Gregory of Narekbut so that i do not become tedious - st gregory of narek - 27 feb 2018

PRAYER – God of goodness, teach us Your ways.   Do not let us waste a moment in futile and worthless words and deeds but help us to seek and to find You.   Grant that by the prayers of St Gregory, we may follow the steps of Your Son, so that we may be found worthy to stand with him and with all the saints, praising You with our hearts and words, gregory of narek pray for us - 27 feb 2018

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

Our Morning Offering – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

Our Morning Offering – 27 February – The Memorial of St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

I Long Not so Much for the Gifts as for the Giver
By St Gregory of Narek (950-1003)

I long not so much for the gifts
as for the Giver.
I yearn not so much for the glory
as the Glorified.
I burn not so much with the desire for life
as in memory of the Giver of Life.
I sigh not so much with the rapture of splendour
as with the heartfelt fervour for its Maker.
I seek not so much for rest
as for the Face of our Comforter.
I pine not so much for the bridal feast
as for the distress of the Groom,
through whose strength I wait with certain
expectation believing with unwavering hope
that in spite of the weight of my transgressions
I shall be saved by the Lord’s mighty hand and
that I will not only receive remission of sins
but that I will see the Lord Himself
in His mercy and compassion.l long not so much for the gift but for the giver - st gregory of narek - 27 feb 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of Day – 27 February – St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

Saint of Day – 27 February – St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church – Armenian monk, poet, mystical philosopher, theologian, writer and saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Catholic Church, born into a family of writers.   Based in the monastery of Narek (Narekavank), he was “Armenia’s first great poet”and as “the watchful angel in human form”.header - st gregory of narek

Born circa 950 to a family of scholarly churchmen, St Gregory entered Narek Monastery on the south-east shore of Lake Van at a young age.   Shortly before the first millennium of Christianity, Narek Monastery was a thriving centre of learning.   These were the relatively quiet, creative times before the Turkic and Mongol invasions that changed Armenian life forever.   Armenia was experiencing a renaissance in literature, painting, architecture and theology, of which St Gregory was a leading figure.   The Prayer Book is the work of his mature years.  He called it his last testament:  “its letters like my body, its message like my soul.”    His best-known writings include a commentary on the Song of Songs and his “Book of Lamentations,” more commonly known as “Narek.”   St Gregory left this world in 1003 but his voice continues to speak to us for all earthly time.

st gregory of narek portrait

Pope Francis named the tenth century Armenian monk, St Gregory Narek, the 36th Doctor of the Church on 21 Feb 2015.   I love the writing of St Gregory!   He’s a poet to the core and demonstrated amply, like the Hebrew prophets, that beauty is the truest form of divine discourse.  Many of his theological and mystical-ascetical works are written as a colloquy — a dialogue with God — as was St Augustine’s autobiography, the Confessions. Theological colloquy offers such a deep insight into the nature of theological discourse which must always be, in the first instance, a dialogue with the revealing God Himself. God reveals to us not mere data for speculative consideration but Himself for consummating union.

And, true to Pope Francis’ pastoral style, this doctor is chosen from the “margins” of the suffering church. (Incidentally, in 2012 Pope Benedict named a “marginal” medieval woman as Doctor of the Church, the twelfth century Abbess Saint Hildegard of Bingen.  A genius.   Sadly, so little fuss was made subsequently.

The Armenian Apostolic Church (great documentary here), that traces its origins back to the first century, has a rich monastic, liturgical and theological tradition and a rich history of saints and culture.   But Armenian Christians also have a long history of oppression, climaxing in the horrors of the “Armenian Holocaust” genocide of 1915, carried out by the Ottoman Turks who slaughtered more than one million Armenian Christians.

The Armenian Divine Liturgy is magnificent in its poetry, sense of mystery, and theological depth. One of the most cherished hymns of the Liturgy is called Khorhoort Khoreen, “O Mystery Deep.” (Dr Tom Neal)

O Mystery deep, inscrutable, without beginning.   Thou hast decked Thy supernatural realm as a chamber unto the light unapproachable and hast adorned with splendid glory the ranks of Thy fiery spirits.

lovely - st gregory of narek artwork

St Gregory has shown up a couple of times in Magisterial writings.   The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for instance, contains a reference to him:

Medieval piety in the West developed the prayer of the rosary as a popular substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours. In the East, the litany called the Akathistos and the Paraclesis remained closer to the choral office in the Byzantine churches, while the Armenian, Coptic, and Syriac traditions preferred popular hymns and songs to the Mother of God. But in the Ave Maria, the theotokia, the hymns of St Ephrem or St Gregory of Narek, the tradition of prayer is basically the same. (§2678)

St Pope John Paul II also referred to him in his encyclical, Redemptoris Mater:

In his panegyric of the Theotokos, Saint Gregory of Narek, one of the outstanding glories of Armenia, with powerful poetic inspiration ponders the different aspects of the mystery of the Incarnation, and each of them is for him an occasion to sing and extol the extraordinary dignity and magnificent beauty of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Word made flesh.

st gregory of narek mosaic

With the formation of the Armenian Catholic Church St Gregory received his first liturgical veneration within the Catholic Church.   He has not been officially canonised by the pope.   Some have speculated that the declaration of Gregory as a Doctor of the Church might have served as an equipollent canonization (see more on this below). Others have simply stated that the recognition of the Armenian liturgy and liturgical calendar by the Catholic Church served as a confirmation of the cultus of saints in that rite.   Though it appears that he was placed in the Roman Martyrology, prior to the declaration on 12 April 2015.

St. Gregory’s proclamation as a Doctor of the Church was commemorated by the Vatican City state with a postage stamp issued 2 September 2015.Minifoglio

Equipollent or equivalent canonisation

It should be noted that when Pope Benedict XVI declared St. Hildegard von Bingen as a Doctor of Church he used the process of equipollent or equivalent canonisation, as she also had not been formally canonised.   Even St Albert the Great was canonised in this fashion when he was declared a doctor of the Church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI.   Pope Benedict used this process of canonisation a few other times and Pope Francis has also done so.

‘When there is strong devotion among the faithful toward holy men and women who have not been canonised, the Pope can choose to authorise their veneration as saints without going through that whole process. … This is often done when the saints lived so long ago that fulfilling all the requirements of canonisation would be exceedingly difficult.’

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 27 February

St Abundius of Rome
St Alexander of Rome
St Alnoth
St Anne Line
St Antigonus of Rome
St Baldomerus of Saint Just
St Basilios of Constantinople
St Comgan
St Emmanuel of Cremona
St Fortunatus of Rome
St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows/Gabriel Possenti
St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Doctor of the Church

St Herefrith of Lindsey
St Honorina
St John of Gorze
Bl Josep Tous Soler
St Luke of Messina
Bl Maria Caridad Brader
Bl Mark Barkworth
St Procopius of Decapolis
Bl Roger Filcock
St Thalilaeus
Bl William Richardson

Martyrs of Alexandria: –
Besas of Alexandria
Cronion Eunus
Julian of Alexandria



Lenten Reflection – 26 February 2018 – Monday of the Second Week of Lent

26 February 2018 – Monday of the Second Week of Lent
Daniel 9:4-10, Psalms 79:8-9, 11, 13, Luke 6:36-38

Daniel 9:4-5 – “I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and terrible God, who keepest covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from thy commandments and ordinances…”

Luke 6:36-38 – Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”monday of the second week - 26 feb 2018

Daniel confesses that his people’s sufferings in exile are due to their own lack of fodelity to God. This sort of confession is a frank admission that evil has consequences. It is similar to Jesus’ teaching – “one who takes up the sword will perish by the sword.”

The argument may be turned round – good deeds have beneficial consequences. “The measure you give will be the measure you get back” whether it be mercy, forgiveness or sympathetic understanding.

If we keep giving out good things consistently, the blessings we will receive will be beyond measure. Every giving enriches the giver, whether gift be in the form of material assistance, psychologival affirmation or spiritual admonition, giving up an argument, settling a quarrel or going out of our way to help someone who deserves it least!

Be not afraid then to give, for you will receive beyond anything you could ever expect.

Am I generous with my time, material gifts, with my love?
Am I patient and willing to be forgiving, even when I was not in error?
Am I aware that as part of the Body of Christ, my good and my bad, affect all?
Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil SDB – God’sWord

“Desire not the praises of men, seeing they are vain.   Be not fearful of their reproach, for instead of doing harm to your soul, humiliations cleanses it and renders it more meet to receive a brighter crown in heaven and none are worthy to be glorified in heaven who are unable to bear reproach on earth for the love of God.”Thomas a Kempis

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name;
deliver us and forgive our sins, for thy name’s sake! …Psalm 79:9

For ah! the Master is so fair,
His smile so sweet to banished men
That they who meet it unaware
Can never rest on earth again.

And they who see Him risen afar
At God’s right hand to welcome them
Forgetful stand of home and land,
Desiring fair Jerusalem.

Praise God! the Master is so sweet;
Praise God! the country is so fair,
We would not hold them from His feet.
We would but haste to meet them there.

English Missal 1936for ah, the master is so fair - lenten prayer - missal 1936 - monday of the 2nd week - 26 feb 2018


Thought for the Day – 26 February 2018 – Monday of the Second Week of Lent

Thought for the Day – 26 February 2018 – Monday of the Second Week of Lent
Daniel 9:4-10, Psalms 79:8-9, 11, 13, Luke 6:36-38


We cannot dwell upon the conduct of the Jews, my dear people, without being struck with amazement.   These very people had waited for God for four thousand years, they had prayed much because of the great desire they had to receive Him and yet when He came, He could not find a single person to give Him the poorest lodging.   The all-powerful God was obliged to make His dwelling with the animals.

And yet, my dear people, I find in the conduct of the Jews, criminal as it was, not a subject for explanations but a theme for the condemnation of the conduct of the majority of Christians.

We can see that the Jews had formed an idea of their Redeemer which did not conform with the state of austerity in which He appeared.   It seemed as if they could not persuade themselves that this could indeed be He who was to be their Saviour;  St Paul tells us very clearly that if the Jews had recognised Him as God, they would never have put Him to death.   There is, then, some small excuse for the Jews.   But what excuse can we make, my dear brethren, for the coldness and the contempt which we show towards Jesus Christ?

Oh, yes, we do indeed truly believe that Jesus Christ came upon earth, that He provided the most convincing proofs of His divinity.   Hence the reason for our hope.   We rejoice and we have good reason to recognise Jesus Christ as our God, our Saviour and our Model.   Here is the foundation of our faith.

But, tell me, with all this, what homage do we really pay Him?   Do we do more for Him than if we did not believe all this?   Tell me, dear brethren, does our conduct correspond at all to our beliefs?   We are wretched creatures.

We are even more blameworthy than the Jews!

St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)oh yes, we do indeed truly believe - st john vianney - 26 feb 2018




Quote of the Day – 26 February 2018 – Monday of the Second Week of Lent

Quote of the Day – 26 February 2018 – Monday of the Second Week of Lent

“There is one thing everyone can do,
whether they find it hard to meditate or not
and that is to make up their mind in the morning,
to cultivate some particular virtue during the day,
to practice the interior Presence of God
and to live their life in union with Him.”

St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)there is one thing - st john vianney - 26 feb 2018 - mon 2nd week lent

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

One Minute Reflection – 26 February – St Paula Montal Fornés of Saint Joseph of Calasanz (1799-1889)

One Minute Reflection – 26 February – St Paula Montal Fornés of Saint Joseph of Calasanz (1799-1889)

…may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord…2 Peter 1:2

REFLECTION – “… (St Paula) as foundress of a religious family, inspired by the slogan of St Joseph Calasanz “Piety and Letters”, she gave herself to advancing women and the family with her ideal: “Save the family, educating the young girls in a holy fear of God”... (She) belongs to the group of founders of religious orders who in the 19th century came forward to meet the many needs that were present and that the Church, inspired by the Gospel and by the Spirit, wanted to respond to for the good of society.  The message of St Paula is still valid today and her educational charism is a source of inspiration in the formation of the generations of the third Christian millennium.”…St Pope John Paul II Canonisation Homily 25 November 2001

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, may Your Holy Saints’ examples inspire us to living contemplation of Christ the King, crucified and risen. May St Paula’s supporting intercession, help us to walk faithfully in the footsteps of the Redeemer, to share one day with her together with Mary and all the saints, His eternal glory in heaven. paula montal fornes - pray for us - 26 feb 2018


Our Morning Offering – 26 February 2018 – Monday of the Second Week of Lent

Our Morning Offering – 26 February 2018 – Monday of the Second Week of Lent

O Heart of Jesus, I Offer You All
By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

O Heart of Jesus, all love,
I offer You these humble prayers for myself
and for all those who unite themselves
with me in spirit to adore You.
O holiest Heart of Jesus most lovely,
I intend to renew and to offer to You,
these acts of adoration and these prayers,
for myself a wretched sinner
through all moments while I breathe,
even to the end of my life.
I recommend to You, O my Jesus,
Holy Church, Your dear spouse
and our true Mother, all just souls
and all poor sinners, the afflicted,
the dying and all mankind.
Let not Your Blood be shed for them in vain.
Finally, deign to apply it, in relief of the
souls in Purgatory and of these in particular
Ameno heart of jesus, I offer you all by bl john henry newman - 26 feb 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 26 February – St Paula Montal Fornés De San José De Calasanz (1799-1889)

Saint of the Day – 26 February – St Paula Montal Fornés De San José De Calasanz (1799-1889) Religious nun and Founder – born on 11 October 1799 at Arenys de Mar, near Barcelona, Spain – 26 February 1889 at Olesa de Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain of natural causes. St Paula’s religious name was Paula of Saint Joseph Calasanz.  She was a Spanish Roman Catholic professed religious and the foundress of the Sisters of the Pious Schools. cause for sainthood opened several decades after her death in the 1950s after being titled as a Servant of God; confirmation of her heroic virtue in 1988 saw her named as Venerable.   St Pope John Paul II Beatified her on 18 April 1993 and Canonised her on 25 November 2001.

st paula montal fornes - 26 feb 2018

The life of Paula Montal Fornés de San José de Calasanz, fruitful and prophetic, almost centennial, unfolded within a broad historical context (1799-1889), a crisis period during the troubled 19th Century in Spain, torn between the postulates of the Old Regime and the new liberal trends, with significant socio-political, cultural and religious repercussions.   Four cities were especially representative of her life, well-rooted in the land and historical surroundings:

In Arenys de Mar (Barcelona), she spent her childhood and youth (1799-1829).   A coastal village, facing the sea, cosmopolitan and industrial, is where she was born into this life, on 11 October 1799 and born into grace that same afternoon.   She was brought up in a modest Christian family atmosphere.   She participated in the spiritual life of her parish.   She stood out because of her love for the Virgin Mary.   From the age of 10, she learned the harshness of working to help her mother, a widow with five children.   She was the eldest.   During that time, through her own experience, she realised that girls, young ladies, women, had scarce possibilities for access to education, to culture… and she felt called by God to assist in rectifying the situation and carrying out that task.

Figueras (Gerona), a border city between Spain and France and a military stronghold famous for its weaponry castle, was where she had set her sights.   Accompanied by her  friend Inés Busquets, in 1829, she moved to the capital of that area to open her first school for girls, with broad educational programs which far surpassed those required for boys.   It was a new school.   Figueras was where her special educational apostolate for girls began.   A new charisma was born in the Church, an Apostolic Work aimed toward the complete human Christian education of girls and young women and toward the advancement of women, to save families and transform society.   Her followers would distinguish themselves by professing a fourth vow of teaching.

Sabadell (Barcelona) signifies the origin of her educational work in the Pious Schools. We know that, at least since 1837, she felt totally identified with the spirit of Saint Joseph of Calasanz, and wanted to live by the Calasanz spirituality and rules.   With that purpose, after founding a second school in her hometown of Arenys de Mar in 1842, where she came into direct contact with the Piarist Fathers of Mataró, she opened a third school in Sabadell in 1846.   The presence of the Piarist Fathers, Fr Jacinto Felíu and Fr Agustín Casanovas in the Sabadell school, was providential.   There, with their help and guidance, she achieved in a short time, the canonical structure of her newly formed Congregation.   On 2 February 1847, she made her profession as a Daughter of Mary Religious of the Pious Schools, along with her first three companions, Inés Busquets, Felicia Clavell and Francisca de Domingo.   At the General Chapter meeting, held in Sabadell on 14 March 1847, she was not elected General Superior, or even Assistant General.

During the period from 1829 to 1859, she was intensely active, personally founding 7 schools:  Figueras (1829), Arenys de Mar (1842), Sabadell (1846), Igualada (1849), Vendrell (1850), Masnou (1852) and Olesa de Montserrat (1959).   She inspired and helped to found 4 others:  Gerona (1853), Blanes (1854), Barcelona (1857) and Sóller (1857).   She was also the formulator of the first 130 Sisters of the Pious Schools of the Congregation.   A very active and prophetic period in her life.

Olesa de Montserrat (Barcelona), 1859.  The last school personally founded by her.   A poor small town, at the foot of the Monastery of Our Lady of Montserrat, to whom she professed great devotion.   It was her favourite School, where she stayed until her death (15 December 1859 to 26 February 1889).   Those were 30 years of grace for the girls and young women of Olesa, who benefited from her rich testimony with the example of her generous and holy life.   “Everyone loved and adored her…”.   And for the Congregation:  a total yes to God;  the living of the virtues that should characterise the Pious Schools’ educator.   And the twilight of a life in God.

The design of Mother Paula Montal’s spirituality is comprised of two facets:  her participation in the Calasanz spirituality and her unique educational charisma, directed toward the complete human Christian education of women.

Upon her death, the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary, Sisters of the Pious Schools, founded by her, was made up of 346 Escolapias (Sisters of the Pious Schools), who carried out the spirit of the Pious Schools teaching, the legacy of their Foundress, in 19 schools extending throughout the Spanish region.

The canonical process for her Beatification began in Barcelona on May 3, 1957.   St Pope John Paul II beatified her in Rome on 18 April 1993.   The miracle of her Canonisation, performed in September of 1993, in Blanquizal, a very marginal and violent area of Medellín (Colombia), for a little 8-year old girl, Natalia García Mora, was approved by St Pope John Paul II on 1 July 2000.

To our society, wounded by so many pressures, where the subjects of education for all, the advancement of women, the family and youth are currently unresolved issues, the new Saint delivers the message of her life and her educational work, a message of love and of service.  Her charisma in the 19th Century was a statement of love and hope, especially for women, who found in her a mother and teacher for the young women and girls.   And today it continues to be as urgent and current an issue as it was back then.

The educational work of Saint Paula Montal Fornés de San José de Calasanz continues today in the Church, particularly through the more than 800 Sisters of the Pious Schools, spread out over 112 communities, who educate some 30,000 students, in 19 nations on four continents, for the development of women, so that the “civilization of love” may become a reality. (

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 26 February

Bl Adalbert of Tegernsee
St Agricola of Nevers
St Alexander of Alexandria
St Andrew of Florence
St Dionysius of Augsburg
St Faustinian of Bologna
St Felix
St Fortunatus
St Irene
St Isabelle of France
Bl Ottokar of Tegernsee
St Paula Montal Fornés of Saint Joseph of Calasanz (1799-1889)
Bl Piedad de la Cruz Ortiz
St Porphyrius of Gaza
Bl Robert Drury
St Victor the Hermit


25 February 2018 – Lenten Reflection – The Second Sunday in Lent, Year B THE GLORY OF THE CRUCIFIED CHRIS

25 February 2018 – Lenten Reflection – The Second Sunday in Lent, Year B

Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18, Psalms 116:10, 15-19, Romans 8:31-34, Mark 9:2-10

Mark 9:2-3 – And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves;  and he was transfigured before them and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.second sunday lenten reflection - mark 9 3

On the second Sunday in Lent we always read the Gospel of the Transfiguration of our Lord.   We do so in order that our focus may be directed towards the glory of Easter and our Lord’s victory over sin and death by His glorious Resurrection.   Our Lenten penance is not an end in itself but a means to an end;  that cleansed of our faults and sanctified in both body and mind we might more fully appreciate and participate in God’s own glory. The word that Sacred Scripture most commonly uses to describe the nature of God is glory.   We associate glory with power, majesty, radiance, awe and wonder.   Yet all the Gospels, especially the Gospel of John, speak of God’s humiliation as His exaltation, His glory.   By faith, we are seized by the beauty and glory of the Crucified Christ.   In this mystery of the Transfiguration a twofold glory is revealed:  the glory which our Lord possesses as the eternal Son of the Father and the glory that is manifested in His sacred Passion;  the glory that is manifested from the unsurpassable torture of Holy Week.   God Himself is “whipped to blood, crowned with thorns, mocked, spat upon, ridiculed, nailed, pierced…   In this consummate ugliness, this unspeakable outrage, shines a picture of divine beauty, of divine glory.   The Gospel of the Transfiguration presents us with a vision of the glory of God on its way to the Passion”… (Cardinal Hans Urs Von Balthasar 1905-1988).

The glory revealed to Peter, James and John is a glimpse of the glory of the Resurrection, a glory that we too are destined to share;  however, it is the Passion that “leads to the glory of the Resurrection” (Preface for the Second Sunday in Lent, The Roman Missal). Consequently, we are ever mindful that “we preach Christ crucified … Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:23-24).   Our Lord Jesus Christ “is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of His nature” (Heb 1:3).   Those who gaze on the Crucified Christ in faith are able to perceive that His hour of highest spiritual beauty—and glory—is a moment of utmost bodily degradation.   In the humiliation of the Cross the Saviour brings near and makes visible the divine glory for we see in Him the ineffable love of God for sinners.   This is a love, a beauty and a glory that can only be perceived by a prayerful, contemplative gaze  . It is only by means of prayer and penance that we can come to some understanding of why our Lord brought about our salvation in such weakness, diminishment and pain.

No human life is exempt from diminishment and pain.   If we are given the grace to grow older, the weight of years alone brings about diminishment.   Why must it be so?   Perhaps our own diminishment is meant to conform us to the self-emptying of the Son of God on the Cross.   This may very well be the grace of old age.   That our redemption has taken place through suffering of the flesh and spilling of blood may mean that it could take place in no other way.   It is for this reason that above all things we must seek simply to be with Jesus and to learn from Him what He alone can teach us in the silence of prayer.   On the Cross we have the ultimate and only adequate answer to the problem of evil, the only solution to the mystery of sin.   The world’s redemption could only be brought about “in the mystery of a love that by suffering understands all the insults inflicted upon it” (Hans Urs Von Balthasar).   Our profession of faith, if taken seriously, is journey into the depth of this Mystery.

What do we discover as we come to know more of this mystery?   Quite simply, that the essence of Christian discipleship is to be with Jesus and to learn from Him who accompanies us on life’s journey and who is never distant from us by means of His grace. We must endeavour to abandon ourselves to the will of the Father as He did and in this is our peace:  not only our peace but also our way to holiness, to glory.   Christians are not immune from suffering.   Indeed, our long history teaches us that often we suffer more precisely because of our Christian faith but as St Paul asks, “who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us” (Rom 8:35-37).   These words are more than ever relevant as we witness the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.   Our faith enables us not only to overcome the trials we suffer but also to be sanctified by them and through them.   We understand these as our means to holiness; a state to which we are called.

“The entire virtue of what we call holiness lies in faithfulness to what God ordains” (Jean Pierre de Caussade, The Joy of Full Surrender, [Paraclete Press], p.17).   Surely, this is what we learn when we contemplate the life and Passion of our Lord.   Fidelity to duty, discipline of life, moral rectitude;  these are the ways in which we are faithful to what God ordains.   They are no less the means by which our lives are so transformed and so transfigured that we come to “live for the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:12).   Anything that contradicts these principles is a path to misery and destruction and a betrayal of the Cross of Christ.

After His glorious resurrection our Lord asked the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Lk 24:26).   And so it is with us; we must be willing to recognise what is best for us in what God ordains for us.   Like the disciples on the mountain, the revelation of God’s will for us, whether it be in the suffering that He asks of us or permits us to endure, or simply in the challenges that we face in living; these may confound us and might even cause us to be very much afraid.   Like Peter, James and John, however, we too are privileged to perceive the glory of the Lord;  a glory however that is veiled in the poverty, humility, and vulnerability of the Crucifix that hangs before us and in the Sacrament of the Cross, the Eucharist.   These reveal a love so powerful that neither hate nor death could conquer it.   Because we receive and worship this Sacrament, this same love is at work in the hearts of all who believe.   By its power great deeds of love are done and great evils are faced and overcome.   The Passion of our Lord gives a human face to the love of God for a fallen humanity.   Our own sufferings, mysterious as they may be in both their origin and purpose, place us in the very heart of the Paschal Mystery.   Suffering is not meaningless nor is it without purpose and neither is our life.   “Nothing short of suffering, except in rare cases, makes us what we should be;  gentle instead of harsh, meek instead of violent, conceding instead of arrogant, lowly instead of proud, pure-hearted instead of sensual”   (Bl. John Henry Newman (1801-1890), “The Sweet Yoke of Christ,” 1839).

By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

They were talking to Him about resurrection,
about law, about the suffering ahead.
They were talking as if to remind Him who He was and
who they were. He was not

Like his three friends watching a little way off,
not like the crowd At the foot of the hill.
A grey-green thunderhead massed
from the sea

And God spoke from it and said He was His.
They were talking about how the body, broken or
could live again, remade.

Only the fiery text of the thunderhead could explain it.
And they were talking
About pain and the need for judgement
and how He would make Himself

A law of pain, both its spirit and its letter in His own
and then break it,
That is, transcend it.
His clothes flared like magnesiumtransfiguration by bl john henry newman - 2nd sun lent 25 feb 2018

My Lord, I Offer You Myself
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

My Lord,
I offer You myself in turn,
as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
You have died for me,
And I in turn make myself over to You.
I am not my own.
You have bought me:
I will, by my own act and deed,
complete the purchase.
My wish is to be separated
from everything of this world;
To cleanse myself simply from sin;
To put away from me even what is innocent,
If used for its own sake
and not for Yours.
I put away reputation and honour
and influence and power,
For my praise and strength,
shall be in You.
Enable me to carry out what I profess
Amenmy lord i offer you myself - bl john henry newman - lenten prayer - 25 feb 2018 - 2nd sun lent


Sunday Reflection – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Sunday Reflection – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Referring to the Emmaus event, Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) reminded his congregation:

“Only by faith is He known to be present;  He is not recognised by sight.   When He opened his disciples’ eyes, He at once vanished.   He removed his visible presence and left but a memorial of Himself.   He vanished from sight that He might be present in a sacrament;  and in order to connect His visible presence to His presence invisible, He for one instant manifested Himself to their open eyes;  manifested Himself, if I may so speak, while He passed from His hiding place of sight without knowledge, to that of knowledge without sight.”

What He left to the disciples in Emmaus is what He left to us:  His memorial and more than that:  His living presence spiritually in the Church and – through the Holy Spirit – in each of its members through baptism and His Real Presence, communion with Himself, the living God and man in the Blessed Eucharist and in the Christians who have just received Him in the Blessed Eucharist and adore Him in this Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.   Christ’s real presence is given to each communicant in a most personal and if accepted with a sincere and humble heart, transforming way.   With Newman’s own words:

“Christ then took on our nature, when He would redeem it;  He redeemed it by making it suffer in His own Person;  He purified it, by making it pure in His own Person.   He first sanctified it in Himself, made it righteous, made it acceptable to God, submitted it to an expiatory passion and then He imparted it to us.   He took it, consecrated it, broke it and said, “Take, and divide it among your-selves.”

Newman was convinced that no one “realises the mystery of the Incarnation but must feel disposed towards that of the Holy Communion.”   Both are mysteries of the coming of Christ, longed for as the hope of mankind for salvation.   If we accept that God unites Himself, His divinity and His spirit, to humanity, nature and matter in His birth as man, then we can also accept that He binds His presence to the species of bread and wine.   When Jesus says, “This is my body, this is my blood”, this remains a mystery but our faith in it is not against our reason.

Years later this Catholic priest wrote:

“O wisest love! That flesh and blood
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh against the foe,
Should strive and should prevail.”
“And that a higher gift than grace
Should flesh and blood refine,
God’s presence and His very Self,
And Essence all-divine.”christ then took on our nature - bl john henry newman - no 2 25 feb 2018 - sunday reflection


Thought for the Day – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Thought for the Day – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

“Now is the accepted time, now the day of salvation.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

“These are thoughts, I need hardly say, especially suited to this season.
From the earliest times down to this day, these weeks before Easter have been set apart every year, for the particular remembrance and confession of our sins.   From the first age downward, not a year has passed but Christians have been exhorted to reflect how far they have let go their birthright, as a preparation for their claiming the blessing.   At Christmas we are born again with Christ;  at Easter we keep the Eucharistic Feast.

In Lent, by penance, we join the two great sacraments together.   Are you, my brethren, prepared to say—is there any single Christian alive who will dare to profess—that he has not in greater or less degree sinned against God’s free mercies as bestowed on him in Baptism without, or rather against his deserts?   Who will say that he has so improved his birthright that the blessing is his fit reward, without either sin to confess, or wrath to deprecate?

See, then, the Church offers you this season for the purpose.   “Now is the accepted time, now the day of salvation.”

Now it is that, God being your helper, you are to attempt to throw off from you the heavy burden of past transgression, to reconcile yourselves to Him who has once already imparted to you His atoning merits and you have profaned them.”

are-you-my-brethren-bl-j-h-newman.- lenten reflection - 2017 - 25 feb 2017 (in the novena for lent) jpg





Quote of the Day – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Quote of the Day – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Watch over your thoughts because they become words.

Watch over your words because they become actions.

Watch over your actions because they become habits.

Watch over your habits because they become your character.

Watch over your character because it becomes your destiny.

Unknown Authorwatch over your thoughts - unknown author - 25 feb 2018 2nd sun lent

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, LENT, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B and the Memorial of Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855)

One Minute Reflection – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B and the Memorial of Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855)

Work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation….Philippians 2:12

REFLECTION – “You have been created for the glory of God
and your own eternal salvation….this is your goal;
this is the centre of your life;
this is the treasure of your heart.
If your reach this goal, you will find happiness.
If you fail to reach it, you will find misery.”….St Robert Bellarmineyou-have-been-created-st-robert-bellarmine-17-sept-2017

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, teach me to do everything for Your honour and glory.
Grant me the grace to work out my salvation with anxious concern each day of my life.   Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani, you focused your whole life on achieving salvation and helping all those who came in contact with you to do the same, please pray for us, maria adeodata pray for us - 25 feb 2018


Our Morning Offering – 25 February 2018 – The Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Our Morning Offering – 25 February 2018 – The Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

I Place myself in Your Presence (Prayer before Holy Mass or at Eucharistic Adoration)
Bl John Henry Newman  (1801-1890)

I place myself
in the presence of Him
in whose Incarnate Presence
I am before
I place myself there.
I adore You, O my Saviour,
present here as God and Man,
in soul and body,
in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess,
that I kneel before
that Sacred Humanity,
which was conceived
in Mary’s womb
and lay on Mary’s bosom,
which grew up to man’s estate
and by the Sea of Galilee
called the Twelve,
wrought miracles
and spoke words of wisdom
and peace.
Which, in due season
hung on the Cross,
lay in the tomb,
rose from the dead
and now reigns in heaven.
I praise and bless and give myself
wholly to Him,
who is the true Bread of my soul
and my everlasting joy.
AmenI place myself in your presence - bl john henry - 17 Sept 2017

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 25 February – Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani OSB (1806-1855)

Saint of the Day – 25 February – Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani OSB (1806-1855) (29 December 1806 at Naples, Italy– 25 February 1855 from heart problems at the Benedictine monastery at Mdina, Malta ) (also known as Blessed Maria Teresa and Blessed Adeodata) was a Maltese nun, Writer, Apostle of Charity, whom St Pope John Paul II venerated on 24 April 2001 (decree of heroic virtues) and beatified on 9 May 2001.   Blessed Maria Adeodata’s beatification miracle occurred on 24 November 1897 when abbess Giuseppina Damiani from the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist Subiaco, Italy was suddenly healed of a stomach tumour following her request for Maria Pisani’s intervention.   Blessed Maria Adeodata’s Cause was delayed for years due to lack of funds, and political problems between Malta and Italy.

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Maria Adeodata Pisani, OSB was born in Naples on the 29 December 1806, the only daughter of Baron Benedetto Pisani Mompalao Cuzkeri and Vincenza Carrano.   She was baptised on the same day in the Parish of St Mark at Pizzofalcone and named Maria Teresa.   Her father had the title of Baron of Frigenuini, one of the oldest and richest barony in Malta, whilst her mother was an Italian.
Unfortunately, her father took to drink and this soon led to marital problems, so much so that whilst Maria Teresa was still a small child her mother left the conjugal house and entrusted the child to her husband’s mother, Elisabeth Mamo Mompalao, who lived in Naples.   The grandmother took good care of Maria Teresa but when she died her grandchild was only 10 years of age.   After her grandmother’s death, she was sent to a famous boarding school in Naples, known as the ‘Istituto di Madama Prota’, where the aristocratic ladies of the area used to get their education. 

Maria Teresa stayed in this college till she was 17 years of age and here she received her religious and social education.   In the meantime, her father continued to create problems and in 1821, due to his involvement in the uprising in Naples, he was sentenced to death.   Since he was a British citizen, his sentence was suspended and he was expelled from Naples and deported to Malta.

In 1825, Maria Teresa and her mother came to live in Malta.   They settled in Rabat where her father was also living his dissolute life but they never lived together with him. Although her mother had been trying to find a suitable man to get her married, Maria Teresa always declined such proposals.   She preferred to lead a quiet life, going out to Church daily and when the occasion presented itself to help the poor she met on the streets.   The people who knew her started to comment about her pious behaviour.   She was never put off by her father’s behaviour and whenever she met him she would ask for his blessing.

On one occasion, she was impressed by a sermon she heard at the ‘Ta’ Giezu’ church in Rabat.   She went to pray in front of the picture of Our Lady of Good Counsel, in the Augustinian’s Church in Rabat, the church where she usually went for her daily mass and evening prayers.   There for the first time she felt the calling to become a nun and dedicate her life to God in prayer.   Her parents immediately opposed her wish to become a nun and her mother forced her to wait for a year before making any final decision.   Maria Teresa waited obediently for a whole year but her resolve did not change.

On the 16 July 1828, she joined the Benedictine Community in St Peter’s Monastery in Mdina.   In choosing this kind of life, she had chosen a life of prayer, work, silence and obedience.   After six months as a postulant, at the beginning of 1829  in a special ceremony of investiture as a novice took place, surrounded by her parents and relatives and she changed her name to Maria Adeodata.   During the one year she was a novice, she impressed not only her companions in the novitiate but also the nun who was in charge of the novices.   This nun confessed that she never found any fault in Adeodata, and that instead of teaching her, she used to learn from her.

On the 4th March 1830, the required Notarial Act of Renouncement was performed, which was the last formal step required to be admitted as a nun.   In this Act, she renounced to her titles and distributed the vast inheritance she had inherited from her paternal grandmother, keeping just enough for herself to be able to help others during her lifetime.

The solemn monastic profession took place on the 8 March 1830, and for the next 25 years she lived as a cloistered nun in St Peter’s monastery.   During this period, not only the nuns in the monastery but many persons outside benefitted from her acts of charity and her saintly life.   She held various official responsibilities within the monastery but the ones she treasured most were that of looking after the chapel, which gave her more time to be near the Blessed Sacrament and that of porter, which kept her close to the poor people who used to come daily to the monastery seeking help.   For four years she was in charge of novices and from 1851 to 1853 she was elected as Abbess.   During the two years’ mandate she had to face difficulties from a few members of the community, since she tried to bring about some changes in community life in order to help the community live more in accordance with the Benedictine rule and monastic way of life. Some nuns were also jealous of her since so many people revered her for her saintly way of life.

She was renowned for her spirit of self-sacrifice and self-denial.   The best she had, whether food or clothes, were always given to those in need, whilst she was happy to live on leftovers and worn out clothes.   During her life in the monastery she also wrote various works, the most famous of which is “The mystical garden of the soul that loves Jesus and Mary”, which collects together personal spiritual reflections written in the form of a diary between 15 August 1835 and 3 May 1843.   She also wrote her reflections about spiritual direction and a good number of prayers some of which were meant to be used in the community.   Although her native language was Italian, she did her best to learn how to speak and write in Maltese and she wrote some prayers in Maltese for common use in the Monastery.   Throughout her life as a nun, she was a shining example to all in her observance of the Rule of St Benedict, obedience to her superiors, her acts of charity, her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin and her total commitment to love God.

During the last two years of her life, heart trouble slowly eroded her health which was never all that good.   Yet she continued to force herself to live a normal life within her community, always striving for perfection and leading others through her example.

On the 25 February 1855, at the age of 48, she realised that the end was near.   Against her nurse’s advice, she dragged herself to the Chapel for the early morning conventual mass, and after receiving communion she had to be carried back to her bed, where she died soon afterwards surrounded by her community reciting prayers.

As soon as news of her death reached the people outside the monastery, the same phrase was repeated throughout Malta:  “the Saint has died”.   She had a simple funeral and she was buried in the Monastery’s crypt the following day.

Many people claimed miraculous cures and other graces from God through Adeodata’s intercession.   In 1892, the Canonical Process for her Beatification and Canonisation was initiated.   In 1897, the miracle which was later to be presented to the Congregation for Causes of Beatification and Canonisations for official examination and eventual acceptance took place.   This miracle happened in Subiaco in Italy and it involved a Benedictine Abbess who was so sick that the last rites were administered to her but after prayers through the intercession of Adeodata she got better and the doctors looking after her could not explain such a recovery.

Due to economic reasons, the Canonical Process for Adeodata’s Beatification was stopped in 1913 but in 1989, the Benedictine Community at St Peter’s Monastery presented a petition for the resumption of the Canonical Process for Adeodata’s Beatification and Canonisation.   She was Beatified by St Pope John Paul on 9 May adeodata venerationparish church in maltarelikwa tal-Beata Marija Adeodata Pisani

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 25 February

St Adelelmo of Engelberg
St Aldetrudis
St Ananias of Phoenicia
Bl Avertano of Lucca
St Caesarius of Nanzianzen
St Callistus Caravario
Bl Ciriaco Maria Sancha Hervas
Bl Didacus Yuki Ryosetsu
St Domenico Lentini
St Donatus the Martyr
Felix III, Pope
St Gerland the Bishop
St Gothard the Hermit
St Herena the Martyr
St Justus the Martyr
St Laurentius Bai Xiaoman
St Luigi Versiglia
Bl Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855)
St Nestor of Side
St Riginos
Bl Robert of Arbrissel
Bl Sebastian of Aparicio
St Tharasius
St Toribio Romo González
St Victor of Saint Gall
St Walburga

Martyrs of Egypt – A group of Christian men who were exiled to Egypt for their faith and were eventually martyred for their faith in the persecutions of Numerian. We know little more than their names:


24 February 2018 – Saturday of the First Week of Lent

24 February 2018 – Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Deuteronomy 26:16-19, Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8, Matthew 5:43-48

Deuteronomy 28:16 –  “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances;  you shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Matthew 5:48 – “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”saturday of the first week of lent - 24 feb 2018

The theme of today’s liturgy is law but not just any kind of law.   The Law of the Lord rests on the single crucial fact of God’s having chosen the Jewish people as His very own. He made an agreement, a covenant with them.   He never intended His covenant to be a burden on them.   He chose them simply because He loved them.   He Himself compared the covenant to marriage between a man and a woman.   Marriage implies mutual respect, mutual obligation and above all, mutual love.   Marriage cannot be static – if it does not evolve into deeper and deeper love and trust, it deteriorates and falls apart. Both parties have to be faithful to the obligations they freely have taken upon themselves.   And that is what this law of the Lord is all about.

We Christians believe, that the Old Testament people of God has evolved into the Church, the Body of Christ, His Spouse.   At the Last Supper, Jesus said “This cup … is the new Covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:29)

We, as the people of God are still responsible for fulfilling our part of the Covenant.   But we, like the Old Testament people can and do grow careless.   The marriage ‘cools off’, as it were.   It needs renewal, it needs a ‘marriage encounter’ with our God.   Lent is an extended ‘married couples retreat’ for us and for Him!

At the Last Supper, Jesus established the new Covenant and He also gave us a new law “a new commandment” that we love one another.   Yesterday, He told us how much we need forgiving hearts.   Today He gets tough: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?” And He ends with the command that may seem impossible to fulfil – “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Fulfilling Jesus’ command is what our Christian life and above all LENT, it all about.   It is a progressive process of co-operating with God in His will to make us a perfect spouse for Himself.   We can fast, give alms, pray day and night but it is all a waste of time unless we at least try to fulfill this new commandment of the Lord.   The ideal Jesus sets before us is not just tolerance of those who do not like us or whom we do not like, or the stranger who make us feel afraid and protective of our ‘patch’.   Too often tolerance comes close to mindless indifference, which is the exact opposite of love!

Life with God, like any marriage, has to be worked at.   Love is hard, it is a lifetime task that is never finished.   Nor will Christ’s Bride, the Church, be the perfect bride until the end of time.   BUT, we can be sure our God will do His part.   It is only when we do all in our power to love and forgive that He will take over and love in us, with our hearts and then we will be perfected as our heavenly Father is perfect!…..Fr E Lawerence OSB

Is there someone who has hurt me or who is ‘an enemy’?   Pray for them!
Who are the groups in the world whom I hate or fear?   Pray for them!
Are there strangers in my neighbourhood of whom I am perhaps nervous or afraid, go to them and pray for them!

Prayer for the Gift of Prayer
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church

O Incarnate Word,
You have given Your Blood and Your Life
to confer on our prayers that power by which,
according to Your promise,
they obtain for us all that we ask.
And we, O God,
are so careless of our salvation,
that we will not even ask You for the graces
that we must have, if we should be saved!
In prayer You have given us the key
of all Your Divine treasures;
and we, rather than pray,
choose to remain in our misery.
Alas! O Lord, enlighten us,
and make us know the value of prayers,
offered in Your name and by Your merits,
in the eyes of Your Eternal Father.
Amenprayer for the gift of prayer by st alphonsus liguori - 24 feb 2018